A Month Ago – The Town

Continues from here.

I travelled to the next town over after scouting this place for a dining spot. The week before, I ate at a quiet Chinese/Japanese All-You-Can-Eat spot. After walking the main street there, I knew I had to return. I spend the afternoon until sundown taking photos right across town. Starting from a park on the most easterly and following the river right to the middle of town and their marina. For city folk like me, I wish I could just sit there in awe in the beauty. People in makeshift and pre-fabricated fishing cabins, the silence breaking through over the frozen water’s edge. If my damn zipper would have zipped, I could’ve stayed in once place and run my camera through everything in my bag (filters, timers, lenses oh my). By the time I reach the southerly end complete with mall, I had enough time to walk in for a browse before calling a ride home.

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A Month Ago – The Beach

Continues from here.

The snow up there is much more than I’m used to, the snowbanks were as tall as single story buildings. The snow laid calm though just underneath was a skin of ice thick as window glass. I went out to the local town and found myself walking into a path leading along a small river. I came across a park covered in snow with one path plowed along rolling cliffs with houses flanking this flat space. It was beautiful and magical; the morning sun glistening on the snow, the wind calmed in the trees. I tried to follow a foot track to the clearing but I sunk into the snow right up to the hip. Rather than wading into a potential risk of hypothermia, I retreated. I photo cam be a gorgeous thing, but I wasn’t equipped to wade into deep snow for one shot. That morning was relatively cold. My breath froze on my camera body, cellphone sluggish to every action I demand from it. By the time I made it to the beach and walked back, the wind kicked up that I had to take shelter behind a snowbank before my eyes froze shut. It didn’t help that my jacket zipper finally broke that week and I didn’t find a good replacement for my poor jacket. From there, the frigid morning gave way to a cool afternoon.

More travelling?

So mid-June now, probably put aside to a lot of game time and been buckling down. Mostly for photography in nature, but at the moment I’m still planning. “Still planning” is a term I really dislike because I’m starting to feel more indecisive. I recently took a trip to a local tourism office to really find somewhere to take my camera. Somewhere local and old school, with a bit of historic and artistic value and vistas. Also everything has to close to the hotel room as well.

In-province, I’m thinking of a small town. I went to Niagara Falls this spring and it was a great. So it’s just a matter of finding the place that’s worth taking a shot and perhaps something less seen by other. Niagara Falls has been a tourist trap for ages but I really knew the beauty of the place when you leave the casino area. Really see what Niagara Fall really is when you take away the neon lights. If I can’t replicate the success of that trip, I’m going to exceed it. I want have extraordinary photos and memorable moments.

For the time being, I’ll just be window shopping for a nice place to visit. Hopefully before the end of summer.

A Short Vacation

So last week I finally made my vacation plans. However with some set backs once I arrived.

I decided to go for a couple days to Niagara Falls. Nearing spring, I was hoping to catch the thaw and a bit of the freeze while devoting my time to photography. I didn’t sink myself into the attractions but I took the time to just explore a new town.

Upon arriving, it was different. Only once in my life have I been greeted to a small downtown neighbourhood by intercity travel. I like how calm and quiet their downtown is in contrast to time. No suits, no rush hour; felt like a small town.

When I finally found a place to stay, it was incredibly different from the dark street lights. The accommodations I stayed was located near the casinos and the flashy rides and oddities. Being there felt like being in the US with every American chain sitting on every corner.

The next day after unpacking and settling in, I was greeted by fog. Most people who see rain and fog would avoid it. But I was a bit inspired and in awe on how much this blanketed the neighbourhood. I couldn’t see the tops of these tall casinos nor the falls  when I began taking photos. Utmost eerie and surreal moment but I took advantage to look around. By midday, things cleared up a bit and decided to head up to the town proper. Checking out their Main Street and areas beyond what a tourist would venture. The farther I went out, it was a bit more humbling than the grandiose facade of the gambling cliff face. Things moved at a small town pace. It was kind of nice to watch people go about their day, living their lives. I did visit the local museum but forgot to make a stop at the war museum as well. However they did offer some exhibits that are educational. I later hiked the good 2 km  back to the bus station. There, I took a few more shots with my camera. Watching the clouds roll in and out as the sunset was almost romantic. The stores were closing up as I made a small stop at a coffee and just sat back to watch the news. Of course, my town makes it in the news. Kind of reminding me the stay here was temporary. After hiking 4 km back, I decided to shift into a bit of night photography. I did bring my tripod in case I wanted to make some long exposure compositions. As I scrambled for my gear, I realized I left my tripod mounting bracket in my other camera bag. So what was going to be a long night turned into a night to just grab some food and catch up what I’ve missed in the past day.

The last day was absolutely sublime. I made another trek out to the Falls. I left my room while it was still foggy out but as I neared the river, the fog had absolutely clear. Perfect time to catch as many landscape photos as I can. I even got into the mood into shelling out money to get into a few places to snap a few shots. I spent the entire afternoon and morning forgetting to eat while I took every opportunity to take a photo. By the time I sat down to eat, my back was in a lot of pain from lugging my camera back around. Perhaps I should’ve taken some advice and gotten a backpack for my camera.

After eating a feast, I finally felt it. Sitting at a bar in a odd little town right in the middle of the hotels and casinos, I miss home. Being there was great but something gnawed at me to return. I brought everything I can for the week knowing I would stay for half. Now I wanted to head home.

Sitting on the train ridding back in the dark of night. Watching each town back until I come to mine, it felt oddly strange coming home. Felt like I spent a month, it wasn’t much of a vacation. At least the excursion has taken my away from my life just for a little while.

Perhaps I should travel more. Perhaps someday.

I deserve this.

This week is a mushy week. I’m trying to ignore it while I plan for a small trip.

Yup, I’m really committed to this. I’m thinking a few days out of town just to unwind and see new things. I just need to break the monotony of living. After a rough December and summer, I really need to feel I can feel care-free (or at least the closest to it.

So for the past week I’ve been looking into cheap lodging and things to do on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. I’m not a gambler and I don’t want to do the ultimately touristy things. I still want to see some museums and local nooks. At the moment, I just need to sort out of logistics of packing and whether I should bring along a laptop to store any photos.

I know it’s the middle of winter but I’m determined that even in winter, there is a warm moment in a cold season.

Fading.

I came home after just a few weeks away. Coming home to the city is feels weird. I’ve been away from home many times before, but this time it feels different.

As I drop my bag off in my room, the years I’ve spent here feel so alien. It is like coming to live in a stranger. Turning on my computer, typing; it feels like I’ve have never done this. When I came home, I tried to do some day to day things I did weeks ago. I went out for a movie and have dinner. When I went out alone, I felt abandoned. Felt like I was alone in a new city, much like any traveller has passed through my town. Going through my old haunts, I felt like the world is a bit different. Felt like I didn’t belong in this mall or this restaurant feels out of place. I sat and noshed as I looked on and saw people on a Friday night, curling up with their loved ones as I sat alone.

Coming home has given me insight on the person I am. I’m an odd person however it is what I am. The shy and rooted explorer or the closeted down to earth nomad. Perhaps all this time, I’ll step out of my shell after all this work gets completed.

We’ll see.

Rush.

This is definitely based on my feelings on people taking public transit; especially during rush hour. I’ve been working a bit more recently and for it, I too have become one of those people who wake up early morning to go to work. In my city, we do have train and bus service. On most days nothing really happens, people get on and people get off; no fussing considering how cramped the subways get. However a few incidents have occurred where I don’t really understand people sometimes.

During rush out here, the trains run on a tighter schedule. We’re talking about a 5 minute delay between trains. On off peak hours, it’s really a bit loose on what really defines 5 minutes. As a gamer timing matters no matter what the case will be (Except casual games; filthy casuals). In RTS and FPS we have rushes, run in and do the dirty work regardless of the cost. In reality, rushing could really mean injury and delays when it comes to public transit. I’ve seen people get squished by doors on trains, a few times some people do get halfway in and just get smashed by the door. Of course the doors don’t split you in half but it does hurt to get smacked edge on by a pneumatic piece metal and rubber. As much as people are looking out for themselves, they don’t consider their behavior to generally be malicious. If money talks, then money is making people things to get on time. I’ve seen old people, young people, in suits, in casual wear, pretty much everyone during rush hour get hit with the door because they ran for it Indiana Jones styles. Best story is yet to come. I’ve once had a one minute delay where people seemed to want to squeeze in more and more as the train was stuck in station because people wanted to race through the doors. One guy runs up, smack. Next guy in a suit, smack. Two more before we had the train moving again. As cool as it to dodge the doors, you as the person rushing, are a selfish person. Considering each train is carry about 100 passengers or more, you are jeopardizing everyone’s word schedule just so you can conform to yours. Next time, get an alarm clock so you can at least get to work early.

Not as often, I get to observe the best in people. Most often than that, I see a lot of worst in people. Sure you hear some good news about people doing good deeds, but I want to acknowledge those unnamed folks who has always given up their seat for someone who is in need of one. Whether it was for a pregnant woman, an elderly person or someone with a handicap (like a broken leg from running towards the train doors). Those few in my city, are really outnumbered during the many in rush hour. On the buses and trains, there are designated seats; 6 in the front of the bus or 3 closest to the doors. As nice as it is to have a seat during a long commute, some people would outright refuse seating. A few days ago, I was coming home from work. Old lady steps up on the bus, the bus is packed end to end. I step aside so the lady can pass me, she stops at the designated seats at looks at the three people sitting there. For a brief moment of time, those three made eye contact at each other wondering who is giving up their seat. The guy in the suit looks both left and right of him while the woman looks to her left and another man looks right. I don’t want to be ageist, in the situation of “giving up your seat for an old lady”, regardless whether she was a man or woman and she was either old, crippled, or pregnant, I would say socially the youngest looking one of the bunch should stand and logically the closest to the door. So it was either the woman or the guy in the business suit. Luckily, he grew a pair without not before long.

Definitely the past few months, I’ve seen the best out of people and I’ve seen the worst while travelling by transit. It’s always the same stuff too. We lived as a society for millennia and yet we have not held on for dignity and respect for one another.  Be thankful we live in the age of buses and trains. Not long ago, we had horses and long before domestication, we have our own two feet. In all respect all human progress has led us to a very prosperous moment where we have all this to our disposal. Be humble for the fact you can travel a great distance to get to work because you wouldn’t want the alternative.