Thirtying in Cuba

When I left for Cuba I was 29, and now I’m in my 30s. Really, I don’t feel very old. The milestone is no big deal to me, and I would have been content enough to mark it at a pub in Kamloops. But Brittany (my wife) thought fit to arrange a much grander celebration, and I sure am glad she did. With much help from my brother-in-law, she gathered a 15-person group of family and friends for a week of tropical weather, breathtaking sights, and a vibrant culture steeped in centuries of momentous history.dscn13252

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New York Punk Band Guessing Game

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First of all, let me specify that not all bands featured as answers in this game are actually from New York. They do, however, all in some way relate to a week-long trip my wife and I recently took to the city. (My wife’s name is Brittany. I also have a friend named Melissa who is pretty cool and who I promised a shout out in my blog, so here’s shouting out to her!)

Anyways, the idea is for you to follow the course of our journey in the paragraphs that follow, and to fill in any blanks with the appropriate musical ensemble. The first person to correctly guess them all in the comment section at the bottom will win a shitty prize. Let the game begin!

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Headed West to Yellowstone

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Boy, I’m runnin’ from the law.

First of all, if you haven’t listened to the song Firearm by Casey Baker and the Buffalo Sinners, please do so now and enjoy what I consider lyrically one of the best tunes ever composed (you’ll also understand the reference above).

We were actually headed southeast towards it, but Yellowstone Park was the ultimate destination of our 10 day road trip, with plenty of stops before and after. As our busy summer now continues I have no time to post extensively about each place we saw along the way back, so let me break it down into brief daily summaries.

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Trailer’s Delight

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“Red sky at night…” my wife spoke of the rust-coloured shades permeating the evening horizon. If the nautical saying could be applied to land then this was an omen of good weather for our next day’s camping trip.

Instead it rained, all day and through the night.

We had faced such weather in our tent before. Like in Halifax when bursts of rain billowed under the fly to dampen our slumber, or during a foggy stay in St. John’s when we saw our breaths as mist and doubled up on blankets in the night. But this time we didn’t bring out tent. For the first time as a camping couple, we would be kept safe and dry in the comfort of a little teardrop trailer of our own.

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The Things I Never Wrote About

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Apologies. This blog has been lately neglected in favour of school semesters rooted in upper level English studies, intensive on reading and writing and consequently heavily demanding of my time.  And while I greatly enjoyed exploring the realm of Canadian theatre or delving into survival narratives by literary icons ranging from Dickens to Poe to Atwood, it certainly is nice to have some extra time to indulge in written pursuits of my own.

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Farewell, Amsterdam. Farewell, Europe.

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It couldn’t last forever. Alas, our flight home loomed within our futures, and we were soon due to return to Canada. We had fit more into our weeks in Europe than we ever could have hope for, but as the remainder of our time there dwindled we felt determined to squeeze in one more party at the end of it all. Being set to return to Amsterdam for a brief stay before catching a plane from there we decided to find a rowdy concert in the city.

While still in London and a few days away from returning to Amsterdam, I visited the website of Paradiso, the long ago church turned music venue that over the years has hosted a range of talented and inspiring acts.  There was only a handful of artists listed whose performances were not yet sold out and which corresponded with our timeline, so of those we picked one on a whim: Beans & Fatback. None of us was familiar with their name or a single song the band had written, but after sampling a couple of tracks we decided theirs was an energetic style that we would be happy to take part in live.
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Pissing the Night Away in Brussels

Anyone who knows much of anything about Brussels has likely heard of the Manneken Pis (or “Pissing Boy”), and those who have not would quickly become familiar with the fountain upon visiting the city. Its image is everywhere in gift shops there: printed on shirts, decorating steins, and in the form of miniature figurines each with a corkscrew for a penis. As for the full-scale, authentic statue, he is located near the Grand Place, perched high and urinating into a basin.

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