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Mar. 27th, 2017

megaman croc

Brexshit

This past Saturday, only my third day off in March, was spent doing something very useful and compelling. I took part in my very first protest, attending the Unite for Europe march in London.

As advised by lupestripe I hooked up with a local group of Scousers who were travelling down to the capital by bus. Together we enjoyed several hours of travelling and chatting about politics, bashing Theresa May and David "Squishyface" Davis, as well as many other unrelated topics ranging from insulation and footy.

We arrived a tad late but were able to wait for the march to approach Marble Arch and then join in. After about an hour and a half of mostly standing and moving bit by bit we took off on our way down to Parliament Square.



While waiting had a good few conversations with people, the Scousers, some Germans and some fellow Poles too. Polish flags were very visible on that day, by my estimates probably third after the sea of EU flags. Apart from lots of others and some really imaginative and poignant banners.

On the way to Parliament Square I decided to scoot off and get to the front of the crowd where I was hoping to find Lupe, Wolfie and Geo. Wasn't successful at first but it was still fun walking along different people and joining in with the chants and such. Never done anything quite like it.

On the way to Parliament Square, down Whitehall, some guys opened played "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles with the crowd singing along the way. And once we loaded up onto the square and speeches were already underway.

We had politicians, activists and regular people making their statements, and one in particular that caught my ear was by a Spanish nurse working for the NHS. Very personal, very powerful and relatable. Had some Poles on stage too, one of whom called Wiktor Moszczyński is a Londoner and book author who shared some interesting points. The was also David Lammy, and finally at the end we heard Nick Clegg.



To be honest, I do not expect any changes to be made through this protest. Yes, we had about 100,000 people in attendance but I would be surprised if the Tories even took notice of this gathering and the points raised.

Brexshit in all likelihood is going to happen regardless of what we say or do. But exercising our democratic rights felt fucking great. To come out there, in public, for everyone to see, and express my thoughts on the matter felt very elating. Being there with friends, and meeting other like-minded people felt encouraging.

I understand people have their reasons to favor Brexshit, and that's fine. I resent the fact that as a perm resident I had no voice in it despite belonging to the most affected group in the whole process. I resent the fact that the Leave campaign was largely based on half-truths and lies, like the infamous £350 million per week for the NHS, later refuted by the waste of air that is Nigel Farage himself as "not true".

A lot of people who voted Leave have been had, and biggest proponents of leaving the EU will not be the ones to suffer from the consequences - it will be the average Joe Schmo who was made to think kicking out immigrants, closing borders and making "new trade deals" will be the way forward. No it won't. It will most likely be the demise of this gradually less welcoming and open country with once huge possibilities.
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Feb. 5th, 2017

megaman croc

Nothing Short of Awesome IV

And here we are, finally arriving at Toronto. I cannot understand why it took me until February to write this up but at last that momentous day has come.

Having left behind the wonderful city of Montreal, along with our two good friends Koviell and Aevsivs, we set off for the last leg of our journey at dawn, taking a Via Rail train from Montreal's Gare Centrale and arriving at Toronto's grand Union Station five hours later.

I was pretty excited for this as I had never taken a long-distance train journey anywhere in North America. The long ride gave me chance to see the Great Lakes for the first time ever (Xolani has seen them before from Detroit and Windsor).

Having reached Toronto we still had most of the day for running around and seeing the sights. First dropping off our luggage for storage proved troublesome as with Union Station undergoing renovation certain sections were moved or closed. Eventually we did find our way and took off for some food, ending up at Boston Pizza on Front Street.



Toronto amazed me with its grandeur, skyscrapers towering over us everywhere made it feel like a real metropolis. Naturally the iconic CN Tower contributed to that as you can see it pretty much from every point we'd been to on that day.



Unfortunately, this time we had to give CN Tower a miss due to time constraints and the entry price, instead opting for the nearby Hockey Hall of Fame. It turned out to be a fantastic choice. The highlight was definitely the intricately decorated trophy gallery with exact replicas of all the trophies awarded in the National Hockey League, including the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy, Jack Adams Award, Maurice Richard Trophy and others. I am hoping one day the Vancouver Canucks will have their names engraved on it. Had to bite my tongue when I heard some guy saying it's going to be the Boston Bruins' turn soon :P



Apart from wandering around and admiring the Hall's wonderful collection of memorabilia, we also took part in a puck shooting game. Turned out I have a very good shot and was on target 7/7 times, scoring three times XD

Bummer part was there are no pics from that and anything else that followed because derp croc accidentally deleted that part of the pictures. Nevertheless, after the Hall we wandered down to the waterfront, past the Air Canada Centre, and then slowly moved towards Union Station to pick up our luggage and hop on a train to the airport.

Toronto Pearson International Airport is one of the biggest airports I've been to (I think only Heathrow beats this one). The spaghetti interchange on the way to one of the terminals was particularly impressive. Less so for the crowds and delays we had encountered on the way but in the end we made it for out flight with plenty of time to spare.

Leaving Canada was the sad part. Those three weeks were an absolute blast. Not a single day had felt like a let-down in some way. Every moment was used to the full, and I reckon Xolani enjoyed himself greatly. As did I. Now I hope we can come back to this wonderful land and explore it further.

Dec. 25th, 2016

megaman croc

Wesołych Świąt

To all you guys and gals, whatever your celebration this time of the year is, may your Christmas or any other celebration be special, warm and full of happiness. Regardless of how things have been going for each and every one of you lately, I do hope you are able to find closeness, company and peace at this time. Wesołych Świąt ^^
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Nov. 29th, 2016

megaman croc

Nothing Short of Awesome III

So here it is, the third part of our great Canadian trip report from way back in September. Sorry for the delay on this one but stuff just kept piling up on me in the last few months, as a result of which this entry has been so ungodly delayed.

We left Calgary and our lovely hosts Copper and Dorn early morning on Sat (Sept 10th), heading for Montreal via Winnipeg. The first leg of the flight was mostly uneventful, much like the landscape of Manitoba - fields, fields, fields, fields and more fields, with the occasional pond or lake. And then, boom, we're suddenly over Winnipeg, the province's capital and largest city. I am also told the only true city within hundreds of miles.



To make our 3-hour-long stopover more productive, Xolani arranged to meet up with his long-time buddy Lucian. We also met his travelling Quebecois friend Celaveur and enjoyed a nice chat followed by a brief excursion into downtown Winnipeg. We did see the MTS Centre, home to the Winnipeg Jets, however time wasn't on our side and we had to scramble to make it for our bus the airport. Those were some tense moments, as we feared we were gonna miss our flight to Montreal.

On top of that buzz needed the restroom once we got to the airport, and boy, never seen him run that fast in my life. Following a tense secondary check at security (perfect timing, right?!) we actually made it with plenty of time to spare. As a matter of fact the flight was delayed...

Having arrived in Montreal we were met by our buddy Koviell, who kindly offered to guide us back to our stay in Ville-Emard. The kobold is bilingual, with his primary tongue being French, and as we soon found out his communication skills proved very helpful, starting with obtaining transit tickets for me and buzz :P

Chatting away on the bus and metro (the amazing rubber-tired Métro de Montréal!) we finally reached our destination at Rue Jogues, which was hard to get to with our heavy suitcases owing to some extensive roadworks. Having unpacked I discovered a smashed honey jar which, thankfully, hadn't caused too much of a disaster. We then retired, joined by Koviell in the morning for our first full day of adventures in the amazing city of Montreal.

Sunday (Sept 11th) started pretty late (!) and included a short trip to Walmart by myself and Koviell. We then headed off into town for our first adventures. The proximity of Station Monk on the Blue Line made travelling places so easy. The trip downtown took 15 minutes tops and from there our lovable 'bold took us round his enchanting hometown, starting with a visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica in the Old Montreal.



This was followed by a stroll through the genuinely old streets of Old Montreal and a quick stop at the liquor store. There was a souvenir shop as well where we purchased a little gift for our friend Tark, who was kind enough to keep an eye on our place in Liverpool during our trip. Being a history grad, he simply had to get an Ottawa Senators piece of merch.

Moving on we headed for the Old Port of Montreal (Vieux Port de Montréal), Chinatown, undergrounds of the Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center, and finally Centre Bell, home of the Montreal Canadiens. Owing to some event being held at the arena there were quite a few Habs fans walking around. We suspected it was a preseason game of some sort. Didn't get to see any hockey but on the flip side I was able to snap lots pics outside of the arena with player statues and memorial plaques.

Later in the afternoon we met up with Aevsivs, our spider friend from Montreal, and to make the best of his dinner break at work we headed out for some legit poutine. LEGIT. Best ever. I mean we haunted that place pretty much every day (forgot the name). The day ended in our rented apartment with drinks and BoJack Horseman!

Monday (Sept 12th) was more nature-oriented as we embarked on a climb up Mount Royal (233 m/764 ft). We can proudly claim to have conquered the city's tallest natural point entirely by foot, and the woodland walk and scenic downtown panorama was absolutely worthwhile!



On our way to the foot of the mountain we had also stopped at an Indian shop which Xolani found of particular interest. After a nice chat with a shopkeeper, who herself originates from India, the wasp bought himself a glass wall pendant in the shape of an elephant. The day was rounded off with a nice sushi meal, and then some more drinking and increasingly sad episodes of BoJack Horseman :P

Tuesday (Sept 13th) was by far the hottest day during our great Canadian adventure. With the mercury hitting close to 30 C (86 F) we headed for the riverfront. The mighty St. Lawrence River was just one stop away and made for a fantastic walk. The water was clear and warm enough to tempt me into thinking about swimming but the lack of speedos was the main obstacle. Plus the river current in some places would definitely carry me away.

We then headed into town, perusing Montreal's Gay Village. The place was drenched in rainbows and pink lanterns so I suppose it definitely lived up to its name. Made for a nice little walk for us, rounded off with me being a troll and sending a post card to my sister written entirely in French.



Following a little stroll through Chinatown and the Old Town, we ended up in the Old Port again, sitting on the bench and soaking up the sun for the best part of an hour. Being sat there with my bf on one side and good buddy on the other made me feel relaxed in the way I hadn't been in a good while. And so blissfully warm. We then climbed up the Clock Tower (Tour de l'Horloge) admiring the St. Lawrence River and the Jacques Cartier Bridge (Pont Jacques Cartier).



As with the last few days, we again wounded up crossing Old Montreal. Koviell took us past their very own Polish restaurant and then through the World Trade Centre Montreal, which happens to house an original segment of the Berlin Wall. Coming from a former communist state, you can probably imagine how that resonated with me. Being able to touch it with my own hands was something I will always remember and tell people about. To round the day off we met up with our happy spider Aevsivs again for some poutine and then slowly made our way home.

Wednesday (Sept 14th) was sadly our last day in Montreal but nevertheless we made the most of it, starting with a little tour across the Place des Arts. We then stumbled upon a public art performance by a student group which drew us in for about an hour or so. More picture snapping and strolling through the city followed, and some of the sights have been pretty memorable...



Sadly, our time in Montreal drew to a close. We retired back to our place earlier, circumstances forcing us to pack our stuff up. We did have a lovely goodbye evening with Koviell, which summed up our stay on a high note. It's been fantastic to meet the 'bold in person, and hopefully next time we can see Aevsivs more often too.

The next day, Thursday (Sept 15th) we embarked on a train journey with ViaRail to grand Toronto, but that will be expanded on in a separate post. Even though Toronto's poutine is inferior to Montreal's poutine, it does deserve some appreciation for how grand it is. There's also a family-related story from Toronto I want to include so stay tuned. This time it will not take me weeks to hammer this one out.

Oct. 3rd, 2016

megaman croc

Nothing Short of Awesome II

So here's the second part of the account on our amazing trip to Canada. Having left Vancouver on Saturday evening (Sept 3rd) we were headed for Calgary, where two of our friends, Copper and Dorn, reside.

This was my third visit to Alberta, but Xolani was a newbie to one of the great prairie provinces. The open spaces, and again the mountains, blew the wasp's mind away in many respects, as I shall detail in the following report.

Having arrived at our friends' place we met Jake, their pet puppy dog. Although initially shy, he quickly warmed up and started jumping all over us. After a few days he was comfortable enough to nestle in my lap and just fall asleep, although his two owners would still always take priority x3

Our first day (Sept 4th) was rather cold and windy, but that was soon warmed up by an enormous pride parade in downtown Calgary. It was a long affair, where we stood on the side of the street for round about an hour and still had people coming through. Even though Alberta gets the nickname "The Texas of Canada", you can still see how wonderfully open and tolerant it can be, much to Xolani's amazement.



That was followed by a little walk around the open-air concert venue, with a stop to gaze at the sole Bible-basher standing on a street corner and preaching his bullshit far and wide. After this we bought a Canadian rainbow flag and headed for lunch at this awesome place called King of Shawarma.

Monday (Sept 5th) was spent trying to get out of two mystery rooms. Unfortunately, Copper wasn't feeling well, and as such stayed behind. We still had a party of seven, which proved enough to break out of the first room, themed as a gangster scene.

As a compliment in exchange for reviews, we got a crack at the second room, this time a space-based mystery, which we sadly didn't solve in time and thus died horribly in the vacuum of space.

We were also introduced to the neighbors by Dorn, both are some absolutely lovely people, and additionally the man of the house was kind enough to share some of his greens with Xolani. His eyes shone with delight at that as he wasn't able to smoke up while in Canada, and does this for medicinal reasons. The joints went down very well on our hike the following day.

Tuesday (Sept 6th) was particularly memorable for the day out in the Rockies that myself, Xolani and Richard (the roommate) enjoyed. Our goal was Loder Peak (2,088 m) near the settlement of Kananaskis, just off the Trans-Canada Highway. The weather was crisp, which made it even more impressive seeing Richard attempt the climb wearing just a t-shirt. I was all wrapped up.

Soon after the hike started, Xolani found out that hiking boots with flat soles are really no good for climbing. I pushed the buzz up a few times but for the final ascent we had to call it quits for him as that would have been too dangerous.



With Xolani left behind to wait in a safe spot, Richard and myself proceeded to climb the 45-degree rock wall. With about a third of the way to go, I looked down, and probably shouldn't have, as that made me think twice about climbing further. But with a little encouragement I managed to scuffle to the top of the wall. The summit was a short walk away, and the views were most rewarding.



The descent from the rock wall leading up to the summit was fun, and probably dangerous. Thankfully I had one of Richard's grappling gloves so at least I could hold on to the coarse surface and actually get down in one piece. After we descended fully flat ground felt amazing. As did our dinner in Canmore at the famous Grizzly Paw brewery.

Wednesday (Sept 7th) was nice and laid back, started off with a visit to a local hospital for a check-up for Copper, and then followed by a nice drive around downtown Calgary and then the amazing and massive Bass Pro outdoor and hunting shop. Two floors complete with a salmon aquarium and artificial waterfall. Canadians have soooo many options for outdoor fun. We rounded the day off with a nice Italian meal at Pacini's, complete with a bread bar!



During the week I also introduced our Canadian-American hosts to Shepherd's pie, a British classic, and I was so pleased to see they liked it! All of it was gone in two days.

For Thursday (Sept 8th) I had planned a day out for me and buzz showing him around downtown Calgary, with a stop at Army&Navy on the way, where we picked up a pair of toy slingshots!

Perusing downtown was great fun, starting from 7th Ave and working our way up the Bow River and Prince's Island Park. While there we were surprised by a freak thunder storm complete with hail, torrential rain and freezing gusts of wind. Thankfully, Calgary's pedestrian bridges came to our rescue and we were somewhat able to continue our journey staying dry and relatively warm.



Following that we went to collect Copper from his workplace, meeting the wolf's amazing English coworker while we waited, and headed down to meet up with Dorn and go for some hot dogs at Tubby Dog's and then for bubble tea at the Chinese district. While at it, we went into The Bow, Calgary's tallest complete skyscraper, hoping to able to go to the top. While that wasn't possible, we had a nice chat with the two workers at Starbucks, one of whom had been to the top viewing deck before. We also got a free ice coffee. That kinda warmed me up to Starbucks a little.

The day was rounded off with a nice walk along a picturesque bluff overlooking downtown, with a row of some very expensive houses along the street!



Friday was our last full day in Calgary, so we headed out to town again, this time talking a walk along the more historic 8th Ave, and then going up Calgary Tower to soak up some of the city views. And they were not disappointing at all :D



Following that, and a prolonged search for an ATM and Post Office, we met up with the guys and headed down to Bridlewood for a dinner at the Bull & Finch Pub Restaurant. There we were joined by two of our friends, Wula and Berymuch, and after a nice meal and good laughs we headed down to their place to chill and play games. Was really nice seeing them after about three years.

And even then sadly didn't get to see everyone, both in Calgary and Vancouver, which I can only apologize for and promise to make up for next time.

Early Saturday morning we had to get out things together and head for the airport. Copper and Dorn have been wonderful hosts to us, it was excellent seeing them both again and introducing waspie. The next leg of our journey took us to Montreal, via Winnipeg, but that's some more material for another entry!

Sep. 25th, 2016

megaman croc

Nothing Short of Awesome I

So once again Canada has been nothing short of awesome, the three weeks myself and Xolani spent there flew by at the speed of lightning and left both me and him with some interesting thoughts and conclusions to consider for the future. But from the start...

We made our way to Vancouver from Manchester on August 26th. Customs, thankfully, was quick and easy, and even had a little chat with the customs officer about Lewis Hamilton's chances of winning yet another F1 champion title.

I gave our friend Rex the wrong time for our arrival, so him and Marz showed up a little later than we expected, but still had no trouble finding us. After introducing wasp we were all on our merry way to Surrey, past Tim Horton's for a quick bite. Xolani has become quite a fan of Timmy's over those three weeks we spent in Canada. Luckily enough, they're expanding into the UK soon!

After that we met with Trapa and Silver, which was where we would be staying for the week. The very next day after our arrival (Aug 27th) Rex, Marz, myself and Xolani set off to Whistler for a day hike up Whistler Mtn. To get to our final destination it took a long uphill trip via a chairlift all the way to Rendezvous Lodge near the top of Blackcomb Peak. After a nice hour-long walk in the vicinity of the lodge, we set off for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. Just before that there was also some marvelling at the red snow I scooped up from a glacial valley nearby. Apparently the color is the result of special algae bloom. Go figure!

The Peak 2 Peak Gondola took us to the Roundhouse Lodge, and from there our final lift up to Whistler Mtn continued. While the Gondola offered some amazing sights between the two peaks, the final lift was more thrilling owing to the fact that we were suspended on a chairlift with the jagged mountain ridges, sudden drops and remnants of the glacier tens of meters below out feet. And then the summit itself offered some absolutely amazing views. To be honest, due to the height (2,181 m) there were some symptoms of altitude sickness but they went away fairly quickly.

At the very top we had one of the massive Inuksuk statues, and hundreds of smaller makeshift version spread across the whole mountaintop and surrounding areas. We even built our own to leave a mark ourselves. Still, one of the most impressive sights was The Black Tusk mountain, an extinct volcano.





A day of hiking and picture-snapping, followed by more hiking on my own as the guys went for another spin on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, we all got pretty hungry, which is why our meal at the Roundhouse Lodge went down so well. It included trying a local beer called Kootenay, which I can definitely recommend to lupestripe!

The second day of our stay (Aug 28th) included a trip to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in downtown Vancouver, where an animated and knowledgeable guide told us all about the history of the place, Chinese gardening traditions and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen himself. A very engaging hour-long tour packed with facts. Highly recommend.



This was followed by a trip to the Bloedel Floral Conservatory, a famous local tropical garden. I have been there before but Xolani was a first-timer. Suffice to say he loved every bit of it, the fully-grown tropical plants as well as flocks of parrots and other critters frolicking around. At the end of the day we retreated to the new favorite sushi place for the bunch, Kisha Poppo, where a meal for 11 took place. Being stuffed with prime quality sushi, which includes the local sockeye salmon sashimi, is definitely a fun experience even if walking after the meal comes as a challenge.

Sadly, Marz had to leave the following night on account of work but even with that we still got to see the tiger before we left the following Saturday. But even then we had a great time the following Monday (Aug 29th) having visited the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary in the Fraser River delta. Abundant bird life, sunshine and a nice leisurely walk made this a very enjoyable day, which included myself stuffing my face with blackberries and wild peas despite a sign saying not to do that (only noticed upon our exit). We even bought some seeds to feed the ducks with, and boy oh boy, they were really going for it. I've never fed ducks straight from the hand and I have to say the sensation of their beaks nabbing at my palm was so strange!

Tuesday (Aug 30th) was the grand day for me as I took on the Grouse Grind hiking trail up Grouse Mountain with the goal of setting my personal best. The hike itself is 3 km long, leading up to the summit which reaches an elevation of 1,231 m. With the official record standing at 25:01 s, I managed to scramble to the top in 48:26 s. My next goal is to make it under 45 minutes or less.

Xolani also attempted the climb, having taken longer to complete it in order to admire the forest and the views on the way. I will admit, taking the cable car down felt great. I have walked down from Grouse Mtn via a side trail and will not do that again. It is extremely steep and really makes you appreciate flat ground. I mean really.

After the climb we met with Trapa for (yes!) another sushi dinner and rounded the day off with a fantastic walk around the ever gorgeous Stanley Park. Wasp was much impressed, especially the totem poles and such a vast natural space in such proximity to the downtown.



What made it even more awesome was our stop at the Hollow Tree, and then the Third Beach crowd who were drumming away, dancing the smoking pot. Thought I'd fit right into that kind of group. The amazing walk concluded around the Siwash Rock which is a natural sea stack and a sacred place for the local Squamish native tribes.



Wednesday (Aug 31st) was partly a working day for me but we did manage to make our way to Abbotsford in order to visit the all-time favorite Castle Fun Park arcade. That was preceded by a stop at a local beekeeping shop where we purchased honey and had a lively chat with one the beekeepers tending to his stock. Especially interesting and educating for Xolani, who is a amateur buzzykeeper himself.

The next day (Sept 1st) was a nice day outside the city, with the intention of travelling to Hell's Gate and taking the airtram to explore the bottom the canyon. Before that, we stopped at Chilliwack so that Xolani's initiation could take place. By initiation I mean the (in)famous Mud Pie at the Airport Coffee Shop, where me and Rex had breakfast too. Xolani soldiered on bravely though and finished the whole pie like a champ.


Annoyingly, having travelled a total of 200 km we found out Hell's Gate was closed due to a power failure. Having gone that far we weren't going to waste the day, and instead opted for The Hope Slide, which is the site of the largest recorded landslide in Canada, as well as the Othello Tunnels, an example of marvellous engineering from the 19th century where a series of railway tunnels had been carved out along the steep walls of the Coquihalla Canyon. I have been there before in 2009, my first visit to Canada, so returning there felt oddly sentimental. Hah, I've been to Canada so many times things start feeling sentimental to me XD



The sight of the temperate rainforest, the sound of the Coquihalla River crashing down in the gorge were all amazing. I was less impressed with Xolani who managed to slip up and get his butt wet in the river when we went down to explore the part just before the canyon entrance.

Friday (Sept 2nd) was our last full day in Vancouver, and that was spent perusing the city, including Gastown, with Xolani and a visiting friend of Trapa's from Germany. During the day we bought some food for a homeless lady who genuinely looked like someone in need (no signs of drug abuse), and then afterwards took the Sea Bus to North Vancouver and enjoyed some local beer in the Alibi Room, a bar which my friend Daveco introduced me to a few years back.

The day was rounded off with another outing to Kisha Poppo for sushi, where we made our way on our own (the restaurant is based in Richmond), and this time we were joined by Marz too, who had travelled all the way from Seattle to see me and Xolani off. Bless him <3

The last day (Sept 3rd) was the day for perusing the Granville Island Public Market, a huuuuge market spread on the eponymous island under the massive Granville Street Bridge. The five of us spent three hours browsing the numerous art galleries, food stalls and shops. One of my buys was some salmon jerky which I will definitely be getting next time we visit. It's delish.



The trip would have been rounded off perfectly fine at a famous ice cream shop called La Casa Gelato (our third time there in that one sole week) but unfortunately upon arrival Marz found out he had left his wallet behind. The three of us stayed behind while Rex and Marz travelled back to the market and luckily were able to retrieve it. That was some relief. And after that we enjoyed the ice cream!

Since that was our last day in Vancouver, we sadly had to say our goodbyes but this also meant another part of our journey began - Calgary - which will be elaborated in the next post!

Aug. 26th, 2016

megaman croc

Adventure Time

It's time for another Canadian adventure! Taking off tomorrow at noon from Manchester, bound for Vancouver. This time I will be joined by my buzz Xolani, and showing him some Canadian wonders. Can't wait to see friends too, it's been too long since the last visit. Next update from British Columbia!

Aug. 20th, 2016

megaman croc

Canadia

I've noticed over the several last years I've become less and less excitable (guess that is part of being a boring old grown-up).

Could say I miss times when a trip somewhere or meeting somebody would make me all giddy and jumpy, butterflies-in-stomach sort of feeling. Don't get that much anymore, sadly.

One nice exception that has come about recently is our trip to Canada at the end of August. Seeing friends across the whole country, west to east, over three weeks, until halfway through September. Admittedly, I haven't been this excited for a trip for a while.

Firstly, we're stopping in Vancouver for a little over a week. The first city I've ever visited in Canada, it's definitely a special place for me. It will be great seeing my friends there, haven't had the chance to meet up since 2014.

Same goes for Calgary, the next stop on our route, and then on Sept 10th we head for Montreal (via Winnipeg), which will be the first ever trip to Eastern Canada. And then to round it all off, a day in Toronto before takeoff back home.

Buzzy is already buzzing about the trip, it being his first proper excursion into beautiful Canada. Got all of our travel papers printed off, just packing up next week and we're ready to fly away. Butterflies in my stomach are hopefully a positive sign of things to come. Can't wait for this trip.

Jul. 3rd, 2016

megaman croc

Sixth Form

July 3rd, 2016, marks the sixth year I've spent living in Britain. Comparing things from 2010 to how they are now, I can tell this was a different country, even though only six years have passed.

Especially the referendum-related events have really highlighted it to me how much this country has changed, and still even just the coming years, if not months, bring mostly uncertainty. Brexit. And then even the future of the United Kingdom with its four constituent states, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Will it last should Westminster vote to leave the EU?

I will admit that June 23rd was a pretty dark day for me. I was at my dad's, getting ready for a lovely day hiking up Smerek mountain, but the in the morning I read this shit and I could feel something cracking inside of me. Thus, I cannot tell whether Britain will be my home for much longer. Perhaps it will, but in the EU member state Scotland, or we'll be moving somewhere else, I don't know.

I do know that the UK feels like my home, hence why it was incredibly sad to see all the post-referendum racism and hate kicking off against the Polish and other ethnic groups which make up this wonderful and diverse country. This isn't the Britain I recall from even just a few years back. And it happens to be the Britain I've come to love, an open and diverse society where every language in the world is spoken, where every culture and cuisine in the world come together.

I don't want this taken away but ultimately only time will tell what happens and what's the best course of action. Here's hoping by the time my seventh year in Britain has passed I'll be having a better outlook on the future. And hopefully with a British citizenship by then.

Got my family round for a week and a bit in Liverpool. To mark this day we've had a good time out in town and enjoyed some gourmet burgers. Today definitely made me feel positive and feels like a worthy celebration of a pretty big chunk of my life here.
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Jun. 13th, 2016

bizzarrricious

Orlando

I guess it's only just now that the reality of what went down in Orlando started sinking in. And how certain media outlets seem to be eager to brush homophobic aspect of it under the carpet.

A Muslim radical, who clearly had a dislike for LGBT people, stormed into an LGBT night club killing 50 people. Some of them surely weren't gay but the point still stands - fucker went there with the intent of inflicting death and harm upon LGBT people. That's what it is. Don't generalize and gloss over it.

Typically I don't feel much affiliation with the LGBT community, seeing the furry fandom as my main domain, but then this feel somewhat different. It stings because obviously I am gay too so there's a link between me, my bf, my friends and all those poor people who have been gunned down out of hatred for homosexuals.

It could have been anyone, because you can never tell where something like this will happen. But in this case it was a deliberate attack on gay people, people like me, whose only 'crime' is loving and feeling attracted to people of the same sex. And there's also no telling where such a homophobic act could happen. It could have been any one of us in that club.

Don't fucking patronize, generalize it by saying "it's just a crime against people trying to have fun". This is bullshit. He knew what he was doing and this needs to be acknowledged, a radical Muslim cunt with a livid hate for gays went on a killing spree aimed at them.

I wouldn't say this is going to make me join Pride, at least not the one where nudity and drinking seems like the main objective. I don't want that. I wouldn't do this in public myself. But we could use Pride that reminds us that there's still prejudice out there, even in our own backyard. There's still many people who wish we'd disappear. And many countries where being gay is punishable by death, like Saudi Arabia. This needs highlighting.

Twats like Omar Mateen are numerous. But even in our own 'backyard' there's people "praying" for us to be "cured". Denying us our basic entitlements and citizens, taxpayers and human beings. In principle they aren't any better although their methods differ. And this is what I would like to see raised and exposed. For the sake and memory of all those guys and gals from Orlando and elsewhere.

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