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More North American Shenanigans

CANADA | Saturday, 5 May 2007 | Views [770]

Heya Music Lovers, It has now been 5 months since I left Perth and the time just seems to be disappearing. Since coming back from the Caribbean I have been a bit slack with the tall tales and piccies, so here goes.....be warned though, this is long winded! Where to begin?? Easter seems like eons ago, but it was a very sweet time. Amanda and I headed down to Portland (about 5 hours south of Vancouver) for the weekend. As usual the border crossing into the States was like pulling teeth, but we made good time. The reason we chose Portland was the beer festival (why else??) being held in their convention center. We sampled some great beers, ate lots of greasy food and tasted a few fantastic wines with my fave being Naked Wines with such classic varieties as Nude Chardonnay, Busty Merlot and Leggy Cab Sav!! Portland is a very beautiful city, with heaps to do. We stayed out of the city on the first night in a little coastal town, Seaside which was quite picturesque and kind of trendy in a Margaret River sort of way. There wasn't a lot happening in Seaside, aside from the northern hemispheres biggest water based monolith (apparently?) which we dutifully checked out first thing in the morning. As for downtown Portland, we managed to cram in a few pubs, the rose gardens (blah), town hall, some bridge with excellent views and the coolest, biggest, cheapest bookstore I have ever seen. Powell's Bookstore was so big you needed a map just to find your way around; being male I decided that I didn't need one of course and managed to lose myself, AGAIN!! The real fun and games started on the way back to Vancouver. We checked out the fourth largest waterfall in the states, which was pretty impressive. The amount of water in this part of the world is mind boggling, especially coming from Perth which had next to no rainfall last year. Having seen the falls, I caught the nature/environment bug and decided it would be a great idea to go and check out Mount Saint Helens. Would you believe that we got lost and couldn't find one of the world's biggest mountains? Well we did and ended up on top of some other mountain with snow falling pretty heavily, visibility limited and no map!! All in a car not really designed for snow driving! However all's well that ends well as we found a clear vantage point from which to view the volcano that once spewed enough ash into the atmosphere to cover most of North America. I have been getting out and about town a little more the last month or so, it really is a lot easier and nicer when it's not continuously drizzling outside. The awesome thing is the sun stays out so late here now, with it only really getting dark around 10pm. Granville Street downtown is the place to go on weekends, with all the major bars and clubs within walking distance on one extended neon strip. It is absolute chaos there at 2 in the morning though. A group of us went out there for Jaclyn's (Nat from work's best mate) birthday the other week, when a fight erupted just as we left a bar. It was INSANE!! 8 blokes were going nuts, with guys on the ground getting the crap kicked out of them. Apparently they were a group of mates that decided they didn't like each other anymore. The amusing thing was that one guy stopped halfway through the fight to take of his shirt, grab a beer bottle a start yelling c'mon more fiercely than Lleyton Hewitt does!! It was very surreal as it all happened about a metre from where we were standing!!! Worse still, one of the girls with us decided to play mediator even though she didn't know ANY of those involved. There are some very cool bars downtown, you just have to be a little bit careful as it can get a bit full on late at night. The Virgin Music Festival was another highlight of the last two months. I originally brought tickets to see Muse and The Killers. Muse pulled out early, which was very disappointing but the event was still worthwhile as I saw some cool bands I would never have heard of otherwise. Billy Talent, My Chemical Romance, AFI, Metric, Smooch and Elizabeth all showed some promise, but the festival definitely belonged to The Killers who are AWESOME live. Amanda and I were about 5 metres from the front and got slaughtered in 'the mosh', but we survived and enjoyed a first class show. Better still, at the end of the gig I managed to catch one of the drumsticks, which I donated to Natalie and Jaclyn, the biggest Killer groupies I know. Even though that gig was wicked, the White Stripes are who I am really hanging out for. They are playing near my house next month and Simon P. and Rino will both be here for it!!! Stay tuned! Probably the best part of the last 2 months for me has been playing footy again. After 10 years of not playing I have joined the Burnaby Eagles (who else??) Football Club. There are only two teams in Vancouver so we play each other every second week. Both teams are made up of mostly ex pat Aussies with a few Canadians thrown in for good measure. It's pretty casual, though when the ball is bounced the two teams both go hell for leather. The great thing is both teams hang out together after the games and get on it, definitely not what happens back home. I must have played a good first up game as I got presented with a coaches award afterwards at the pub. It was kind of a double edged sword as it was a bottomless pewter mug that had to be filled all night with beer by my team mates and drunk without hesitation by me. How did it all end up? Let's just put it this way, it wasn't a pretty picture.... I woke in my car at three in the morning with someone else's shirt on, no mug and not much of an idea how I got there! Not to worry, both teams included me in their webpage write ups the next day, filling in the blanks (unfortunately) for me!! The footy club also had a ladies night last weekend. The idea was to raise money for the club and to help all the single guys out!! The club rented a bar downtown with the promise of cheap drinks, 2 buck massages and a player auction to entice the ladies to come along. Around 250 people turned up, with a ratio of 3 girls to every guy; not bad odds at all! I had first up duties on the massage chair, with an absolute hotty as my first customer. I am not so sure Amanda was too impressed by the sight of me rubbing the bare back of a blonde stunner!! I was also one of the 12 players auctioned off later that night; I was offering a one hour golf lesson and praying like crazy that some bloke (or ugly chick) brought me. Amanda was very gracious and kept out bidding all contenders to stop me ending up with some strange woman!! I went for $52 in the end, not too bad considering, although I do feel cheap and nasty for selling myself hahaha!! Next aventure is a road trip to Kelowna to play a variety of teams, should be a blast!! Anyways, I am getting RSI and if you have made it this far you're probably falling asleep by now!! Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, I hope that the sun is shining and it's all sweet for ya. Keep smiling, Ben.

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