Friday, January 9, 2015

Smart(assed) phones stole my photos...

Welcome to This Canadian Yurt.

Faces we made as we realised all the photos were gone from this site
i got a smart phone.  It's smarter than me.  One of the first things i did after receiving this new 'toy' was delete every single photo from every single one of my blogs.  This makes this site much less beautiful, readable & interesting.  i intend to trail through my hard-drives, scouring folders for the photos i sporadically uploaded as i was writing the stories for this beloved blog.  This will take some time.  Especially as i'm in India where wifi runs at the hamster-powered speed of internet circa 1998.  i can even hear the BA-DING BA-DING BA-DING of the dial up connection, as the hamster's wheel clangs against the cage.

As a side note...if you delete a Picasa album it will automatically delete your photos from blogger.  Even if you've never opened, uploaded or know what a Picasa album is.  It's not a back's WHERE the photos are stored.  It's irreversible (if you've emptied the trash).  Even if all you were trying to do was create some space on your smartassed phone...the photos will be gone & the tears will fall. 

The photos will be back.  Just give me some time.  For now, please enjoy the stories & if you'd like to see the photos, leave a comment, which will motivate me to spend the hours, days & patience necessary to repost.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

It's the end of the yurt as we know it (and i feel...)

i'm not ready to write this post.  Mostly because it will probably be my last one from This Canadian Yurt.  But also because i'm writing this sitting in a bikini in Scotland (i know!!!). 

Antoine, Manu & Scott
The last weekend was incredible.  My friend, Jennifer, in Montréal sent us a party.  It arrived in the form of her musician brother, Scott & his friend, Manu.  Our yurt neighbours were having friends over that night, so we floated the idea of a pot luck dinner & amalgamated forces.  Manu made sweet potato gnocci.  When guest numbers had dwindled a bit, Scott pulled out his guitar & belted out some of his tunes.  He has been touring around in Canada & Europe for quite a while.  He played & sang until the sky became lighter.  i danced barefoot on the grass & gave thanks for the months of having a home & for the blessed, wild nature that is Gaspé.  We all danced together in a circle for the last song, then another last song, was time to sleep.

Packing is a messy business
We made a great brunch & ate all together outside the yurt.  i wanted to record some of Scott's songs (link at end of this post).  i felt okay about leaving, grateful for all the distractions of people & packing.  it took until around 9.30pm before i became upset about leaving the yurt & Antoine.  But there wasn't really time for it, as we were having a pizza party at the house.  It turned into a midnight pizza party because Scott really knew how to cook proper pizza dough & it needed to rest for a while.  Absolutely divine pizza.  We bedded down on our last night together in the yurt at about 2am, with the alarm set for 4.30am, so i could make my 6am bus.

Walking out of the yurt was incredibly painful.  i was truly sobbing.  i remembered my friend, Aya's words "Earth Pilgrim".  For so long i have been lucky enough to have been travelling all over this beautiful planet & the yurt had given me a home of my own for a while, but it was time to wander on.  Again.  i could feel the support of my friends as i left.  ~*~ thank you ~*~
2hrs of sleep + moments before we say 'adieu'

Surprisingly it was easier to say goodbye to Antoine!  i knew it wasn't going to be too long a break & things feel so great between us.  {He actually booked his flights to Scotland yesterday for September!}  And so, only slightly teary, i got on the 16 hour bus to Montréal.

Through the whole transition, i felt like i moved from one angel wing to another.  i arrived at my friends Mackenzie & Jean's home in Montréal.  They were so welcoming & hospitable (even with their 4 month 'nugget' in the belly!) ~ they really set the vibe for the whole transition back to Scotland.  

Montréal street art
The following day i hung out with my dear friend, Jennifer, who's an incredible artist, healer, priestess, wonder~woman living in Montréal with her awesome dog, Kali.  After chatting in her studio, enjoying noodles in China town with Seb & Jessica, we went on a graffiti/street art, mural tour organised by one of the galleries.  Huge, psychedelic, inspiring pieces of art aside of buildings.  Especially incredible to see all the city people after so many months surrounded by trees alone(ish) in a yurt!

Flights to the UK are incredible quick from the east coast ~ just 6.5hrs and i was in London!  So! Many! People!  Total shock.  It was great to arrive at another dear friend, Katie's & meet her 12 week old, Kieran.  Together with Simon, they're such an amazing team, more inspiration!  

my wee brother (& big ben)!
The following day with Peter (my brother) was of course wonderful, he took the day of work & we went to the Tate art gallery.  i was a bit knackered & fell asleep on the grass outside.  In the evening i cooked him a nice veggie Thai curry.  

London's finale was Sonya Sophia (my EFT
Sonya Sophia & i burlesquing it up!
teacher & friend) & Simon.  To celebrated her birthday she treated us to a fantastic new Cabernet show 'Limbo'.  We dressed up in burlesque & watched in awe as the small cast swallowed both fire & swords, performed disappearing magic acts, areal chain, sexy tap dancing men, great music, comedy pieces.  My favourite was 3 dancers who stood atop poles (strapped in at the top) & proceeded to rock backwards, then forwards, as the poles bent with them.  They could go so far back that they could touch the audience & dance over our heads.  i'd never even conceived of such performance & it blew my tiny mind.  Awesome!  

Edinburgh royal mile
Up in Scotland i was reunited with Sandy (other brother).  We'd not seen each other for almost 3 years.  The first thing he did was carry my 27.5kg bag across Edinburgh to his flat, where his flatmate had prepared a veggie haggis for us!  YUM.  A nice chat with another friend, David, the following day in the sunny meadows.  In Sandy's flat later that afternoon, i could hear the jubilant cheers as Andy Murray scored sets & finally won Wimbledon tennis.  It's the first time a Scot has ever won.  And perhaps it's to celebrate his victory, but it's been sunny for the last 2 weeks!  i've worn a bikini more this week in Scotland, than all other times combined.
"You two certainly brighten up Perth!" said Grandma

Of course it's wonderful to see Mum, Dad & the rest of the family.  We had a great BBQ as a belated birthday meal for Sandy & Grandma & Emma came round to celebrate.

i have found myself the perfect summer job at a small Scottish, family run cafe in town & have moved into the summer
house/posh shed at the bottom of my parent's garden (where i happily lived before for around 5 months).  it's almost like a yurt.  it's more like a yurt than a house.  i'm calling it my sort of Scottish yurt.  except it's sort of a yurt, not sort of Scottish, so i'm not sure if i'm allowed that name.

Inside my new pad

Here is a beautiful memory of our last weekend in the yurt:   The blonde couple in the video are the 2 who are currently living in the yurt over the summer. {click the link not the photo}
Dodo Rouge came with me (thanks Pete!)

(& there's another vid we made of Scott singing here:

Also, i've been in touch with the couple currently living in the yurt & Dodo Rouge is still there.  My brother gave me a Dodo Rouge of my own.

Things are going really well, i'm happy.  i hope one day to live in a yurt of my own.  Then i shall start another blog about it, especially if i convince Antoine to build one.  i've loved writing this & am so grateful to all whom read it & especially to those who took a moment to let me know how much they loved it.  Thank you.  If you have any ideas about other things you'd like me to blog about, i'm all ears.

somewhere over the rainbow
Thank you This Canadian Yurt.  Thank you, Antoine, for being the best yurt~partner imaginable.  Thank you family & friends for welcoming me into your lives as i continue on this Earth pilgrimage.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer Solstice

i spent a great deal of time last week being sad about leaving.  It's tough when you're happy somewhere to move on & here, in this Canadian yurt, i'm REALLY happy.  Having been travelling since 2004, i've finally found somewhere i could settle.  Except i can't because my visa is finishing & the yurt is rented to someone else for the summer.  Thus, once again, i shall stuff my things into a backpack & venture into the unknown.  But that's not for a few days yet.  There's still a few days left for Antoine & i to play here together (he will spend the summer in an apartment in Gaspé town).

Anyway, i'd rather be sharing with you what's been going this glorious past weekend.  For glorious it was!  
The beach 15 mins walk from the yurt.

As soon as Antoine got home from work on Friday night, we celebrated the solstice by taking the bikes to the nearby beach of Seal Cove. We didn't actually think there were any seals there...but just before we left, something jumped out of the water.  Twice.  It seemed to have 2 tails, so we think they were either playing or being amorous. 


the worm stick = hours of laughter
A Day on the Beach with The Worm

Saturday's weather was stunning.  We packed a picnic & took a trip to the local beach.  On the beach we amused ourselves with a stick.  Like this...
We recreated a Scottish mythical beast...can you guess which one?
Laughter is a must when the worm looks at your ~ your turn!

We danced alone on the beach at sunset.  It felt like Thailand, until we went in the sea ~  then it felt like Canada again!

Parc Forillon, Gaspé
Les Enfants du Parc Forillon
The following day we woke up ridiculously early for a Sunday & went to the National Park.  We hiked a small loop through the forest & ate a splendiferous picnic (yay Antoine!) overlooking views like this...
Afterwards it was time for more whale watching.  i sat for another hour and a half in the sunshine, with my eyes glued to the expansive golden water.  Antoine slept next to me on the trail.  i saw no whales, but the water had a wonderfully calming affect & allowed me to work through a lot of the feelings i have about leaving.  i love the sea.

My legs began to ache so i stood & walked around.  As i turned to face away from the water, i noticed what i thought was a horse stomping through the tall grass 10 metres away.  Then i realised 'That's no horse! That's a moose!"

"Antoine!  Antoine!" i called.  But the moose heard me long before Antoine did.  Turning it large head around to stare at me.  Eventually Antoine surfaced from siesta~ville & sat up.  We both noticed the baby at the same time:  only its ears & eyes visible as it trotted to keep up with its striding mama.

"Be careful" Antoine warned "We have to be ready to run."  But i felt so peaceful, there was no way this gentle giant was suddenly going to charge at us (we were by the edge of a cliff).  After a beautiful moment of meaningful eye~contact, she was off...the baby in tow.

And most likely because the park wished to compensate for the hiatus in whales, on our drive out of the park we saw a baby bear - just for a minute! 

Beach Party
That night there was a party on the beach.  Once again it felt like Thailand, except with campervans!  Fireworks, full moon, dancing, singing, chatting.  One man welcomed Antoine & i to build a yurt in the forest on his land.  It may have been the beer talking & perhaps it will never come to fruition, still i was deeply touched by his offer.  His land is stunning, high up, overlooking the sea. 

i was extra happy this night because after 1 or 2 beers i managed to speak 98% French (& was understood about 73% of the time!).  Those are passing grades people!

That busted open thing, that's the player!
Impromptu 8-Track Party
Also, sometime last week we busted out the 8-track player that Antoine fixed & hooked up to our awesome speakers.  Our Japanese friend, Satchi, was visiting & we all grooved our way through a huge collection of 8-tracks, from 70s disco, to Québecois crooners to Hendrix/Floydesq stuff...What was especially magical, is that the tapes were so old, that after they play once, they break.  So each listen was the last.  It was trés poetic.

8 Tracks

Having been following this nomadic lifestyle (minus the yurt) for quite a few years now, i am very familiar with the emotions of leaving & moving on.  i know that it's the *transition* part which is the most challenging.  Once i arrive in the next destination, i'll be fine, but the packing & unknown aspects always rock my world.

i also made this crystal necklace last week
This summer i am looking forward to:
~ seeing my family (including one brother i haven't seen for 3 years!) 
~ spending time with friends in Scotland (Emma, Claire & Chris, David...) 
~ showers & hot running water
~ extra long daylight hours
~ visiting my angel~sisters, one in Finland & one in Belgium
~ seeing friends briefly in London (Katie, Simon & Sonya & Pete!)
~ getting Antoine up to Scotland & all the fun we'll have there
~ making more crystals & finding work to put money in my account to fuel my journey to India to meet my soul-family, the Lhashikamos! & most likely up to Nepal too, for the beloved Annapurna mountains & crystal~weaver, Aya.

There's a great song in my head just now, repeating itself like a mantra: "i believe in the good things coming..." wanna hear more?...

Just to wrap up, i'd like to say how much i love this amazing human being...

Monday, June 24, 2013

Yurt Video

i've just realised that although i've put lots of love & time into the yurt blog this week, i've omitted to actually write a post.

Yurt Video
Antoine & i made a wee video tour of the yurt.  You can watch it here:
{click on the links, rather than on the image}
Yurt Web Pages 
i also created some pages for the yurt, which are intended for people interested in yurt living & the lifestyle of living in a yurt.  

There's one page entitled:  Things i love about living in a yurt
The other is where i try to recall, & answer, the questions people ask a yurt dweller ~ About the Yurt & FAQ

Squirrel Update
i will write soon, about the goings on of this past week (honestly, there have been many tears, as my time in the yurt comes to an end & my imminent departure from the yurt, & Antoine, becomes more of a reality).  However, this doesn't feel like a real blog post, without mentioning Dodo Rouge.  This week he's ganged up with a team of chipmunks (Dodo Chipmunks), which live in the wood pile behind the yurt.  They all enjoyed eating the popcorn kernals which didn't pop & were subsequently emptied onto the stoop.  

Saturday, June 15, 2013

More Roadtrippin'

Percé Rock (very famous)
Road-trip for a Beer
We left This Canadian Yurt with a tent & an idea.  The idea was to drive around 30 miles down the road, go for a hike & then camp overnight there.  But when we arrived, it was raining & windy and we had no desire to leave our warm car.  So we decided instead to go for a long drive.  We weren't sure exactly where we were headed, but as it's a coastal 'highway' (2 lanes of
traffic!) we didn't have to make too many decisions.  

Felix without the polar bear costume
We ended up in a town called Bonaventure, where a friend of ours, Felix, was working as a kayak guide.  Last year, Felix gave me one of the most visual memories of all the things i saw in Gaspé.  He was attired  as a polar bear for a fancy-dress party (in a wonderful outfit he created himself).  When i arrived, he was practicing for a battle which was to take place in the local karaoke bar.  Standing by the kitchen sink (where he had plastered the words to his given song) he stood as a polar bear & practiced Eminem's 'Lose Yourself' in his awesome Québecois accent.
this town had cartoons on every fire hydrant
By total synchronicity Felix arrived back from a 4 day excursion about 5 minutes after we rocked up. He directed us to a beach in Carleton-Sur-Mer, where we could camp that night. We drove into that town at dusk (around 8.30pm).  As we were passing through town i saw the word 'Micro-brasserie' flash by.  Antoine had the car turned around before i'd even completed the "-erie".  We sat in the micro-brewery car park & considered our options.

Sensible option - go find camp, set up the tent, walk back to the bar, drink, walk back to the tent.
Vintage signs 

We reasoned that the tent was so easy to put up, that the beach was 'right there' (we gestured vaguely) & walked into the bar.

The beer was good, the atmosphere was fantastic & we met 2 people we knew!  The barman offered to let us crash at his place if we wished to leave the car & abandon the idea of camping.  We said we'd return if we couldn't find a spot.
That water is WAY further down than it looks.

Sometime after 10.30pm we went in search of the beach.  We couldn't find it.  Back & forth we went, but there just wasn't a beach to be found.  We drove down another road.  There were a bunch of RVs/Caravans & what looked like a rental house, without a car (no car at 11pm more or less guarantees no one lives there in Gaspésie).  We decided to pitch camp next to the, now dirt track, road overlooking the sea, by what seemed like a semi-cliff/steep drop down to the beach. i was happy because my request had been to listen to the ocean as we slept.
so excited to see a Real 'idle no more' sign!

In the morning we packed up & ate breakfast on the beach, which was surprisingly easy to find in daylight.  We drove back, realising that we'd driven 275km/180 miles for a beer.  (And yes, i did feel bad about the gas, but making this trip allowed me to see the beauty of the area where i've been living all these months.)
A sign reading 'Yurtex' led to here...
Roadtrip for a Jacuzzi
The next trip we made was for a photo booth job in a town called Matan - on the coastal road in the other direction.  As we drove the car into a gas station, Antoine flung his hand over my eyes 
"Don't look!  Don't look!".  
"What? What is it?"  Of course i wanted to know what was going on.  Antoine seemed uncharacteristically disturbed.
"There's a dead bear in the back of that truck."
The man had propped the bear's head on the back of his pick-up.  i stared at it:  so small, so young, so...not alive.  i had no idea that they hunted bears here.  i started to cry when Antoine was paying for the gas.  The young driver came back into his pickup, i wanted to go knock on his window & show him my tears.  i wanted to ask him 'why?' - not in an angry, accusational way...just so he saw another side to his actions. 

Antoine returned & we drove off in silence. 
Stupid white man, that's what i think when i see this.  An Amerindian [from the indigenous Mic-Mac tribe] told me that you have to be reaaaaally hungry to hunt a bear.  This guy has a massive truck.  He's not hungry."  Antoine reasoned.

i see many customs which are very different to my personal beliefs when i travel.  Seeing this small bear's head was one of those moments.  i considered the possibility that it had been hit accidentally on the road, but Antoine was relatively certain that the tag it had in its ear meant that it had been hunted.  The most upsetting thing was how small it was & how the head had been placed  there to show it off.

Okay, deep breath.  i'm so happy that i got to see one in the wild before this...

Jacuzzi at Sea Shack on the Saint Laurent
 We continued on our journey & the photo booth was a great success.  It was at a corporate wind power event.  The bonus was that they paid our accommodation for a night.  We chose to stay in a wooden cabin at the famous 'Sea Shack' in Saint-Anne-Des-Monts.  

Having been attentively watching the coast for several hours, i dreamed that night of seeing so many whales, jumping & turning & slapping their tales.  In the morning we shook & vibrated in a bubbly jacuzzi overlooking the water.  

As we were packing up to leave, we saw Dodo Rouge.  Antoine hypothesized that the rascal squirrel had been holding onto the underside of our car for the entire journey.  However, we then remembered the hole in the back of the trunk & figured he'd probably just climbed through there & had been happily nestled in our clothes for the duration - he's not one to rough it.
Poutine on the beach

We decided to take a different road home:  passing through a national park & traversing the hills of Gaspésie.  When we arrived at the park, already 1.30pm we considered climbing Mount Albert, an 800m/2,600ft steep ascent.  i was once again wearing tai chi shoes/plimsoles & wearing a summer dress.  We looked through the Safety Tips as we started the walk & realised we met just 2 of out of about 15 of them (we weren't walking alone & we had drinking water).  There was no way that we were going to the top, not when we had a further 200km on a dirt track to drive to the yurt.

The walk through the cool hill was fantastic.  i took off my shoes & enjoyed walking barefoot over the smooth rocks.  After about 45 mins we crossed a stream & settled there.  Antoine lay on the small wooden bridge & announced it was siesta time, whilst i sat on a rock & dangled my feet in the fast, cold water.  
i took a was so beautiful!

The snake was small & surprising.  The redness of its tongue contrasted to the brown of it's body.  It was about 1 metre away. i called to Antoine (who was not easy to wake up!).  We sat and watched it come & drink, then disappear back into the forest.  i walked more delicately on the path after that.  Deciding the snake had been the highlight, we returned to the car & long, dusty drive home.

Spot the Dodo, coming out of his home
Yurt Sauna & Dodlets
The yurt has become a sauna this past week.  It's making it slightly easy to realise that i will be leaving so soon.  Only slightly easier though.  Because if i were to stay for the summer, i would figure out how to take the central roof off, while protecting ourselves from the gigantic mosquitos & occasional rains.  In 2 weeks i will be going to Montréal, then on to London & Scotland.  i am still figuring out how to spend the summer in Europe...anyone know of a nice yurt?

Dandelions are now higher than my knees.
Sitting outside yesterday, dodging mosquitos Dodo Rouge appeared.  We had a lovely chat, although it was one-sided because he had a gigantic piece of toast in his mouth.  Later that day, my sushi making was disturbed by Dodo Rouge calling from outside.  On the ground, i saw Dodo Rouge but with 2 heads...and 2 tails...and....oh my!  Dodo Rouge had a mate & was making Dodlets!


And as if all that wasn't enough, i also drank the coffee Antoine forgot at home one day & in a single day, did what it would've taken me a week to do otherwise: created a facebook page for the crystal necklaces i make.  If you haven't already done so, please visit the page & 'like' it  i imagine you'll be able to see the pictures even if you don't have facebook (Grandma!).


Friday, June 7, 2013

The Road Less Traveled (aka Trans-Québec Trail 5)

Yeti watches as i 'give' a Reiki blessing to the car.
i mentioned at the end of my last post, that our neighbour had given us a car.  When i got in i kept telling Antoine that it felt like a 'big person's car' or 'adult car'.  This is in contrast to the one he'd been driving throughout winter.  "Success" (named after the tarot card i drew when asking her name) served faithfully throughout the snows.  The ignition was started with a screwdriver and well, i know there were many things wrong with her but i can't tell you what they were, because as far as i was concerned she worked perfectly.  It was a bonus, you see, being able to hear Antoine a couple of minutes before the car arrived at this Canadian yurt.
Well, Success is now in car heaven (most likely cha-cha-chaing with your car Lady Miss Emma) and we have a new car, Yeti.  Yeti was not named after a tarot card.  Yeti was named after her maiden voyage.  As we prepared to take her out for her first Antoine&JenniferAdventure(c) i grabbed the essentials, sage with which to bless & energetically clean the car, a feather to put somewhere inside & a small yeti doll, i bought in Nepal.  Blessings & Reiki complete, we set off just to 'drive around the block' the yeti swinging happily from the rear view mirror.

How the road looked as we started.
The thing with Canada is, turns out that 'just around the block' can actually be rather far.  We took the first right and then could go right again to continue along the housed street (one house per 400m) or we could take "the road we've never been down before".  Well, duh!!!

i was reasonably sure i'd seen on Google Maps that this road rejoined the highway at Seal Cove, about a 10 min drive away. wasn't *that* road.  We bumped our way along, Antoine marveling at something called 'suspension' which i never notice a deficiency of after the thousands of kilometres travelled on Asian buses+roads.  But apparently the new car had it & it was good.

Apparently this 'suspension' was getting more and more useful, the more and more bumpy, rocky, muddy & pot-holey the track (no longer 'road') became.  After about 3km the trail was covered by one of those ominous bodies of water: impossible to guess the depth. Hmmm.  Antoine went to investigate with a stick.
The Brown Sea - as we approached.

"Hmmm" was his conclusion.  Followed by a rather optimistic "i think we can make it."

"50/50" i decided.

One of those 50s, could mean our car was stuck, submerged in deep mud, with Antoine and/or i standing calf deep in thick, watery mud, trying to push out the car whilst being sprayed with aforementioned mud.  Pre-empting this, i graciously announced,

"If we get stuck, i'm not pushing.  i'll drive & you push."  

We sat there, staring at the potential brown swimming pool before us.

"Let's do it."  announced Antoine.

"Alright."  i agreed, with a stomach flip.  We high-fived - the North American way of sealing an agreement.

i should point out that our new car is a car...not a 4WD, just a silver nissan, which our French teacher friend had most likely never taken off-road before.  Fortunately, she liked it.  We sped through the gargantuan mud-pool, spraying water higher than the car: feeling like Moses possibly did (except we were parting the brown sea).  Almost out of the pool, the wheels started spinning (arrrghhh) but regained their grip & we reached the other shore.

Jubilation!  Exhilaration!  We laughed and i congratulated & admired Antoine's can-do attitude.

Celebrating not getting wet or muddy.  Photo-bombed by Yeti.
5 mins later we reached another brown sea.  It was smaller.  However, by this point, we'd been on the road for quite a while & weren't so sure where the road was going & had to consider the possibility of the road not actually going anywhere & having to return via the same obstacle course.

Antoine accelerated.  We made it through again but the trail worsened.  We saw signs that it we were on the Trans-Québec #5 - a skidoo trail crossing the whole of Gaspésie.  We reckoned it was probably headed to Percé about 40km from This Canadian Yurt -  although *surely* there would be a turn off to the main road sooner???  Occasionally we'd pass a small cabin in the woods & think that we must meet the highway soon - but we wouldn't.  

"Are you having fun?"  i asked Antoine.

"Hmmm, i don't want to wreck the car."  We should've stopped then.  But instead, we descended an especially steep, rocky segment of trail.  We were now in the 'constantly just wanting to see what's round the next corner' phase. 

After about 40 minutes of driving, we stopped the car & continued on foot. i'd specifically checked before we left the yurt, that we were "only going for a drive not a walk", so i didn't change out of the
short black cotton dress (it's summer now!) and cotton tai-chi shoes, like the soft plimsolls we wore in playgroup/kindergarten. 

We walked another 30 minutes.  Antoine giving me a kiddy-back across the muddier sections (he, i noticed, was wearing hiking boots - which he had in the car).  We arrived at a broken piece of trail.  Broken in so much as it was like a giant step, with bolders & water running through it.

"We can't cross this" stated Antoine.  i became the optimistic one, pointing out where the car wheels could go, how we could move other bolders, stones & logs & make a ramp.  Once again, having spent so many hours on Asian mountain roads, i've learned a thing or two about what's possible on roads (everything!).  Antoine explained that those Nepali buses are much higher than our car & that our engine would just crash straight into the stepped road.  

Oh well!  We walked back to the car.  i was musing about how it's like that sometimes in life.  It seemed like there was some bigger philosophical point Life was possibly making, but honestly my mind was focusing on the brown seas we were going to have to re-cross.  i couldn't remember hearing that Moses had parted his sea twice.

Whilst i was focused on the potential mud-fest, Antoine was focused on the oh-so-steep, rocky hill.  We climbed the steep hill on foot, removing the larger stones from the centre of the path, so the engine wouldn't be shredded on the ascent.  

i stood at the top of the trail, as Antoine started the car.  It stalled about a third of the way up.  As he restarted the engine, the wheels spun & the car began to sink down into the soft ground.  He let the car roll back down the hill, hoping to gather more momentum for the incline.  His second attempt saw the car bump & groan & scrape its way up two-thirds of the trail.  Antoine (rather expertly, i'd say) directed the car into a patch of road which had less mud than the others. 

Now it was time to push.  Pushing cars is a part of life in Canada.  You push them through snow, when they're broken down, when the battery's died...when there's on a monstrous hill in the middle of nowhere.  Like chopping wood, it's not a Canadian tradition that i'm so into (maple syrup on the other hand...).  

i realized that if we couldn't get the car up the hill, we were going to have to walk back to the yurt (which would take at least 4 hours & it was already about 4pm).  This motivated me to push reeeeaaaally hard!  

We stalled on the first try & succeeded on the second!  Yeeha.  More high-fives (or 'eiffel towers', as we call them - if anyone's seen The IT Crowd?) what a team building exercise this afternoon was turning out to be.

This has gotten to be a much longer story than i'd expected, so i'm just going to whiz us straight back through those brown seas (we counted them down as the muddy waves arced behind the car - there was quite a bit of nerves around the last & biggest one, as we'd really had enough adventure for one day thankyouverymuch).

We noticed another turning in the road, one which we'd previously thought lead to a cabin.  We left the car & walked down to what was a massive wooden bridge.  This was most likely the trail i'd seen on Google Maps.  The massive wooden bridge looked rickety but like we may be able to cross it, thereby avoiding the final brown sea.  Antoine wasn't up for it.  Instead he bathed (read: did push ups) in the cold river running beneath.  We headed up towards the car & found the remains of a moose.  Nature had really gone to work on that one.  There were 2 white jaws left, complete with teeth & 2 small random bones & A LOT of hair spread out over a large area.  i collected the bones for a dream-catcher (moose is a powerful symbol of ancient feminine wisdom dontchaknow) & Antoine obliged at playing moose-dentist and removed one of the teeth (which will be a part of your creative-pay-it-forward, Sandy!).
How the yurt's looking without snow.

On our way back, i looked at the swinging yeti & announced to Antoine that i knew the name of our new car.  
We were so happy to hit tarmac that we went into town.  There was some reason for it, although all i can remember now is the poutine (chips, cheese & gravy - although just chips for veggie-me) with which we celebrated.

Thanks for getting through this story.  Especially with a lack of pictures.  I videoed Yeti passing through the initial brown sea, then the camera battery died, leaving this journey photo-less (except for a few screengrabs you see here).  Although writing this all out has been wonderful as the journey it's now more clearly etched in my mind.

Other Yurt Goings-on..
Dodo Rouge
As i was finishing writing up this story, sitting outside the yurt in the sunshine, i heard a squeak-barking close behind me.  i can't be sure, but i'm relatively certain our renegade squirrel was trying to say hi to you.
The view from the yurt.
Clearing the Appellation Trail
The day after our rally ride, Antoine took me to join a group "Clearing the Appellation Trail" (he enticed me to come, believing it was one of my favourite jobs - picking up trash in nature.  When it was actually one of my least favourite jobs - being involved in cutting down pieces of living nature).  Although i appeased myself by remembering that because this trail exists many people spend countless hours in nature.  i thanked the tree of each branch removed.
 Our vintage photobooth.

Last night we set up a vintage themed photobooth for an event of the local music festival Bout Du Monde (the festival itself happens in August).  It was really great fun & i met one of the organisers who'd taken a group of 16 year old Québec kids on their first non-Canada outing to Varanasi, India.  i guess if you can organise that, you can organise anything!

This blog is dedicated to Emma Williamson, for being such a belter & so vulnerable, honest & funny in her radio show - good luck for doing the breakfast show on Heartland FM next week! 

It's also dedicated to Martin Champ Roux, who was Success' personal mechanic & who Antoine said would have also gone straight through every single muddy lake too! 

Grass replaces snow at this time of year.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Wild Life

A couple of mornings ago i was awoken to what sounded like Dodo Rouge tap-dancing on the yurt.  Somehow the squirrel had managed to locate the precise position above where our sleepy heads where & commenced his routine.  It sounded like he was also gnawing his way through the rope he'd climbed up (perhaps he wanted to free fall or bungee back down?).  We called out "Dodo Rouge, it's too early for breakfast...let us sleep".  But he continued, until Antoine gently punched repeatedly at the soft, insulated roof.  It probably felt like a minor earthquake in the squirrel's world and he vacated the premises.

Side note ~ On the subject of earthquakes, one friend suggested that a tiny earthquake may have caused our water container to jump off its shelf in the middle of the night last week.  (More plausible that most of your suggestions, Peter! ~see that post's comments)

Park Forillon
En route to the end of the world...
We've done lots of fantastic stuff this week, to celebrate Antoine's short holiday before he starts working on Monday.

An excursion with the local walking group to Park Forillon (where Antoine will be working). The weather was thoroughly Scottish (i.e. rain) but we had the right clothes.  We saw lots of wildlife...a small army (dispersed throughout the trail) of Porcupines ("Porkypigs"/porc-épic en français!), who kind of shuffle around slowly.  In response to photographs they often throw up their quills, reminiscent of a punky peacock. 
Porcupine - new playmate for Dodo Rouge?
There was also lots of evidence of moose (the Grandma friendly way of saying Moose Ca-ca).  We also saw bear caca.  Lots and lots of bear caca.  Old bear caca.  Medium old bear caca.  And fresh bear caca.  Then we saw a bear.  To be honest i didn't want to see a bear.  i wanted to see whales (we were walking along the coast where there are whales).  However, not to be ungrateful to nature for its gifts, because it was pretty wild to see a bear.  Especially because it was at a safe distance & just chowing down on some foliage.  He looked up at us, but didn't seem to care about our presence.  After about 5 minutes we moved on.
This bear is larger than he looks in the pic
Even dogs are happy at the end of the world!
Edible seaweed!
We arrived at 'the end of the world' around 3pm, with suitably apocalyptic weather.  Indulge me in playing tour guide for a moment...Gaspé (where This Canadian Yurt is situated) takes its name from Cespeg which means 'Land's end' in the traditional language of the indigenous Mi'kmaq people.  The cliffs where we were standing were the end (or the beginning) of the Appalachian Mountains before they dive under water & resurface in New Foundland...or so wikipedia tells me.  In the other direction they apparently stretch all the way down to Georgia.

On the walk back i was talking about my first Reiki initiation, when i saw my first whale!  It silently surfaced, curved & slipped, diving beneath the water.  A dream discovered.

~~~The photos from Parc Forilion were taken by Christine Aspiros (thank you!)~~~

Whale Watching

The beach
We returned to a beach in this national park with the intention of seeing more whales.  We brought coffee in thermos, baklava & a picnic.  There was a lot of waiting, which was wonderful - the warm sun, lapping easy sea.  We watched as Northern Gannet birds dive bombed the water:  each splash drawing my eyes & heart, which lept wondering if it was a whale blowing water! 
Part of Antoine's whale dance
In order to encourage the whales to make an appearance, we did whale dances.  This didn't work.  i tried chanting as though at an american football, ice hockey or shinty match but apparently these whales weren't sports fans. i also used EFT/Tapping (to get over my expectations & desire to see a whale), but Antoine suggested perhaps the whales were also beneath the water tapping on their fear of seeing us.

Whale watching
After 3 hours when we spotted a whale, i whooped for lack of better expression.  It may've
been the playing of my kalimba (African Harp/Piano) which finally enticed the whale to surface & breathe.  It wasn't quite like seeing the killer whale Shamu at SeaWorld when i was 8, but the feeling of awe was similar.

Bubbles at Mount Pudding Stone
Mount Pudding Stone
Yesterday we walked up Mount Pudding Stone (400m apx!).  Incredibly beautiful views from the top.  i'm so in love with the nature here.  i got to drive down the bumpy, dirt tracks, dodging stones & ditches - rally style except at 15km an hour!

This Canadian Yurt Neighbours
We went to visit a neighbour.  His wife's just opened up a Vet practice & Antoine wanted to give her some photos for her practice.  The neighbour gave us some honey from his bees and a car.  We baked him some bread, but it still feels like the balance is slightly off.  It's going to be wonderful to have a 'new' car.  The one we've been driving, we start with a screwdriver & its sounding more like a jet engine each day.  i can hear Antoine about a kilometre before he arrives.