Patrick Quinn-Graham

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444 Days Later

07 Jul 2007

I left New Zealand to go on a grand adventure 444 days ago today. In that time I’ve lived in Canada, and the UK, and visited the US, Greece, and France. I think it’s going reasonably well so far, which is probably a good thing as I couldn’t afford to go home just now.

I can’t help but draw comparisons between London and Vancouver. In a way I feel bad about saying “back in…” all the time, but without that it feels almost like those times never happened. The single biggest difference is the threat of terror - it is very much more real here. You notice the impact by things such as the absence of rubbish bins on train stations, especially the bigger ones like Vauxhall and Clapham Junction, which sounds strangely like some kind of horrible STD. Yet people don’t let it control there lives. The terror that is, not the train stations. This lack of paranoia is true, at least, of the people I know.

It’s taken me longer to find a place to live here. In Vancouver I found somewhere to live in less than a week. The best explanation I can find for this is the difference in temporary accomodation (a hostel vs. family), but perhaps it is that Craigs List works so well when you immediately get a handle on a city, as I did in Vancouver, and much less so when you really have no idea where you are. I suspect that working in downtown Vancouver meant wherever I was likely to live was probably going to have good transport. Working in Windsor, although quite scenic, limits the choice of public transport. Clearly the Queen does not commute every day on a train. That, combined with a desire to never have to leave home on a work day at 7am again, leads to limits on where you can want to live.

Fortunately I’ve found somewhere. Whitton. I’ve lived here a week now, but really haven’t spent any time exploring, mostly because it’s hard to get out of the mindset that you really have to get home because otherwise it’ll be bed time. That and the day after you move you are always exhausted. Well I am. Especially if you end up moving at 8 o’clock at night. Physically so tired you can fall asleep at 6pm. So tired you willingly eat a microwave meal without salad or anything to make it interesting. It also takes time to attach yourself to a place enough to think “well, it’s kind of worth finding where my nearest drinking establishment is.” (Conveniently there is a bottle shop on the corner, should I ever take up a serious interest in wine drinking.)

As an example of just how little I know of the area: there is another shop, on the corner opposite the bottle shop. I’d like to tell you I know what this shop sells, or even its name, but I’m afraid I’d have trouble even telling you what colour the wall is with any conviction. I suspect that it would be safest just to say that I’m fairly sure it is not pink.

 

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