Sunday, June 6, 2010

Halifax was...

...a destination for six women from Cape Breton, ever since February when they planned and bought their tickets to the concert. Two of these women are childless, but the other four are married with small kids, so the imagined respite was helpful during those long winter months.

...the place we were headed last Friday, in a new minivan with comfortable seats. Fortified with food from the Herring Choker deli - and if you are passing through the area on the Trans Canada, really, you must stop there, and I'm not just saying that because one of my best friends runs it, the food is really, really frigging good - we started laughing at ourselves almost immediately, at how eager we were to get away, at how long it had been since we'd been to the "big city". In fact, my stomach and cheek muscles were hurting only a half hour into the trip, from all the laughing. It's a good ache.

...welcoming as we drove over the bridge, having come up with enough quarters between us to make the toll. Beautiful in a late-May day, trees greening up. Fancy and sophisticated at the Lord Nelson hotel, where all the beautiful women in slim-fitting dresses and high heels with matching, rolling luggage made us feel a little bit like we were in a Lesley Crewe novel. (Since we were six loud, giggly women of various shapes and sizes in pajama pants, flip flops, carrying our luggage in an assortment of backpacks and beach bags.)

...our place to get away and be somewhere where we didn't know everyone walking down the street. Our place to look at all the people dressed so differently, different cultures and fancies and pursuits. So many different stories and lives just passing us on the sidewalk, stories and lives we'll never know.

...filled with music and love at the Metro Center. Royal Wood opened for David Gray and we sang our hearts out when he got us to sing along with him to "Ladies in White". A stranger sitting next to me (who later lent us her binoculars) told me, "You have a beautiful voice! You should be singing back-up for him!" Later David Gray took the stage and won our hearts over, all over again. His music is good on CD, yes, but live takes it to a whole new level. A few of us cried, a few of us got up and danced in the aisle, at least until the security guard told us we couldn't.

...sunny and amazing on Saturday morning. A charmed day - we ate breakfast at Cora's. Fruit and crepes and eggs and bacon and smoothies oh my!! Then went looking for Woozles, where we bought kids' books in French, toys and goodies for the little ones in our lives. Next door to this little independent bookstore was another indie gem - Love, Me Boutique. I pretty much fell in love the second I walked in the door. Scarves, pillows, art, glasses, jewelry, tee shirts, hats, felted birds, and tonnes more. Each of us picked out something and lined up at the counter, our little bit of indie, hand-made joy to take back to Cape Breton with us.

...a place to fill my sushi cravings! There isn't much sushi in Cape Breton, in fact there isn't any unless you make it yourself. And I happen to ADORE sushi. So when I go to Halifax, once a year or so (at this point - I want to make it more often than that), it's all about the sushi. This time around I tried out a place called I Love Sushi, and another called Hamachi House. Tempura sweet potato, spicy tuna, and so many more. I need to learn how to make this myself! That or get jetpacks so I can go to Halifax more often.

...a different kind of music and love on Saturday night, when I left the Cape Breton gang, who went home, and stayed another night with a dear friend. We went to a small birthday party and ended up staying up all night, fueled by pink champagne and Viva Puffs. (OK, the champagne was all me. The others made sensible choices like beer or wine. Whatever!) There was singing to old-school classics like "The Weight" and Johnny Cash, and songs that are classic to our generation like "Me and Mr. Jones" and some Blind Melon tunes.

...soothing even to my hungover head on Sunday morning, when the weather turned to rain and a few of us turned to a pub called Henry House for Eggs Benedict. I haven't had this blessed dish in f-ing years, and perhaps the last time I had it was in Halifax in 2003, before I went to Australia. Seriously, seven years is far too long. It was creamy and delicious and salty with smoked salmon and just... yeah. My brain wasn't working too well by that point but then it was the same with my companions, so it didn't matter too much. We made the kind of talk you make when all you want is coffee and orange juice and so much eggs and hash browns (and maybe sleep in another hour or so).

...getting sunny again as I got on the bus and left. I was so tired but I still stayed awake and read The Coast and watched out the window. Coming back home across the Causeway made me breathe deeply, the kind where you don't even realize you weren't breathing deeply. Like things settle inside, settle more firmly. Home again.

...good enough to form memories that will last no doubt for years. And now we're back home, back into our routines. I almost feel like there should be a glass slipper, sparkling, that I can set on the shelf and check out every now and again on my way past.

When was your last get-away?

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