Sunday, 9 October 2011

Road Rage

I would say on an average day in Hamilton I spend around 45 minutes waiting for the bus. The HSR, or Hamilton Street Railway is pretty much the bane of my existence. I rant about it every other day. You would think that trying to figure out the public transportation in another country would be very near impossible. I have found the exact opposite to be true.

The underground in England, the Metro in Paris, even just normal buses in Scotland or Belgium. For some reason it seems almost too easy to get from point A to point B in other countries. In Edinburgh if a bus is going to be late it comes up on an electronic sign that it is delayed. If a bus in Hamilton is going to be late you just stand there like an idiot waiting. The HSR has made me late for so many things and I always give myself a good amount of time. None of the buses connect and I have been passed by on more than one occasion. My sister and I even wrote a song about how bad the HSR is while waiting for the bus one day. I would share the lyrics with you but there is too much profanity.

I get more upset at the lack of reasonable public transportation in Hamilton everyday. Last night for example. I went out with friends and ended up having to pay almost $20 to take a cab home because the buses stop running around 1a.m. while other places I have been usually have a late running bus. In Brussels there was one last bus when the bars closed and it was the same in Paris, although we never found the stop for it and ended up taking a cab. Either way it gets very frustrating. In New York the price for a cab is ridiculously cheap. I took a cab from Madison Avenue to Canal Street in China town for around $10 US. That is almost a 15 minute ride and that's with no traffic, which let's face it in New York is rare. Here it costs $3.50 just to get in a cab. It's infuriating.

I do not drive. I am realizing I will have to get my license eventually but I really just don't like driving. I am a nervous, panicky driver and the streets are probably safer with me off of them. If the public transportation was more reliable and cost less I would never complain about it. I wish Hamilton had a subway line, or a better bus schedule. The debate about LRT is ongoing and it will probably be years before we see that implemented. Until then I guess I will just continue to wait for the bus and sing my incredibly profane song about the HSR.

A very overcrowded HSR bus.

My friend Amanda reading the metro map in Paris, France. (Easier in french than one might think)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Revenge of the swans

Once upon a blustery day in Brussels, Belgium my friend and I were wandering around a museum. It was The Royal Museum for Central Africa. It wasn't open and we were sad to not have seen the inside. The outside of the museum was a beautiful, big, castle-like mansion. The grounds were vast and beautiful. It looked like a mini Versailles. We walked around out in the rain for hours just soaking in the paths, the trees, the ponds. We didn't even care that it was raining. The beauty of this place overshadowed the dingy weather.

As we were walking we came to a little man made lake. There was all kinds of wildlife hanging around. Birds, ducks and swans. There was like 30 swans. They saw us. They didn't like us. They chased us. They were honking and flapping at us to get out of their territory. We ran! Luckily they quickly ceased chase. They had seen someone else to attack. A little girl and her grandfather with a loaf of bread. The bread made them safe from harm. I filmed the swans in pursuit. Their little tails waddling away. As I stood there watching these regal birds moseying around the grounds of this palatial museum I couldn't help but think that in my home town of Hamilton the closest thing to this would be Dundurn Castle. The comparison made me sad.

In Europe every other building you pass is old and lovely and has a ton of history but in Hamilton one of the oldest buildings only dates back to 1835. Don't get me wrong Dundurn Castle is a very interesting old building, but I would hardly call it a castle. Hamilton can be a great place to live but it is not rich in history.

 Sometimes I wonder why I stay in Hamilton. Actually I wonder that a lot. I wonder how Hamilton can be so terrible and so lacking in culture. I don't miss Hamilton when I'm not here. I miss family, friends, that kind of thing but I do not miss my city. It's very hard to even think about returning to the hammer when seeing that just the outside grounds of this museum in Belgium far surpassed even the nicest museum in all of Hamilton.

The Royal Museum for Central Africa- Brussels, Belgium

Dundurn Castle- Hamilton, Ontario