I feel like a grown-up, guys. I accompanied T to Halifax for three days. He was invited to a conference about software for tidal modeling – something he's been working on under government contract – and I was allowed to tag along. The government put us up in the Marriott hotel, and – for the first time in my life – we had a hotel room to ourselves. Oh, but first, I got the new tights I ordered from Sockdreams:
On check-in at the hotel, the receptionist was going over the room - “Three nights, government rate, king-sized bed, -” “SWEET!” I exclaimed. The receptionist stopped in his tracks, stared at me, then grinned. That bed was amazing, let me tell you.
Our room was lovely. It was fancy. This wasn't the funky-carpeted, floral-bedsheeted, pictures-of-kittens-and-sunsets-on-the-wall kind of hotel I have become accustomed to.
This room had a single red wall. This room had marble bathroom counters. This room had feather pillows. This room had a fancy, red glass lamp. This room had a frosted glass door for the bathroom. This room had five dollar water.
It also had a lovely view. Absolutely stunning...
So I got to hang out in the hotel while T was off learning things. I slept in 'til noon and did a bit of shopping and hung out in the lobby, streaming yogscast videos over the free wifi. Then we ended up going out to the fanciest restaurant I have ever stepped foot in. It had white table cloths! [How do they keep them clean?] The bread basket had raisin bread in it, instead of stale whole-wheat bread. The waiters were like ghosts – and like ghosts they scared the shit out of me several times. I'd sense a vague, white presence over my shoulder and suddenly my water glass would be full again. They were very polite, poised ghosts.
The second day I slept in 'til noon again, and woke up to curly, unruly hair that I was too lazy to tame. [I also tried on my new dress].
It was warmer on the second day, so I actually ventured outside. This sleek, blue-glassed, modern skyscraper loomed among dull cemented towers and squat brick buildings in the historic downtown. I tried to take a good picture of the hilariously out-of-place “1801” building...
I then sought a tour of the Alexander Keith's brewery, but they only do them on weekends. As a meager replacement, I got a photograph of the absolutely strange architectural approach of the brewery area, which seemed to be “take this block of buildings and alleys and glue a roof over them. Then fill it with cement and flags. It's historic.”
Oh, and here's a window display with a nice pile of dirt.
I was heading back to the hotel when a young guy wanted to chat about Doctors without Borders. He was hilariously awkward, stumbling over his words in excitement, talking about unicorns and fairies [he was thrilled when I said, “So you're like fairies or elves? You sweep in, build hospitals, and then disappear again?”]. We talked for like half an hour and then I signed up for monthly donations. C'mon, it's a good charity! They're not like World Vision with the commercials of children covered in flies. And they work with Engineers without Borders! How cool is that? Oh well.
That night for dinner we went to a place called the Mongolie Grill. The waitress gives you a bowl, and then you go fill it with raw vegetables, meat and/or seafood, noodles and sauces. They weigh your bowl of nummies, then toss it on the grill for you. Customized stir fry! The meal is served with soup, rice and tissue-thin wraps, and you pay based on the weight of your food. I even tried my hand [har har] at using chopsticks [for the second time in my life]. Self-fueling was a success.
Then we went to the casino. I'd never been in a casino before. It was... intimidating. Large rooms, filled with rows and rows of slot machines, all bright, flashing and kicking up a hell of a racket. A few tables in the middle for blackjack and roulette, and a poker room off to the side. Cameras and casino employees everywhere, constantly watching. I played a penny machine, called something like “Mystic Unicorns” and lost my $5 pretty much instantly. T's dad put in $7 in the unicorn machine and won $75, which he then put into a Wheel of Fortune machine and won $360. I have yet to figure out where he keeps his horseshoes and rabbit feet, but I suspect it to be an orifice of some sort.
So that was my, erm, exciting adventure to Halifax.