Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Touch down!

I have touched down in Beirut, Lebanon after about 15 hours of travelling (survived the 10-hour Montreal-Cairo flight). My drybag made it too without getting lost and I found Simon almost immediately after clearing customs.

We've settled into our hostel and had hot showers. It's about 25 degrees Celsius at 11:30 PM and we've got a nice Mediterranean breeze. Tomorrow we're looking forward to wandering south to see the museum and getting a feel for the city. Simon said when he landed earlier he thought he was looking at the French Riviera. I am excited to see Beirut by daylight.

But first.... zzzzzzzz....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Flight day!

Flight day is here. I don't leave from Trudeau until 9:45 PM so I've had the day to sleep and relax. My flu has improved a lot thanks to all the rest and garlicky, spicy Korean and Vietnamese food I've been eating.

As usual, I'm pretty nervous about the flight but I'm trying to keep my mind off of it by watching bad reality TV. It's going to be hard saying bye to Nat and Matt but it's a relatively short time away.

Wish me luck on my journey - I will post again in Beirut!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bye bye Dan

I made it to Montreal and to my sister's place in one piece last night for a few days of couch surfing. Nat and Matt have a really cute apartment in the Old Port neighbourhood. The cobblestones and narrow streets remind me of Paris.

I woke up at 9 AM this morning to see Dan off to New Brunswick for his training. Definitely a bit sad for me but I'm sure the next month will fly by until we meet up again in Istanbul.

Apart from that, I've been nursing my flu with lots of sleep. I got a memo from the Canadian embassy in Jordan today warning me that if Canadians with flu-like symptoms are quarantined at the border, the embassy has limited power to intervene. I still have a couple of days to sleep it off... and Natasha's been awesome at feeding me. I'm already starting to feel better :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Trip preparation task: pack... and relax!

It's a little late in the game (I'm heading off to Montreal with Dan in a few hours) but I finally have a packing list. Packing is definitely my least-favourite task and I tend to procrastinate, but when I woke up this morning with worsening flu symptoms and a laundry list of things to do, including volunteering for Impact Day, it really hit me that I need to get moving.

My proudest achievement during my last jaunt to Africa was packing 3 weeks worth of gear into that 25-L daypack that is typically reserved for hauling around my work laptop. Packing lightly is an art perfected over years of travelling and I want to be similarly lightweight on this trip.

This trip is just under 2 months, so it was pretty challenging to figure how little I could live with and how MacGyver-esque I could be with just a few items. This time I am taking a 36-L daypack and a 50-L drybag to accommodate some extras (like a small tent and sleeping bags for Turkey). The final pile of things is pictured at left (that bag of white powder is laundry detergent, FYI).

My rent cheques are signed, my plants have been moved to Nadya's home, my food's eaten... what's left? Crashing at my sister's place in Montreal and... relaxing :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Trip preparation task: shop!

While perusing the Expedition Shoppe, I discovered Icebreaker clothing. It's cute, comfortable, and most importantly it doesn't stink after you wear it for weeks on end - crucial for minimalist backpackers. Check it out...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trip preparation task: eat!

This past weekend I decided it was time to indulge my first pre-trip ritual: finding creative ways to use up all the food in my fridge. Living on my own again and having a boyfriend who is a willing guinea pig for my culinary experimentation has helped me to rediscover my love of cooking. My friend Shauna gave me a butternut squash from her uncle's garden so I decided to make a curried butternut squash soup. It was so easy and so delicious: all I had to do was roast it, simmer it in chicken stock and add the spices. I think I'll kick off each trip countdown with cooking while listening to Bon Iver. It's the perfect way to spend a chill Sunday afternoon :)