Pirates, Hippie Lobsters and Other Brigands

Susana made an attempt to teach me some Spanish Monday night and in the days since. I’m afraid my latent French is creeping out into the light and complicating things (as is my general ineptness, but one does need a scapegoat, right?). I was amused that the equvalent of “bless you” sounds a lot like the French greeting, “salut.” I have three pages of some basics and such vital sentences as, “Me llamo Apollo,” and “Me gustan tus pies.” I’ll try to instill this in my brain and perhaps take my friend Mandy up on her offer of help in learning the language (Oh, and check out the awesome portrait my I’ve-known-her-since-high-school friend April made of Mandy!).

Wednesday afternoon Susana and I went downtown and spent far too long wandering around trying to find a decent place to eat. I’d forgotten about the Nova Scotia International Tattoo taking place this week and the resulting crowds at most places, so I accept all blame. After my futile attempts to decide on a place we finally stopped at a not-so-classy location to eat. I enjoyed the food a lot, but the coin-cluttered fountain was the only bit of decore that had any air of sophistication.
Later, on the waterfront, we took some photos, including one of Susana beside the craziest lobster statue you’ll ever see. It’s a hippie, with Hendrix and two other artists we couldn’t name painted on it. Halifax is littered with such strange new statues, but this one is certainly the most amusing for me. Among other strange sights were a pirate flag boasting ship, the infamous Halifax tongue-wave, streetlamps (oh, how much am I in love with street lamps?) and… myself (especially myself?).
Brace yourselves for this next bit, my friends. This virtual holy man did something you’d likely not expect (assuming you know of my casual renunciation of the past year). After a bit of shopping we sat outside a bar and both had Guinness. I was surprised to find I enjoyed the taste; I’m generally not a fan of beers’ flavours. We sat for a while talking and Susana told me some more about Mexico and her life there and in Spain. I’m truly facinated by stories of all sorts, but I especially enjoyed hearing all she told me.
That was not all of the consumption that night. A walk home and a pair of ice caps later, we were back at my humble abode, licking salt, squeezing slices of lime and drinking tequila. I’d never tried it before Susana’s visit, but I enjoyed drinking it. Before that night I can’t say I was ever drunk, but I do believe the tequila walked me across that line. I had a very fine time Wednesday; I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed time in my living room quite that much.

Thursday we again went downtown, this time earlier so that we could visit some shops we were unable to the day before. Since before Susana arrived here I’d wanted to get her an amethyst necklace, in part because the stone can be found in my favourite part of Nova Scotia, so one of our first stops was at Little Mysteries. There I picked out a stone for her that she has been wearing since. I really wanted to give her something in return for the lovely amber necklace she gave me.
Soon we were at my favourite store in all of Halifax, Strange Adventures. I could spend hours upon hours there choosing books I would love to read, but in the short while we were in the shop we managed to buy a modest selection. Susana found a marvelous green plush Cthulhu for her sister and the graphic novel Avigon while I indulged with the delightful new volume of Tezuka’s Buddha (I’m looking forward to the final volumes to be released later this year), the first issue of the adaptation of Neil Gaiman‘s Neverwhere and my two favourite issues of Demo (“Mixtape” and “Mon Dernier Jour Avec Toi”).
We later went to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, where we looked around in the short while before it closed. I found the exhibit about the Halifax Explosion to be very moving; it was such a terrible tragedy and shaped who we are as a people so greatly that it’s a shame we don’t explore it more. With thoughts of the London bombings of this week in mind, I find it gives hope to know that both Halifax and those from outside it were strengthened by enduring hardship and acting with kindness in response to tragedy. I can only hope we will all turn to compassion rather than anger as the conflicts across the globe intensify.

Later that night Susana received a message that left her quite upset. I often find it difficult to know the best approach to offering support to people dear to me when they are hurting in that way. My first instinct is to be near to offer comfort, but I know that offering solitude is often far more helpful, and was so in this case. I surely erred and didn’t respond as best I could, though my intent was true. Above all else I wish for her happiness and peace.

Tomorrow I’ll write about books and my last night here at my dear old hotel. For now, bonne nuit, mes amis.

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