The one thing I can say Halifax has given us, is some great friends. Colleen, Linnaea and Genevieve are quite possibly the loveliest girls we have ever met. They are just amazing…
During the conference we quickly became the best of friends. A week of friendship felt like a lifetime. Life stories shared over almost every meal and every drink, brought us closer and each of us brought something unique to the group. The fact we are all of similar age also contributed, but each of us was very different and similar at the same time. Colleen the “shambliest” team-leader, Linnaea the “shambliest” sensible one, and Gen the perfect little sister.
The girls also stayed in Halifax a few more nights after the conference. We joined them at Gen’s parents condo on Friday night for tea, smoothies and conversation around the fire-place channel. Very civilised after Thursday night’s escapades.
The girls wanted to show us a real experience of the east coast of Canada. Nova Scotia is known as a maritime region and features some amazing seafood, scenery and history. Saturday morning we visited the Halifax farmers markets – indoors of course, outside was around -10C. We spent hours meandering around the stalls, sampling food, drinking coffee and laughing. Gen and Linnaea buzzed around and bought produce for Saturday nights dinner while Colleen, Teeny and I made friends with another Arctic researcher, Rod.
After the markets we headed towards the beach. The drive only took 15 or 20 minutes but took us out of town and away from the suburbs. It was great to see the open ocean again, the suns rays of light betrayed its promises of warmth. We stepped foot onto the rocky beach and I would guess the temperature, plus wind chill, would have been more than -20C.
I never thought I would ever see the beach with snow on it, nor be at the beach with so many clothes on. I also did not expect to see a bloke checking out the waves before an afternoon surf. What a hard-ass. “There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”
- Bill Bowerman
I dipped my finger in the Atlantic Ocean, then ran to the car. We stopped further up the road on a high point overlooking the beach and popped into a lovely old building. At this point, the finger I had chose to dip into the ocean now throbbed with pain. Definitely learnt a lesson there.
The building was quite old, I would guess it to be from around the 1940s or 50s, judging by all the historic memorabilia around the place. It was four or five floors high, with a day-care, cafe, day spa and a few shops inside its myriad of rooms. A cackle (group) of elderly women ran the place and greeted us warmly. We enjoyed their welcoming and accepted their offer of lunch. Somehow our team always attracted the most interested and strangest servers at cafes and restaurants, but they were always amazing people.
We headed back to the condo that afternoon, with Gen dropping us off at the Dartmouth ferry. She would go for a run on the other side (Halifax) of the harbour and leave us the car, then catch up with her at her condo. We caught the ferry purely based on Colleen’s youthful exuberance. The ferry ride is mentioned in a song and she insisted on the ride. Why not? We listened to the song and sang along as we rode the lumbering vessel across the harbour to the city.
Once at Gen’s condo, Linnaea and Gen got right into cooking our last meal. Mussels, lobster and squash pasta and a flowery lobster salad. The girls did an amazing job and together, we devoured 6lbs of mussels. Gen, the champion athlete, consumed most.
After dinner we chatted and joked, then were presented with a care-package of Canadian goodies. Maple butter, maple sugar, maple and bacon flavoured chips, mango-maple tea, and pickled-zucchini relish as well as toothpicks…
We said our goodbyes after dinner and the girls dropped us off at our hotel. It was sad to say farewell, but this is actually only a “see you later” kind of thing. Colleen and Linnaea will hopefully come to the Sunshine Coast at the end of next year to do some research. We are hoping Gen may come too. Team Shambles will then embark on an Australian adventure and we can make fun of them dying in the heat, instead of them hearing us complain in the cold.
The next day we flew out of Halifax at 4:30am, after three hours of sleep. It would take us four flights and 17 hours to get to our next destination – Vancouver.