Published: September 27th 2009September 6th 2009
After the Dempster Highway trip, I spent a couple of nights partying in Dawson City. Then, with hangover in full effect, I hitched back to Whitehorse. This didn't go at all smoothly, and after two lifts I was still only about 20km south of Dawson City. To improve my chances, I created a sign with the materials I had available, namely a piece of A4 and a biro. Took me half an hour to complete, and I had to abbreviate since there wasn't enough space. It was only when I had finished, and proudly surveyed my handiwork, that I realised - from the point of view of a motorist speeding past - it might look like I was attempting to start an unlikely new career as a pimp. Needless to say, I abandoned the sign.
Whitehorse is the capital city of the Yukon. People tell me its a nice place. I was only there for a little while, and the only notable things I encountered were their love of murals, which decorated many of the buildings, and the internet cafe, which was full of teenagers and grown men playing online fantasy games, and shouting at each other.
Like that South
My plan was to go to a town called Nelson, way down in southern British Columbia, which people had said was worth a visit, and try and get on a farm somewhere in the area. Once in Whitehorse I decided against hitching all the way to Nelson - it would take me at least a week of expensive motels, and Keira (the WWOOFer who had been on the Dempster trip) was taking the Greyhound bus straight to Nelson for a fraction of the cost, so I joined her. The bus left Whitehorse at 2pm on Wednesday afternoon, and would arrive in Nelson on Friday evening. Well, it would have if it hadn't broken down in the early hours of Friday morning somewhere outside Edmonton.
This meant that we arrived in Calgary at 8.30am - two hours late - and so missed our connection. The next bus wasn't until 10.30pm, so we had to waste a day in Calgary. Having done the standard complaining bit and got a free breakfast, I decided that this was no bad thing after all, since I was pigsick of the bus - I had discovered that I do not sleep well
on buses, and being stuck in one position for hours on end meant I was in the early stages of deep vein thrombosis. Probably.
So we had a look round the Kensington area of Calgary, which was ok, and found an independent cinema that was showing two films, both of which we watched: Rocksteady
- a documentary about the precursor of reggae in Jamaica; and Seraphine
- a fairly depressing but arty film about a french artist who had an incredibly hard life, and then went mad. Enjoyed them both, then got the final bus to Nelson, arriving early Saturday morning. I even managed to get a bit of kip. But I hadn't showered or changed my clothes since Wednesday, and so plumbed new depths in personal hygiene, or lack thereof.
Nelson is a bit of a hippy/alternative town situated beside a large lake, with lots of white rastas and alternative types, new age crystal shops, herbal remedies, and organic everything. And the place is full of marijuana - even I could smell it just walking down the main street.
I stayed at the hostel in town, and spent my first day going for a hike out
to a secluded beach on the lake - very nice. That night I went to a local pub and saw the best Blues Jam/Open Mic session I've ever seen - the standard was incredibly high! I also managed to sort out a farm nearby to WWOOF on. Things were looking up.
But then things started to go a bit wrong. I got the worst kind of manflu, and spent almost a week shivering in a sweat-soaked hostel bed, drinking Yarrow tea (recommended by the herbalist at the Nelson farmers market).
After a week with no improvement, and me still hacking and coughing and keeping other people in the hostel dorm awake (not to mention all the gravely serious enquiries as to whether it was Swine Flu), I decided the organic herbal remedies weren't up to the job. Enough was enough - I was sick of being sick, if you will - and so I went to the doctor.
For the bargain price of $80 I was told that I had a cold. But the added bonus was that I had a secondary bacterial infection that had given me pneumonia.
A course of antibiotics was
prescribed (at the bargain price of a further $60), and I was sent on my way, a significantly poorer but potentially healthier man.
The very next day (the first day that it rained since I had been there), I hitched north out of Nelson to a place called Kaslo, to meet up with my new WWOOF hosts, and begin another stint of 'Life On The Farm'.
So it was that I spent over a week in Nelson and saw very little of the town. I know I missed a lot of good live music, but other than that I can't tell you much about it. But I can tell you that pneumonia sucks.
There are more photos below