February Monkey

In thinking of this month’s Monkey theme I realized my Really alive moments could be split in a few categories. Since I didn’t do any travelling in 2003 and I miss it, I decided to go with the travel moments.

Nice, France

I didn’t especially like Nice (it rained all day the couple of days we were around there) but on the last night, after dinner, we went on a walk a long the beach—we being new friends met at the beginning of my first trip in Europe—under a finally cloudless sky. We sat around for a while, talking about where we’d been and where we were from. A little later we all stood along the water’s edge, listening to the galets being rolled around by the tides. Super corny reading it now but a great moment anyway.

Budapest, Hungary

Again with a few friends met on the trip, this time in Budapest’s Városliget park. First we sat around, talking and drinking Bull’s Blood (red wine) then walked around the fair close by for a little while. We followed that by running to the pedal boat place before it closed, split in three teams and proceded to transform them into bumper boats, scaring the little romantic couple who had to hide on the side. It was one Canadian team against two American ones and although there was no clear winner we managed a superb move that had the two Yankees crashing into each other. The night ended with a cab right to the hotel and on the way we had our Amazing Race moment when we had the two drivers racing all the way there, running red lights and passing the few cars still on the road at three in the morning. We tipped our driver 100% of the fare and later realized it came out to 4$ total.

Sydney, Australia

Left snowy Montréal, travelled for 24 hours, arrived in Sydney at 6h00am local time, dumped the bag where I was staying in Glebe, walked downtown to Circular Quay, took the ferry to Manly Beach, walked through the place, surrounded by tourists and surfer dudes, took off the shoes and walked along the beach. Weird and intense few hours around the world.

Whitsundays, Australia

I took a 3 day sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands, at the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reefs. On the second day we were diving and snorkeling “outside” the islands, towards the open ocean and as I was aiming my underwater camera in the direction of a specific fish I looked down beneath me where the reef fell lower towards the ocean floor and saw… a shark. Not a big one, just about 4 feet long, swimming along the cliff, I was exactly above it so I just re-aimed the camera, took the shot and quickly swam back over the reef. Later that night I was lying on the deck, looking at the stars—way more stars than here it seemed—in near perfect weather, hearing Stereophonics for the first time, thinking back on the afternoon with a big smile on my face.

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