Montreal holds nearly every nationality and creed that exists on this planet. A true city of diversity. Positioned on the banks of the St. Lawrence, this sundry metropolis holds deep French roots and is touted as the most ‘cultural’ and the most ‘European’ city in North America. Step onto the streets and be engulfed in the arts. Architecture that stands through legacies of French and British creators, festivals of all genres attracting enthusiasts from all corners of the globe, and fare that is just as diverse.
I found myself wanting to explore as much of this city as I possibly could in 24 hrs. Starting near Mount Royal park I dipped into a sharp little coffee shop called Cafe Humble Lion and enjoyed a latte. From there I made a gigantic loop skimming the perimeter of Old Port Montreal. Here I found a fascinating backdrop. A dilapidated shipping terminal riddled with rusted steel silos and holding tanks, twisted planks and half-century old barges slumped over on their sides.
An “around the world” trip has been more than a fanciful notion of mine for years now. Each time I hop on an aircraft the desire to take the reins and pilot the thing to Mongolia becomes so strong I have to physically restrain myself in my bonded leather window seat. There is something about flying the circumference of the globe that makes me stand at attention. Something deep down in my conscience that lusts for a full and complete itinerary transporting me around the world. What is it that makes me feel this way?
Second to air travel is my interest in psychology. Everything I do is questioned by my inner self. What are the motives that drive decision making? What economical advantage does one choice have over another? Why do I, myself, want to join Dennis Rodman on a trip to North Korea? What is the ROI of said DPRK visit? Why do I want to fly all the way around the world? What will I gain from this? The answer to the last two are simple. In the pyramid of commercial air travel, an around the world journey sits at the pinnacle. There is nothing more prestigious than flying in a plane around the planet on which we live. Of course doing it three times, or even four, or five is better than one but there is nothing that tastes as sweet as the first time one experiences a dream which has been so fervently longed for. I doubt Greg Louganis’ second gold in ’88 carried the same amount of luster as his first in ’84. Just ask him. He’d love to stop by and chat over an appletini.
Through all the lusting(not for Greg), wondering and mental images of me piloting a jet to Mongolia I finally got the chance to do what I have aspired to for so long: circumnavigate the globe. A 23,000 mile voyage spanning 10 different countries over 14 days. 10 flights accounting for 50 hours of total flight time on 7 different airlines.
Over the next few weeks I will be writing about Michael and I’s experience in each different country, the different flights we took and airports we visited in transit. These writings will be interlaced with photos I capture at each destination.
Segment 1: Montreal, Canada(YUL) – London, England(LHR) – Istandbul, Turkey(IST)
Segment 2: Istanbul, Turkey(IST) – Singapore, Singapore(SIN)
Segment 3: Singapore, Singapore(SIN) – Bangkok, Thailand(BKK)
Segment 4: Bangkok, Thailand(BKK) – Hong Kong, Hong Kong(HKG)
Segment 5: Hong Kong, Hong Kong(HKG) – Taipei, Taiwan(TPE)
Segment 6: Taipei, Taiwan(TPE) – Tokyo, Japan(NRT)
Segment 7: Tokyo, Japan(NRT) – Seoul, South Korea(ICN)
Segment 8: Seoul, South Korea(ICN) – San Francisco, United States(SFO) – Montreal, Canada(YUL)
Who in the hell views Amtrak as a viable source of transportation anymore? Isn’t that so 19th century? Why would the logical traveler opt for an 8hr journey by train that would take less than 2 hrs by air? Only the elderly who have a half days work of crossword puzzles and criminals who exude a moderate level of risk to the public opt for the train. Why these folks? Yes, its a rather odd bunch, but these are just the people that travel by train. I’ve seen ‘em with my own eyes.
I decided to position myself right in the dam middle of the docile seniors and the petty jewel thieves by hoping on one of their trains from Manhattan to Montreal. This service wound its way through the Adirondacks, shouldered the Hudson, stopped at every mid-size town on the list, and culminated in Montreal. It was a fine trip I must say. Vast landscapes yet having felt the harsh punishment of mans hammer and sickle. Raw & untouched. I like to think of this as the real America.
These are some images I found striking. The Hudson River. The Adirondacks.
Everything You Need to Know About Icing, Deicing, and the Travails of Winter Flying
AS ANOTHER WINTER STORM bears down, about the last place you’d want to be is headed out to the airport. Delays and cancellations pile up, causing a ripple effect clear across the country and beyond.
What is it, exactly, about winter weather that wreaks such havoc for air travel?
Low visibilities, strong crosswinds, slick runways, potential icing — all of these things spell trouble for pilots, and cause air traffic backlogs. But, as a rule, they aren’t phenomenon that airplanes or their crews can’t handle. Generally, it’s not the in-the-air aspects of a snowstorm that cause chaos, it’s the on-the-ground aspects: Runways and taxiways need to be plowed and treated, while tarmac logistics go to hell as snow and ice accumulate. Luggage and cargo handling, fueling — everything slows to a crawl as personnel and ground equipment get bogged down in the slush.
Planes, meanwhile, cannot take off with ice or snow adhering to the wings. Parked at the terminal, an aircraft collects precipitation the way your car does — via snowfall, sleet, freezing rain or frost. (Thanks to supercooled fuel in the wings, frost can form insidiously even with temps above freezing.) The delicious-looking spray (apricot-strawberry) used to remove it is a heated combination of propylene glycol alcohol and water. It melts away existing snow or ice, and prevents the buildup of more. Different fluid mixtures, varying in temperature and viscosity, are applied for different conditions.
Nashua, NH. Thirty minutes north of Boston, hugging the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border. What surf relevance does this frost-ridden township bear? If curiosity is poking, prodding and just won’t let the question free, the answer is “none”. No surf culture or surf scene whatsoever. Absolutely none. That was until an adrenaline-seeking couple aligned their sights with a company by the name of American Wave Machines, forerunner in manmade wave technology. The confluence of these two parties has resulted in what is the largest river wave replica in North America. Housed under the roof of Surf’s Up New Hampshire, this machine is 40’ wide x 75’ long and is capable of moving 200,000 gallons of water per minute. Four municipal sewer pumps thrust a one foot sheet of water along preformed sections of fiberglass molds to project multiple wave configurations and heights. The complete atmosphere within the park is a fabricated surreal-ness. Tropical blues, palms shipped in from the more equatorial situated regions, a waterfall adorned with Amazon inspired vegetation, and a retractable glass roof are all features that are distinctly contrasting to the fabric of New Hampshire. Whats more, theres a surfable wave within the walls of this illusion.
Michael and I were invited to test out this wave before the park opened its doors back in November. After having experienced surfing an artificial wave, I was evoked with deepened curiosity as to how the physics compare to the real thing.