Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Old maps

Tonight I wrote an essay for my Historical Geography course. It involved looking at some old maps and seeing why they were drawn/written and what they were saying. Boring! Yes, I thought so too, but check this bad boy out. It's a map of the Holy Land drawn in 1542, but it's actually set in the Old Testament. (If you're confused, bear in mind that west is at the top, and north is to the right.) I just think that's pretty cool - at least my process of working out what it was was cool. In my mind...

OK, I'm going to bed before I embarass myself over the internet any more.

CN Tower

Just to prove that I actually am in Toronto! The last week has had some great weather, Thursday being no exception. It was pretty chilly that day, and downtown is often colder than up at York because of the proximity of the lake and the cold wind. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 30, 2006


Toronto really is a multicultural city. I haven't yet been able to play "spot the Caucasian" on a bus, but I don't really need to. Of the four courses that I'm taking at York, one lecturer is Indian, one is Irish and two are Chinese; in a straw poll today in my "Postcolonial Geographies" course (ie. "Have a pop at the British and Americans") the Indian lecturer asked us how many people had at least one parent whose first language is not English and over half the class put their hand up! Crazy.

Nevertheless people are generally excited and pleased when they learn I'm from the UK. Do they have the same reaction to someone from Ukraine...? The first question they will ask is "how do you like Canada?" What am I supposed to say? It's too big? Too cold? Too flat? Too Americanised? (Actually, I don't think any of those things. Mostly.) I just have to reply "it's nice" in a diplomatic voice...


I love it when Canadians and Britons [note: I hate the term "Brits"] get together, because our language differences always surface, whether you intend it or not.

Andrea (slightly dappy but very friendly Canadian): "Have you ever tried talking without an accent?"

I was out in Toronto with some other international students including Phil and we went to get some dinner at a restuarant on King Street (one of the main downtown areas). Everyone at the table was European, and most of us wanted to order beer. The waitress asked us for ID - reasonable enough - so we all handed over our driving licenses. Bear in mind that EU driving licenses are laminated, with holograms and generally pretty offical. There were British, German, Dutch, Finnish and Italian ones there too. The waitress looked at them and said "I can't take these. I've never seen them before. You could have just made them up." Made them up!? Some people really need to use common sense in a situation like that.


The first post of many? Well, we'll see. It might be the first post of about 5, in which case you can be thankful I won't continually waste your time. But here I am, starting another blog. Another? Yes, I've had a few before. The first one is at BootsnAll and chronicles my round-the-world trip in 2004. A second has been broken up but can be seen on my website. If you're paying attention, you'll have noticed those words "my website" and I do have one at www.chrishillcoat.net - at some point I might try and integrate this with that, but don't hold your breath. It has some more bio information, plus a funky travel section on where I've been.

I think that will do for my first post. More to come soon!