Nassau, Bahamas (Part 1)

Earlier this year I was fortunate enough to be a member of the crew on the second season of The Bachelor Canada — which, in the fourth episode, took us to Nassau, Bahamas.

Hibiscus flower
I’ve never had any immediate desire to travel to the Caribbean. Don’t get me wrong, when I found out we were going to the Bahamas I was ecstatic. But of all the countries on my bucket list,* the 30 or so islands making up that freckled piece of watery globe sat closer to the bottom. I blame “An Embarrassment of Mangoes.” A brilliant book of travel narrative, no doubt, but the writers spoke so convincingly of their middle-aged sailboat adventure from the icy waters of Canada all the way to the tip of Trinidad and Tobago, they had me certain I didn’t need to follow their steps until well into my late 50s.
*Every single one. Twice. Minus Albania. (Don’t ask.)
Now, of course, my mind has changed and I would go back at any given moment.
We flew to the Bahamas over two arduous stopovers en route from Cabo. (I know; woe is me.) Los Cabos are beautiful: heat, still and dry like the circulated air on our flights, with cacti and golden brown soil to match. But the tropics they are not. A desert life is not the life for me, so stepping off the plane and into the soupy warm of Nassau, sweat immediately sprouting on my skin, I felt at home.
The puddle jumper from Miami was a touch rough, but what do you expect on a miniature plane packed with 80+ pieces of film gear? Film gear that didn’t all make it, natch. (Again, miniature plane.) No matter. A sing-a-long passed the time as we waited — fruitlessly — for word on our items. Eventually we learned they’d be on their way first thing tomorrow and on our way through customs and off to the resort we went.
Sandals Resort
Three days later… After a super early airport drop off and a quick nap, my only day off kicked into action. Everyone else was content downing Mai Thais and Pina Coladas in the pool, but I wasn’t about to let the Bahamas pass me by, so I took my haphazardly folded map and my 20 megabites of wifi (Traveling is so easy these days, isn’t it?) and sauntered off the resort.
I started out with “Old Town” but quickly realized it was a bust — so I turned around and hopped back on one of the local buses. Like the Brits who colonized them (truth? lie? I’m typing this with no internet access so choose your own history adventure), Bahamians drive on the left side of the road. A bus ride into town cost a $1.50 (in the local currency or American dollars — the two are interchangeable) and was filled mainly with locals. I chatted with the driver and got a few tips on where to go and what to see.
Every building is so frickin’ pretty and colourful.
Downtown Nassau is a stunning array of brightly coloured buildings, cobblestone streets and hack-y tourist shops. I strolled through the parliament building and up and down a few streets before realizing I couldn’t wait any longer to visit… the Pirate Museum*!!
New Providence Island, Bahamas was a MASSIVE hub for pirates back in the 1600 and 1700 hundreds. Treasure hunters still visit consistently and the attitude of piracy is kept alive with the island’s many international banks with loose legalities.
*Pictures not included. But, yes, there was a ship and era-appropirate** streets built inside the museum. And, yes, I was the only one walking around. And, yes, they played sound effects over the loud speaker and I got a little bit scared. (What!? It was dark!!)
**Unintentional spelling mistake. Leaving it.
Each building, one Grand Budapest Hotel after another.
After the museum I decided to wander further… I’d Googled places to check out in Nassau and every list included the Queen’s Staircase. I wandered out of the downtown core, passing many more vibrant buildings and homes… and some eroding, dilapitated ones as well. Similar to Cabo, there is so much beauty and colour, but at any given moment, poverty is right around the corner. That being said, at no point did I feel unsafe. There is a happy buzz in the air, one reflecting the cheerful hues — or maybe just indicative of all the American money filtered through the country.
Queen's Staircase
Queen’s Staircase
Named after Queen Victoria, the staircase was built between 1793 and 1794 as a direct route to Fort Fincastle. There was a cheerful man at the bottom who spent about 15 minutes telling me and a few other tourists all about the history of the place. It was a beautiful, peaceful spot, not too overwhelmed by tourists, and filled with stunning flora — like, finger roots!!
Finger roots!

Stay tuned for Part 2… including a drink recipe for a dangerously delicious Bahamian cocktail!

The Journey

Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy (1863 – 1933)


When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
and the angry Poseidon — do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your body and your spirit.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your heart does not raise them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
you will enter ports seen for the first time
with such pleasure, with such joy!
Stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and corals, amber and ebony,
and pleasurable perfumes of all kinds,
buy as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the isle when you are old,
rich with all that you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would never have taken the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood by then what Ithacas mean.



Of the Week

Movie: If you’re looking for your new favourite romantic comedy, look no further than The F Word(Or What If if you live in America.) Writer Elan Mastai and director Michael Dowse deliver on all levels. It’s sweet; it’s hilarious; it’s touching; and it’s truthful. Mastai has been quoted as saying “… everyone is an expert (on romantic comedies).” That acknowledgement and respect shows throughout the film: it’s your, my, his, hers, our romantic wins and failures up on screen, but funnier and with better hairdos. My only complaint is they could have pushed the “Annie Hall-ness” of it even further; but leave them wanting more, right? (Just go see it.) 

Trailer: There are SO many good trailers out right now. (Note to self: do a full post dedicated to trailers.) But if I’m only going to choose one, and this is a very difficult decision, I’m going to have to go with Dear White People. This is writer/director Justin Simien’s debut feature and it looks BRILLIANT. And you know what? Regardless of the quality of the film (which we have to wait until Fall to determine (but, let’s be honest, it’s gonna be good)), this trailer deserves multiple awards. It’s beautifully cut, showcases the film’s wicked cinematography, and tells you exactly what the story is going to be about without giving away too much of the plot. With further ado…

TV: It’s been awhile since I’ve done an “Of the Week” which is the only reason you have yet to hear me expound on Broad City‘s incomprehensible awesomeness. It’s everything I wanted Girls to be and so much more. I espouse this amazing show to anyone who will listen, and though most of never heard of it, as soon as I mention it’s produced by Amy Poehler, I have no more convincing to do. No one else has captured life as a twentysomething struggling in a big city better than Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. The heart of the show is the girls’ friendship, but what really takes it to the next level, beyond the relatability in even the smallest, most throwaway lines/plots (Think in Episode 8, “Destination Wedding” when Abbi’s date suggests they buy a dog together but then later can’t commit to going to a further away train station.), what makes this show INSANELY good is the directing and the endless pop culture/film references. More Spaced than CommunityBroad City sucks you in with dream sequences, endless nods to genre, and inventive cinematography. It’s not only the funniest show on television, in my opinion, it’s the overall very best.


Song: Gotta give it up for B.C. up-and-comers Good for Grapes. Their song “Skipping Stone” lives comfortably in that beautiful genre of folk-rock-pop well-established by acts like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. These young musicians have been beating the road for years already, honing their craft and sound; it’s only a matter of time before they totally take over.

Check out their Facebook page here for info on tons of local shows.

Book: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Is it cheating if I post the movie trailer instead of a picture of the book? The trailer was what led me to read it after all. If nothing else, the casting of the film makes it worth seeing. (But this isn’t supposed to be about a movie…) I felt quite unsatisfied after reading This is Where I Leave You. I flew through it in one weekend and later realized that maybe I should have paced myself. I was disappointed and a little bit angry and, going through an already delicate couple of weeks, depressed. It wasn’t until a few days later that I begun to appreciate the story. While the film adaptation will likely end on an “up” note, the book didn’t feel that way for me. Why am I recommending it then? Because life isn’t always #YOLO and #100happydays; life is often shitty and disappointing and many people never achieve most of what they set out to do. I’m not saying that’s my, or anyone else’s future, but I think perspective and realism are things we don’t get enough of these social media-filled days.

“Don’t forget, I’ve been hurt before.”

This is an excerpt from Paulo Coelho’s “The Zahir,” a story about a man whose wife has left him for another man. In this exchange he speaks with his new lover and she tries to make him understand that he’s been acting out of fear.


“You see? You don’t even want to say his name. Are you superstitious?”

“Mikhail. There you are, that’s his name.”

“The energy of hatred won’t get you anywhere; but the energy of forgiveness, which reveals itself through love, will transform your life in a positive way.”

“Now you’re sounding like some Tibetan sage, spouting stuff that is all very nice in theory, but impossible in practice. Don’t forget, I’ve been hurt before.

“Exactly, and you’re still carrying inside you the little boy, the school weakling, who had to hide his tears from his parents. You still bear the marks of the skinny little boy who couldn’t get a girlfriend and who was never any good at sports. You still haven’t managed to heal the scars left by some of the injustices committed against you in your life. But what good does that do?”

“Who told you about that?”

“I just know. I can see it in your eyes, and it doesn’t do you any good. All it does is feed a constant desire to feel sorry for yourself, because you were the victim of people stronger than you. Or else it makes you go to the other extreme and disguise yourself as an avenger ready to hit out at the people who hurt you. Isn’t that a waste of time?”

“It’s just human.”

“Oh, it is, but it’s not intelligent or reasonable. Show some respect for your time on this earth.”


The Power of Your (Bad) Words

Jonah Hill has come under fire this week for yelling homophobic remarks at the paparazzo who was stalking him. While it appears relatively unprovoked, I do believe that he was being followed and harassed for a long time. As such, I support Jonah in his right to tell this guy to “Fuck off.” (Although, if I was in that situation, I’d be asking myself What Would George Clooney Do? And the answer, obviously, would be smile, laugh, wave, and walk away.)

Premiere Of Twentieth Century Fox's "The Watch" - Arrivals

I believe Jonah when he says he’s not a homophobe. I believe that he has gay friends and family members whom he loves very much. But I believe that with his insult he wanted to, from a position of superiority, convey the most vitriol he could muster. And so he told this paparazzo, “Suck my dick, you faggot.”

In Jonah’s mind (a writer, actor, and improvisor’s brain), the most demoralizing thing he could think of was demanding another man to suck his dick. So while he may not be outwardly homophobic, the societal belief* that gay men are of less worth is clearly deeply ingrained in him.

* I wish I didn’t have to call it a “societal belief” but look around, we’re not past this yet.

I was dating this guy a couple months ago. (Not Jonah Hill… We’ll get back to him.) We had been seeing each other for a couple of weeks; things were going well. He ‘we’-ed us. There was potential. But he had causally dropped “retarded” and “faggot” into two different conversations. I didn’t say anything in the moment (for various reasons) but I flagged it to bring up later. So one night, we’re out drinking with a couple of my friends and he drops the r-word again. Finally! My chance to set him straight. I quickly pipped up and told him that not only do those words make me uncomfortable, but I find using them in conversation morally irresponsible.

Naturally I assumed he’d say something along the lines of, “Oh. You’re right. I’m sorry. I’ll never say them again.”

Nope. Instead he told me that he used to avoid these words, but recently decided that as he’s not a bigot, he is allowed to use these terms in jest as long as those people aren’t around. FUCK THE WHAT?! Then he started arguing some sort of backwards rhetoric about my believing the term “retarded” to be demeaning to a group of people was in itself demeaning. Let’s not forget to mention that he was also throwing the n-word around too.

Later, as I was endlessly conversing the matter with several girlfriends, I received mixed feedback. A few people told me “that’s just the way guys are” and that I should give him another chance. What?


Listen, I get it. You don’t mean any harm. It’s always been a part of your vocabulary. You’re just so used to saying it — you don’t mean it; it just comes out. That guy I dated, Jonah Hill, your boyfriend, your girlfriends, that loud dude at the beach, none of them are bad people.  Some of them might be mildly bigoted, but most of them simply aren’t conscious enough to understand what they’re saying and what it means.

What those people — you? — need to realize, and I’m saying this to those that are kind, thoughtful people (I don’t think even my bold italics could sway real bigots.), I’m saying you need to understand that your words have repercussions. Although you mean no harm, you are propagating the degradation and humiliation of other human beings. You’re selfishly choosing to keep something in your vocabulary because it’s familiar, you like the way it rolls off your tongue, and it conveys your point in a manner that you have yet to discover a better word for.
This is what Urban Dictionary has to say about the word “retard:”
1. retard
A person born with a mental condition and therefore has to work a million times harder to be able to do simple things (such as learn and communicate) that we take for granted. On top of this, a retard will usually suffer a lot of ridicule from society because people fear what they do not understand. The people who choose to make fun of the mental retarded tend to be complete morons and cannot comprehend that these people have feelings and emotions just like anyone else.
I find it amusing that saying somebody has cancer would not be taken as a joke and yet, using another disease such as mental retardation as an insult is common among society, and many do not realize that it is very offensive and that there is something seriously wrong about it.
-Urban Dictionary
If Urban Dictionary, Urban-fucking-Dictionary, thinks it’s wrong (along with, not to mention, EVERY OTHER dictionary: “often used as a general term of abuse” “a contemptuous term” “ used as a disparaging term”), then you probably shouldn’t be saying it.
Faggot isn’t okay. Neither are Chink, Nigger, or Injun. Do those words make you uncomfortable? Retard and Retarded should make you uncomfortable too.
In summation:
You are being insensitive, insecure, and frankly a massive ASSHOLE if you ever choose to use any derogatory words. Even in jest. Especially in jest. Even if you’re Jonah Hill. Pull your heads out of your asses, kids, and CONSIDER what you are saying. Or don’t. Keep dropping retarded and faggot and whatever other antiquated derogatory term pleases you into your conversations; type ’em out in your Facebook posts; yell them at your buddy for chickening out; relay them to your friends to describe how drunk you were…
And one day, when you have children, whom I sincerely hope are healthy and happy (regardless of how, from their births, they happen to experience the world), I hope that they are kinder and more thoughtful than you. I hope they choose to see the world as a place full of people just doing their best and trying to get by. I hope they embrace everyone they meet with respect and empathy. I hope they teach you how to be a better person, because if you are still so careless with how you regard other human beings that you choose to use these hateful, hurtful, selfish words, then you’re not doing a very good job yet. 

The Jew’s Daughter or, Bad Poetry: I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours


The Jew’s Daughter is an interactive, non-linear, multi-valent narrative, a storyspace that is unstable but nonetheless remains organically intact, progressively weaving itself together by way of subtle transformations on a single virtual page. (Say that five times fast.)

What? Yeah, I don’t know either. Click here to read the entire thing.  It goes on for pages and pages, but this first paragraph just slays me. It’s completely visceral storytelling. You aren’t told what is happening, but through the beautiful and haunting words choices, you build your own story. It is an emotional reaction. Now that’s fucking poetry.

I often find this part swirling around in my head:

(Is this what they said?), inadequacy, and, as a last resort, an inexplicable refusal. You asked could I build you from a pile of anonymous limbs and parts. 

It’s just… yeah, so good.


Does poetry inspire you? Or do you find it mildly off-putting? I don’t have a favourite poet and I kinda feel like a fraud of a writer for that. But I do believe that all writers should give a stab at poetry — at least once in awhile. There’s something good and terrifying about no structure, rules. Write your lover a note, yours friends haikus, and someone a song. Or just keep them to yourself, whatever, as long as you’re exploring new means of storytelling. I’m still gathering the courage to post original poetry on here. Maybe I just need to accept that it’s okay to be bad. Or, just choose not to care.

If you were entranced by this poem, you’ll likely fall for this song by Sufjan Stevens ft. Buck 65. It’s weird, a little bit non-sensical, and fucking beautiful.

Of the Week

Links, stories, entertainment, and other various things I enjoyed this week:

The full Hollywood Reporter “Drama Queens” roundtable has been released. And if you, like me, are a TV/acting nerd, you’ll really enjoy it.

Could Vancouver host the 2022 Winter Olympics? Probably not. But this likely isn’t the last we’re going to hear on the subject.

A comprehensive history of Fireball. (Spoiler: it contains brilliant marketing.)

Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman might be dating. I don’t know why, but this makes me very happy.

It’s hard to know how legit this is until one actually tries it themselves, but there’s now a website that helps you crowd fund your travels: Trevolta.

Photographic proof that The Matrix is real and we’re living in it.

Bees are dying all over the place and it’s legitimately terrifying. Click here to do a little something about it. And check out Generation A by Douglas Coupland to scare yourself a little more. (Then check out his exhibit at the VAG, ’cause why not?)


Movie: The Perks of Being a Wallflower 


I’m not going to lie to you guys, my eyes are still puffy a day later. Nearly ten years after I fell in love with the book and two years after the film was released, I finally settled in to watch TPoBaW. (That’s a hideous looking acronym, isn’t it?) Stephen Chobsky, the book’s author, adapted the screenplay AND directed the film, giving perfect explanation to why it’s so lovely. I don’t know if this story is for everyone, but if you’ve ever felt lonely, isolated, and as if the pain of the world might be too much to bear, you need to watch this film. It is beautiful and touching and completely heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful. Prepare to get in touch with that teenage angst that lives inside of all of us and bring the tissues.


TV: Orphan Black – It’s fast-paced, smart, and ridiculously entertaining. Tatiana Maslany is… well, I can’t think of a word in the English language to properly describe how incredibly talented she is. Streepian, perhaps?



Song: “Take Me to Church” by Hozier – This song can best be described as cavernous. SO good.


Book: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris


It’s fascinating to me how vastly unique siblings can be from one another: in careers, morals, interests, personalities. Coming from a large family, Sedaris shares tales of his unique (read: psychotic) family, from childhood ’til present. (Bonus: an insight as to how Amy Sedaris got so wacky.) He takes stories, that would no doubt be mundane from a less talented writer, and spins them into tales of humour, grace, and depth. The best part is that he never holds back from sharing all the awful things he has said or done. No rose coloured glasses here. Sedaris will make you feel better about being the flawed human being that we all are.

Word: ostensible [o-sten-suh-buhl] adjective
1. outwardly appearing as such; professed; pretended: an ostensible cheerfulness concealing sadness.
2. apparent, evident, or conspicuous: the ostensible truth of their theories.