Day 3: Canterbury 2

Hullo folks, back again today feeling more energetic… Probably because of the 20min nap I took this afternoon and may not be a good sign for tomorrow’s early morning, but let’s not worry about that just yet… It’s just past 10pm and I think a good time to review the second half of my stay in Canterbury

It looks like 8 in the morning, doesn’t it…? Hint hint, it’s a lot later than that…

By a lot, I mean about 4 hours… That’s right. The road was covered in frost at noon… I’m still impressed… Especially considering it was like 4 degrees C out there

I’d like to call it “Frost at Midday” as it was literally the middle of the day! And I mean that literally by 4 hours since sunrise and 4 hours till sunset!

It’s pretty amazing to see but not as amazing to walk on… I kept thinking I was walking on some icy, snowy, slushy Montreal road and naturally getting annoyed as it felt both necessary and redundant at the same time…

Will you look at that? The frost goes away almost immediately as sun shines on it and here we get this cool shadow-shaped border! That’s probably why I felt like the frost never really goes away though… Not everywhere gets enough sunshine at this latitude!

Some random wall? The bricks actually look like one of those I’d seen at my grandma’s in rural Beijing, though the house is a lot different. Still, I half expected to hear a giant, peasant’s dog madly barking at me

Not sure if it’s a hospital at all, a private hospital, or a private door to a hospital but that sign is definitely cool enough to earn a picture! Is this place related to St John’s Ambulance?

A Chinese convinience store, or a Chinese dep/dépanneur. Looks like the only “oriental” shop they have here in Canterbury so my condolences for the students here. My first time seeing the word “Oriental” here and Northumbrian’s words ring in my head “Asian is for people from the Indian subcontinent,…they’ll probably call you Oriental, which I was told is racist in [the States]”

A minor observation here… There is a small but visible Chinese population here, and aside from a few tourists and parent-tourists, I have a feeling that every Chinese person here knows each other… It was a bit embarrassing (and probably bewildering to them) when a Chinese couple stared at me as I was eating some Indian rice at Sainsbury’s later today… I could even feel their assessing looks lol

Finally found a mail box! My host told me about it yesterday but I kept missing them. But just like the telephone booths (and the smell of weed), once I recognize one, I won’t miss another one!

Nothing special here… Just the unstraightened, Pisa-tower-esque design… Nothing special…

More street views. I keep adding “Grimmauld Place” in my head after reading the “Number 12” shop sign

Another one of the streets. Did I mention I love the streets here? Well this one looks like Wu Zhen or some other south-eastern towns-on-water in China

Inside “the Canterbury Tales”.

“More related to a horse”, commented my guide today. The attraction itself is pretty fun, too. I got to listen to five of the tales (via a telephone-like device) while watching some live-size figure demonstration, and the staff here really know what they are doing. I sort of want to come again after I’ve read the whole thing in verse, though that might be a million years away

And yes! Everyone who works here dress in medieval fashion! According to her she’s a dishwasher sort of girl and gets to do the dishes and all that, and she knows the guests on the pilgrimage well

My heart lept up when I beheld

A wall of quills with colouring books.

Damn I forgot how that poem goes after that line… Anyways, I really really wanted to buy those from the gift shop but I wouldn’t have enough space for them, so I guess I’ll try my luck to ever find them again during my stay in England then…

Why am I not even surprised that they sell Beadle the Bards here at the Canterbury Tales? I mean, it’s not like there are stunning parallels between the Pardoner’s Tale and the Tale of Three Brother at all, n’est-ce pas? Anyways… Eventually I’m buying this book as well, and making sure to read them to my kids just as any Muggle bedtime stories and let them discover, with wonder, that this one is actually from the HP series!

Another one of the “unclean” streets. It does look old and unkempt, but it’s a different kind of unclean than Montreal. It’s full of life and stories and history, and hopefully untainted by weed and cocaine. Also, since it’s always so damp even without rain here, it looks like it’s just been cleaned with some heavenly water!

Aha! After being on the hunt for about a whole day, I’ve spotted my first second-hand book store here! It’s got a wonderful selection inside, and I wanted to buy even more books but considering the weight I’m already carrying…

Classical and Christmasy inside

It was about 2pm and I’m guessing that’s when Britons have lunch? I’ve never seen a fish & chips shop getting this crowded and the smell of vinegar even made my stomach growl… I’ll have to try some some day, but not now…

I saw “Hardy’s” and got excited, believing this was another bookshop. Well, how innocent can I be? It turns out to be a candy shop (or sweets shop?) full of chocolate bars… The smell of candies and chocolate was enough to make me long for Honey Dukes

And this! I may be mad to believe Charlie and the Chocolate Factory happened during WWII but these wrappers just brought me into the movie!

Somehow I remember Britons don’t like Nutella? Well Nina here’s a heaven for you! Crêpes and Nutella, how can you get more perfect than this (excluding poutine)? And of course I was recalling that time we made crêpes in French class…

“Ne mange pas le Nutella!”


I was wondering why Cancer Research UK was having a shop right in the city centre and thought they’d probably be selling posh stuff for research… Well turns out they’re running a thrift store! Watch carefully, Canada, time for you to learn some real stuff!

Kids on the street, playing Christmas carols for the homeless shelters! Fantastic music, great vibe plus two hearts bigger than that of all world leaders’ combined! Mustn’t we make a better future so that such hope will never be lost in a sea of despair?

Cheese & onion flavour actually sounds appetizing… Though is Walkers the British name for Lays? I honestly took it for Lays for a whole five minutes before noticing something was off… Hope they have better ketchup flavours than in Canada though…

Another lesson for you, dear Canada. Instead of $20 for 2 pics in a studio ran by artists, can we get those installed in malls and drug stores so that ID photos are cheaper and easy to get? You do know how immigrants like us eat ID photos for dinners, right?

I found this at Sainsbury’s, which is a supermarket with a posh level equivalent of Provigo’s. It’s madly cheap though… I spent £7.10 on a sandwich, a potato salad, a pasta salad and a prawn pasta dish, which translates to less than $14 for a full day’s food?!?! What the actual heck?!?! I talked to a friend in Vancouver about it and our reactions are the same: “$10-14 may not even be enough for a single meal at A&W’s (a fast food brand in Canada) and this is simply too good to be true!”

Had a nice little chat with my host this morning at Costa, covering a bit of our stories, plus learning English. I ordered a mint hot chocolate which didn’t taste month at all… Well the hot chocolate wasn’t even that good compared to Timmies… It wasn’t hot enough (which is why I didn’t even try to dissolve the candy cane) and they didn’t add salt?!?! Well I’ll remember to add it myself next time now that I know what the problem is…

Bit of advice for Canadians though… Do not expect coffee shops (or fast food brands) here to be a replacement for Timmies… Learned my first lesson with MacDonald’s coffee and now Costa’s HC… We’re yet to see tea… Besides, they don’t have Timbit here!

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