Monday, April 2, 2012

Going to Town: A Hillbilly's Guide to City Slicking

Though I am not an indigenous hillbilly, I've been living in rural New Brunswick for almost four years now, which is more than enough time to go native - or at least pick up a weird accent and start thinking cow tipping is funny. Another thing that changed is that I now find going into town almost ridiculously exciting, be it the teeming metropolis of Fredericton, or the endless traffic circle that is Oromocto. I also learned that it is traditional for New Brunswickers to go totally batshit in Halifax and you know, I've been from Edmonton to Berlin but nothing was as strange as running up and down Barrington street with two French guys looking for cocaine.

But more to the point of this article, there are a lot of things I took for granted when you live in the city that I notice now. Not the big stuff, but little things that everybody should take note of if they live in the city, and that visitors must experience when doing the city. So think of this as a catch-all travel guide to anywhere with tall buildings, sidewalks and readily available contraband substances.

Ride the Bus
What could be better than sitting on a moving vehicle in an uncomfortable chair between a screaming child and a man who smells like urine and tells you at length about his secret plan to overthrow the evil robot regime? How about paying money for that experience? I never thought twice about taking the bus when I lived in the city, I just did it, even when I could easily have walked where I was going (I was a fat and lazy child). Now that I need to take a car just to get to the city, riding the bus seems silly. But it's one of the charming things about living in an urban environment, a neccesary experience for tourists, and really handy when you're too drunk and high to walk far and too poor for a cab.
The Downside: In Halifax the very last bus runs at I believe 1.30AM, and in Fredericton they hardly ever run at all.

Take Advantage of the Public Water
City water tastes more consistant than well water, and it's got chlorine in it which is pretty neat.
The Downside: The Man is controlling the water. That's scary.

Give Money to a Beggar
I always forget about the beggars. We just don't get them in the country (we don't get hobos either for some reason). And there are so god damn many of them, particularly in Halifax in the summertime. You can't walk two blocks without being accosted, which is another good reason to ride the bus - the nutters on the bus generally don't ask for money.
The Downside: Well, it's kind of sad that there are that many beggars. I much prefer the buskers (or 'musical panhandlers' as I like to call them), which we don't get out here either. If there are any musical panhandlers reading this, why not come to Gagetown this summer? You can make an assload of money and there's fuckall for competition.

Do a Barcrawl (Obviously)
Every city I've been in has a bar district, where numerous bars are placed close together for convenience. In Gagetown it's pretty much just Legion>Pub>Buddy's House>Home(optional) so long as you don't mind driving. As fun as that is, visiting eight bars in one night just can't be beat.
The Downside: They're a lot stickier about carding in the city so if you're underage, a barcrawl may not be the thing to do. A cafe crawl is okay if you can't drink.

Feed the Pigeons and/or Rats
Though there are sometimes raccoons, and deer spotted in the biggest of cities, the most plentiful wildlife is always rats and pigeons. And though people are discouraged from feeding these animals, that's not really enforced, and it's much safer than feeding the coyotes and the bears.
The Downside: Pigeons and rats are both riddled with parasites and disease.

Get a Macchiato at 3AM
Ah, my personal favourite. This just goes to prove that you can take the girl out of the city, when you bring her back she's going to want a fucking macchiato.

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