Sunday, September 19, 2010

jobby an' whiskers

I usually put a picture at the top of every post and sometimes another at the bottom, depending on what I'm currently nattering on about, but I don't have the hang of posting lots of pictures of a place that's entirely new and very different to me after living for 17 years on the west coast. Portland really is one of the best American cities but when we first moved there I wasn't in the habit of walking around with a camera, so now I'm unable to show you how it changed between '93 and this year when we expatriated ourselves.
this one has pictures of old time movie stars
There were a lot of reasons for doing that, not being rich and needing guaranteed health coverage was definitely one, yet another was the callousness we witnessed when not just older buildings but entire city blocks were torn down to be replaced with 'modern' glass, steel, and poured concrete monstrosities. The attitude was nothing much was old enough to be considered historic anyway so why not bulldoze? It's not strictly an American habit but one that certainly defines all west coast cities to one extent or another.

What I've been doing while writing this is sticking in a few pictures of some buildings we passed in downtown Halifax, NS yesterday. They do renovate here and there are a number of modern buildings too, but mostly the architecture is considered too historically valuable to be demolished and replaced. That makes for a very esthetically pleasing walking environment as well as a guaranteed tourist magnet.. for those who know. Who would ever have guessed Halifax is the Riviera to the Scots?

'Och, lassie, fa at haem woods imagine hoo warm it is haur?' 
'Hey girl, who at home would guess how warm it is here?'

Yesterday we walked downtown (doontoon) to get a couple of things and later took our little Tracker (Fuschia) for her promised portrait on Citadel Hill. She was the heroine of our trip and deserves some appreciation.

Then I heard something about 'Teabuggers' having been sighted a few hundred miles south of here. I wanted to let you know we're getting ready if any dare show the whites of their myopic eyes in this neighborhood. I have the Clans to back me up and I do mean the ones whose names start with Mac.


jams o donnell said...

Susan,with regard to Teabaggers (I can't write that without laughing!) you cannot kill what does not live!

marja-leena said...

The settlements and later, the cities, on the east coast are so much older than the westcoast (in Canada anyway) that we just don't have so many historical buildings that have survived fires and poor quality construction. I agree that many older if not really old should have been saved and not razed. Sigh. Halifax looks fantastic!

Pagan Sphinx said...

I love the building with the old time movie stars.

You made me laugh with that photo of you with the canon, ready to take on the teabaggers! :-)

susan said...

jams - I thought you just had to blow the heads off zombies to be rid of them.

marja-leena - Fires, poor quality construction and don't forget the seismic quality of the region. Still, they did take a lot down that could have maintained a more settled character. Broadway in Portland still had half a dozen wonderful old theatres when we arrived and all but one are gone.

pagan sphinx - I'll have to try and get a better shot of that one next time but there are lots more.

I had a good time playing on a couple of the cannons :-)

Lisa said...

I love that photo of you and the one of Fuschia. Halifax does look lovely. I've always hated it that we Americans tend to tear down our aged buildings to replace them with ugly utilitarian things.

Riviera for the Scots! That dialogue made my day.

Lydia said...

Thank you for a wonderful glimpse of Halifax. The buildings are very fine.
And, where the word Riviera is a lovely one, the word expatriate is even lovelier-sounding to me. Put the two together, and wow, you must be in heaven!

susan said...

lisa - I think all in all Fuschia looks better for her age than I do (she's 16 - I'm definitely not). You'd love Halifax. Yesterday there were about 40 people riding around the park on one very big bicycle and I didn't have my camera. Maybe next week.

The Scots and Brits were all over that hill.

lydia - Well, I must say I really miss Powell's but other than that this place is great. I found a very nice art supply store but so far haven't been able to find a spot in our empty apartment comfortable enough to sit and draw.

Riviera for the Scots is definitely a relative term but ex-pat is certain :-)

Seraphine said...

i love the buildings in your photo. not only do they renovate, they also keep the exteriors fresh and current looking.
yep, that's what we do in america, we tear stuff down so we can make it new again. who wants to live in a 200-year-old home when you can make a better home with a dishwasher and three toilets?
i'm glad you honor your past as well as the present.

susan said...

sera - Even here they've removed a lot of the places that used to be but in general they seem to have kept a lot more than other cities of my experience. Europe is likely much the same since there are so many more people than there were in the world when I was young.

I used to do community action work to help save neighborhoods but what the corps would do was to back off for a couple of years and return with vengeance once the activists went away.

gfid said...

i'm so covetous of your neighborhood architecture... off to Waterloo, Ont in mid Oct to get 'Executive Director orientated' @ HFH head offices..... i love eastern Canada and the very fringes of the west.... lovely old brick and stone architecture, and even the new has some style and permanence to it, unlike us middler / flatlanders, who are fixated on prefab sheet metal panels and parking for pickups and SUVs. on my first (and only) cross country drive, i was fascinated with the regression of architecture as i moved from west to east returning home. Edmonton after Ottawa looked like a town of tin shacks and plastic megaboxes. i've never been further east than Hull yet, but i'm certain when i do go i won't want to ever come home.

the cannon!! woo hoo! you da mam! blow those tea buggers outa the water! if you see any international fishing trawlers flirting with boundaries, they're fair game too.

gfid said...

..... and give Fuschia a pat for me.

Spadoman said...

Always wondered why they would build new buildings while so many older beautiful buildings sit empty, let alone the ones that actually have meaning. I guess that's the greeedy way of doing things and has something to do with taxes and profits.
Is that you manning the cannon? Well, you won't see me trying to get across the border with a greeting like that. You better tell me what falg to be waving as I wouldn't want to ever be accused of being anything ever associated with a teabugger.
Looks like you're having great weather this September. Hope it lasts into October. Those Scots don't Winter there, do they? Like we go down to Tucson?
Glad the Tracker made it. I thought they called that color Raspberry.


Randal Graves said...

I know where to run to when the shit hits the fan. We only have one cannon here in Cleveland.

The old buildings are lovely, but the culinary fare is more than haggis, yes? ;)

La Belette Rouge said...

That last picture totally cracked me up. Love seeing some of your new home town. Keep sharing photos!

Nancy said...

You keep your eyes peeled - we're counting on you!

Lovely buildings. I've always thought Portland did better than some places regarding the tearing down of old buildings, especially compared to here, but Halifax looks like it's done a better job.

susan said...

gfid - I think you'd really like this place and if you want some proof we'd be delighted to show you around. Still don't know what winter's going to be like but I have a feeling it will be milder than the Great White North where you live - you brave woman :-)

I may be waiting by the cannon.
and Fuschia says 'Thank you.'

spadoman - I'm so very glad they've taken such good care to hold onto old buildings here. Most of the new ones (but not all) have maintained the low-rise brick built nature of the historic places so it's a pretty good mix.

I think the Scots winter where they're sure it will be damp and cold - home. Our 16 year old Tracker performed beautifully.

randal - You can hand me the cannon balls or tamp down the gunpowder.

Oh yes, the food is waay better than Haggis. What is that, anyway?

belette - I was so nervous just before we left Portland but our gamble has certainly paid off. I'm having fun and I hope you are too.

nancy - I promise I will.

It was mostly just downtown Portland changes I objected to from what we'd seen earlier. It's still a very nice city overall.