Goodbye to North America

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I took this photo today at the Santa Monica Pier. I rode there and back from Hermosa and it was hot and sunny and blazing. Afterwards I jumped into the sea, and then lay down on the sand and listened to the waves and chatter. This is the last piece of sky that I’ll see in North America, for now.

Five months ago I took off by myself hoping to discover new places. I have. Some of them I’d go back to and stay forever, some I was happy to leave behind, all of them I’m glad to have seen. I know that I’ll have an ongoing relationship with this whole continent and a solo trip wasn’t a bad first date.

There have been plenty of ups and not too many downs. I haven’t been lonely. People everywhere are interesting and interested. The thrill of getting onto a long-distance train armed with only a backpack will, unsurprisingly, never dull for me.

There’s probably much more I could say about it. Meeting people on the road, independence, culture shock, solitude, top ten places to visit in Canada, etc. But the reason I came here again to California, my first love, was to switch all of that off. Just the sea and the sun and, weirdly enough for Los Angeles, the peace.

I’m fine with coming home. See you soon, Sydney.

 

Goodbye, Toronto/Clouds of Sils Maria

Photo on 4-09-2014 at 6.56 pm

Today is my last day in Toronto. I’ve been here for three and a half months. Tomorrow night I’ll be in Brooklyn. I’m living decadently in a hotel, with room service and a king bed all to myself.

Goodbye, Toronto! Thanks for the streetcar rides, donuts, smiles and sunny days. And goodbye to beautiful Canada. I’ll surely be back.

Last night I had the opportunity to go to an opening-night film at the Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF is the biggest party of the year here, and arguably the largest and most influential film festival in the world. I saw Clouds of Sils Maria, at the Princess of Wales theatre on King St.

It was a long, literate, layered film about the passing of time and suffering for one’s art, set against grand Swiss landscapes and luxurious hotel rooms. Director Olivier Assayas and star Juliette Binoche were both there at the premiere. The radiant Juliette told us that she had challenged Olivier to compose a strong, complex female role for her. I found the premise more interesting as the film progressed – a middle-aged actress agrees to remake a play that made her famous 20 years prior. Of course Juliette is perfect in her role as Maria, but I know that everyone is going to be/already talking about Kristen Stewart, who plays Maria’s personal assistant Valentine. She’s completely believable and obviously wise beyond her years. Really. Also, this film passes the Bechdel test with flying colours. Four stars from me, even with the trademark bizarre editing.