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Market Day in Hamilton

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2005 02 26 Market Day in Hamilton

I spent the last two days in Hamilton Ontario, for what my brother calls "Market Day."

It turns out that Market Day for Nathan is the high point(s) of his week. It has less to do with shopping, and more to do with showing appreciation or reverence to the businesses that have made that city a warm and special home to the nice people who live there.

Over and over he was shushing me! That's because there are an awful lot of less-than-nice people and they can be easily irritated by the things I have been saying accidentally.

Like what? "This area is sooo cool." I thought it was very nice. Old brick homes, clean yards, nice to walk through.

Later, in private, he tells me this area is known for the use of drugs and violence in it. Charming.

But eventually I guess I got the message. He had lots of messages for me. I guess he likes to test my belief system and see if he can rock its foundations.

For him this is friendly banter with me, but I find it so hard! Maybe I'll remember some of the things we talked about and share them online with you sometime.

So he called me at home 830am Friday, I met him at 950am at the cafe near Sheppard Station. We stayed long enough for coffee and bagel, and took the subway to Union.

We boarded the GO Bus out of Toronto to Hamilton, he lightened up. As he expected. The GO buses have a new smell in them, perhaps because they are not like city buses, but are commuter vehicles. They're kept very clean!

We rushed, but transit failed us. We missed the early bus, and didn't arrive in Hamilton until 1130am.

We went to the Farmer's Market, in the Lloyd D Jackson Square.

It's nice. It had a lot of people showing the usual things. Fresh meats, fresh vegetables, fresh spices, fresh flowers, fresh bread.

Nathan goes often, but hardly needs anything. So we just go to show our solidarity with that kind of system. They sellers there seem to know him.

We walk towards his home, and stop at the mexican butcher's store, where he picks up a huge sirloin roast. He likes this particular place because their food is grown by Mennonites, who hate the use of technolgies. And this includes common antibiotics and poisons fed to other animals that are farmed.

When we get to his place, it's really true he doesn't need any more sirloin roasts or other meat. He has plenty. But it makes him happy, and I understand it very very well.

We had a dinner of root vegetables with scented oil, dry roasted sirloan, and some leftover vegetable dishes from the day prior.

Nathan always introduces me to wines he loves. On Friday night it was Ravenswood (vintners blend) Zinfandel. Let me see if I can remember what made it so nice. It was a dark red wine with a soft taste. "Soft (gentle) taste!?" Nathan was mock furious, and realized that he should actively clean my palate. So he brought out some bits of bread, and a few turkish olives. The bread made the wine tastes come out a bit, and the olives made the few minor chemical tastes it had vanish! He said "that's a trick! Eat an olive and even a lousy wine tastes good." But this was a good wine. It didn't bite me in the back of the throat. It coated the glass well, and smelled like nice wine (some Ontario wines smell really weird. Some home made wines smell exceptionally bad!)

I got to sleep in the vacant apartment below. I loved it: I like to sleep on a mattress on the floor, and that's how this was set up. I woke up warm and rested.

Saturday is TRULY Market Day for Nathan. His friend Lloyd joined us. He's a boistrous fellow ready with a laugh and a few funny rough words. He's a lot of fun!

He brought a box of Timbits (donut holes). The chocolate ones were still very warm.

He also brought a bottle of wine: Bin 444, from Australia. It was a red one, a Merlot?

It wasn't as nice as Friday's wine, but it was still clearly nice to swallow.

We found our way back to the Mexican butcher shop, and the guy's sister was making traditional tacos or tortillas on demand. It was a pleasant stop.

We continued along the way, finding a Dollar Joint. Why do I love these places so much? I do though, I really do.

This one as as big as any in Toronto, until I found the staircase to the basement. Goodness! It was twice as big as the ones I'm used to.

We had to sort through a lot of dishtowels, looking for the biggest and the thickest. It was hard.

I like the cleaning products available at this store! Of course, they were all a dollar each, for large bottles filled with whatever. We needed a Windex lookalike.

Once we got to the market, I was thinking about what I could capture in the camera. Nathan suggested the colours and the signs over each display.

This gave me a purpose, and I took shots easily until I filled camera memory. Note to self: buy the camera an SD card soon.

Hey, the Vivitar camera I use is NOT hard on batteries, takes nice stills when I hold the camera without shaking, and seems to make nice 120k pictures at the lowest resolution!

The sun was out for us all day, so we'd sit and talk in the sun before we moved out to the next place.

In our case, we went north on James to Cafe Dunas, a portugese espresso bar.

I got the strongest double espresso there EVER.

I like it with cream, about half coffee, half espresso. Well, this stuff didn't lighten up.

I would just taste a few drops of it every few second, and kind of nursing it still made it last forever.

The strong coffee made me sooo thirsty. I went through about a dozen glasses of their water. I have to commend this place. Their Tap Water must be filtered for it to taste so perfect. Their ice was just right too.

We went to Hamilton's Food Basics from there. It was a very big downtown store. About twice the size of the one nearest my home.

I don't need anything either, but still managed to buy some Crystal Light (singles) and three blocks of Philadelphia Cream Cheese.

We found our way back to Nathan's place. I've been craving fresh raw greens, and while Nathan had them, he wanted to make a fondue for us.

It was nice!! About a cup of white wine, followed by a pound of assorted grated cheeses from Switzerland.

It was rich, and communal.

It's easy to feel close to people if we're sharing a pot of melted cheese this way.

I got walked to the Bus Station in time for the non-existant 830pm bus, but caught the 900pm one, and was home before 11pm.

So here I am now, trying to remember things.

The wines. Saturday's wines were "bin 444" red, and "bin 95" white from Australia. I really liked the white one this time around. It had such a strong fruity smell and even a fruity taste. It wasn't sweet, if that makes sense, but the strong fruit in your nose made up for all of that. It felt like a very friendly wine, suitable for eating and drinking (some wines are best sipped and evaluated; this one was good for washing down fondue).

I guess there are minutia I should recall and share with you, but I'll have to learn how to do that once again. It's been a long time since I've shared simple feelings here with you.

That's all I know.

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