In my previous post I said we completely relaxed in our first week inn Halifax. That’s obviously not entirely true. While there was certainly some relaxing taking place Claudette and I were busy with many little administrative “tasks” as well. Arranging our new vehicle sticker, laundry, buying some new clothes at the Sally-Ann and another used clothes place, along with catching up on publishing my mostly written European posts were among our long lists of things to do. Granted, there was also some hot ‘n heavy scrabble games between the girls that took place in there as well. During our absence from North America there was a new phenomena sweeping our friends kitchen tables across Halifax, Edmonton & Fort Smith. It is called SETTLERS. Settlers is a dynamic game for 2-6 players that easily changes game play from one game to the next. This is due to small hexagonal board sections that can be moved around after each game to provide a unique board each time. Some of my (and Marc’s) spare time was taken up during our two weeks in Halifax with designing a board holder. Settlers comes with a cardboard outline which holds the loose pieces together, but he had scrolled some thin wooden pieces out to make for better containment. Unfortunately his thin wood pieces had warped and the puzzle style rounded links on the ends no longer locked together. After many discussions and a few prototypes we came up with a design that seemed to work quite well. Since we had a nice big piece of maple veneer we made three sets of game boards at the same time. One extra for a friend back home in Smith, and the third for a friend of Marc & Wendy’s in Halifax. I also made a few trips to the “Dollar” store, and made a complete game for us based on various colored pieces of foam stuck to flexible magnets and then all on a cookie sheet. The playing cards I designed on the computer and printed off to glue on to a cheap pack of regular playing cards. The retain game for $40 plus we needed an expansion pack for another $25+. Inn the end I think I spent under $20 for the equivalent.

We got tired of waiting around for our car to arrive one day and took a taxi to the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. This is a Federal Government set of research labs and coordinating offices for many experiments and projects. Even though it is a scientific research facility, they have the foresight to employ two four month Summer students each year and provide tours for advance bookings only. We arranged one an got in as just the four of us for almost two hours. She initially started us off with a description of the many types of things that they do and coordinate there. Next we visited the live tanks with running experiments of all varieties. Here we saw some huge and mutant lobsters. Some were blue or albino, and obviously represented some of the oddest specimens. We wrapped up the tour with a visit to a cool touch tank. The kids (and even Claudette!) had fun here while I was shooting pictures like crazy!

We did also manage to take in a few other sights before getting the car and heading off to newfoundland. Mainly the very impressive Citadel had a commanding view of the harbor and city, while showing off a nice little collection of 200 year old weapons and period costumes. Mostly, we “relaxed” and caught our break from the previous ten month mad rush (or so it sometimes seemed) around the world.

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