Headlines for Sunday:

  1. Parry Sound (633 words)



1. Parry Sound: 23:57

One of my friends had recommended the 30,000 island cruise around Georgia Bay, so we made a side trip to Parry—a tourist town halfway between Sudbury and Toronto. We managed to pull into the parking lot *just* as the boat was filling up with people. Good thing, too - ten minutes later and we would've missed it completely!

The Island Queen was a stately three-decked ship with gleaming white sides. As I stepped onto the deck, a crew member smiled a hello. He told me that since I had such a nice camera, I should make sure not to miss the Hole in the Wall and the crooks and crannies of the islands we would pass by. A Toronto Star reporter had been there just a few days ago, he continued. I nodded and cradled my camera close, thinking how much better my dad's pictures would have been had he been there!

The scenery was just as spectacular as the brochures promised. The Hole in the Wall was a narrow, twisting corridor through granite cliffs almost close enough to touch. As the passage widened into harbors and passages, it seemed that every bend revealed a solitary house couched in windswept pine. Some of the larger islands had clusters of cabins and even beaches with park benches.

Seeing all the lush greenery, W remarked that he was no longer quite as concerned with his carbon footprint.

These remote hideaways reminded me of one of the points made by *both* of the books I was reading: it doesn't actually take obscene amounts of money to enjoy the luxuries commonly associated with the lifestyles of the super-rich. I'm sure that a determined vacationer could find a short-term rental here. Reflecting on the amazing scenery passing by us, though, I felt a twinge of dissonance.

This isn't my dream. Many people aspire to going off and having their own private island, but not me. I like a bit of green, yes. I happen to be fond of good postal service and public transit, and I wouldn't want to rely on airlifts in order to get to the hospital. Besides, I like the bustle of the city, with endless things to do and so many people to meet. So that's probably who I am: a city kitty, at least for now.

Still, as I snapped picture after picture from the white rails of the ship, I wondered—what this place must look like in the fall, with all the maple trees aflame!

I'll upload pictures soon. I have around a thousand photos to sort through. Experience has taught me that my little laptop is nowhere near up to the task. Fortunately, W.'s desktop is more than twice as fast as my computer, and the program I found (kphotoalbum) allows me to quickly go through pictures. A friend had recommended keeping even the bad pictures so that we could learn from our mistakes, but who has the disk space and attention span for that? No—I'm going to ruthlessly discard anything that's blurry or can't be salvaged with a little photo manipulation in the Gimp.

My photographs can't do justice to the place, though. It was beautiful. And you know what? I *know* we have beautiful places like that in the Philippines. I know because I've seen the pictures taken by my dad and my sister on their adventures throughout the country. Sure, most of our forests have been stripped by logging and other uses, going as far back as the slash-and-burn tactics used by pre-Hispanic Filipinos—but there's hope. If Sudbury could plant over three million trees in order to reclaim a barren moonscape wrecked by nickel mining and huge ore roasting beds, then the Philippines can too.

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