One travel-fogged night nearly ten years ago, I was on the red-eye from JFK to Shannon and gazed out the window down at the twinkling lights some 35,000 feet below. That glittering land mass beneath me was Halifax, a place I'd never been, but a name I sure liked to say.
For years the place had a strange sort of fascination for me, and whenever life in Da Big Crapple would get too hectic with its rat race pace, life-threatening taxis, and muttering hot dog vendors, I liked to slow down and picture myself in Halifax, what I imagined to be a remote fishing village. There I could pass the days weaving fishing nets, or impressing my friends with some fancy sailor's knots, or doing whatever landlubbers with seafaring hearts do to pass the time.
The real Halifax, when I finally touched down for the first time last summer, turned out to be a tad more urban than I'd imagined in my fisherperson's fantasies. But still, with its fishing boats and seagull-haunted harbors and yummy salt water taffy, I found plenty in it to make me lose myself in the notion that I could be just like the narrator in the Waterboys' "Fisherman Blues."