In the lobby of the Thompson Hotel by Jessica Lee

I changed up my tune yesterday and decided that since I can't travel right now, I would at least try to meet people who were traveling.

It was a lucky coincidence that I met a client who was playing a gig at the beautiful Thompson Hotel in Toronto.

I don't usually spend a lot of my time in bars or lounges because I don't drink a lot. I prefer tea and coffee to alcohol.

But you do happen to meet some interesting characters in hotel bars; for instance, people who won't tell you what they do as a profession.

I mean, you can't blame a girl for wanting to know if she is chatting with a CEO or a drug lord.

There are some seriously sketchy folk hanging around town.

But I suppose that adds to the mysterious aura hotel bars exude; people meeting up for affairs, discussing business prospects, etc... There is a certain "je ne sais quoi" aspect to this lounge.

It was a pretty chill night though. I picked up some life advice, enjoyed some nice music, got to mingle with fabulously dressed people and tasted a wonderful cocktail made by a very handsome bartender.

The story of the mix CD or why I know all the words of a random Portuguese song by Jessica Lee

About a month ago, I set off on a road trip with a couple of friends around the eastern coast of Australia.

We had all been on road trips before but we all made the same rookie mistake in not bringing along music for the long 3500 km drive.

We were in luck however as we found out the person who rented the campervan before us had left a mix CD in the player. The twelve songs on this CD would be the only music we had during the full two weeks of our driving. As a result, we became extremely familiar with all the songs.

Though it has been more than a month, I can still tell you which song is on which track.

We didn't mind most of the songs, in fact they were songs we would have listened to anyway. There was some Coldplay, Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know" (very fitting for an Australian road trip), Michael Jackson, Mumford and Sons, and some indie bands.

One song stood out in particular because it was in a language we didn't recognize and because the tune was more cultural than the rest of the songs on the CD.

I immediately took a liking to this strange and mysterious song and soon learned the words after playing it many many times repeatedly to the chagrin of my travel buddies. They liked the song too, just not as much as I did.

It's refreshing and a little exciting to not know what the words you sing mean. Or to not even know the language of what you're singing. We had deduced the song was European, but that's as far as we got despite my repeated google searches to find out more about the song. In my travels, I met a lovely German couple who recognized the song when I sung it to them, but they didn't know the origins either. However the fact that they knew the song confirmed it was popular in the European market. I didn't figure out more about the song after that. My search to find out more about the song ended soon after the trip finished.

That is, until the other day.

I met three Italian men on the beach in Bali. We got to talking about music and they revealed the song was actually Portuguese. This time, I managed to find out the name of the song through Google after adding "portuguese" beside a lyric I sounded out. After a month and a half, I FINALLY found the name of the song.

The song is called "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" and is performed by Michel Telo. In English, the title is roughly translated to "Ah When I Get My Hands On You".

Basically for the past month, I've been singing in Portuguese of the naughty things I'm going to do to some hot girl at a dance club when I get my hands on her. I think this is hilarious because now I know how to pick up chicks in Portuguese. I mean, if I ever wanted to.

It's a really catchy song so you can't really blame me for singing it nonstop. Even now that I know what the lyrics mean, I would still sing it aloud in public if I ever went to visit Portugal.

Listen here for yourself and let me know what you think:

Readers, I'd love to hear from you! Do you have any strange or funny stories involving language on your travels?

Canadiana by Jessica Lee

I love Sydney very much but sometimes I miss Canadian things like poutine and beaver tails.

I've been in Sydney for a month now and I have finally met enough Canadians to have a "Canadian night".

We're going to eat poutine and pancakes with Canadian maple syrup and possibly sing the national anthem.  We don't have Canadian beer unfortunately but I might make some apple cider with cinnamon.

Poutine is fries (or as they like to call them here 'chips') with gravy topped with cheese. A beavertail is not an actual beaver tail. It's a deep fried pastry sprinkled with brown sugar and topped with lemon juice. Or sometimes they add Nutella or maple butter to it. Beavertails are pretty much my favourite thing ever. I like them more than Cinnamon buns and cake and pie and cookies.

I'm pretty excited because I just made a Canadian playlist on my Zune to play tomorrow.

Some of the artists include:
Michael Buble, Broken Social Scene, Down with Webster, Justin Bieber, Drake, Our Lady Peace, Feist, Avril Lavigne, The Trews, Trebel Charger, The Stills, Soul Decision (yes they're Canadian), The Moffatts (The Canadian version of Hanson), Pilate, Sam Roberts, Sarah McLachlan, Mariana's Trench, Bryan Adams... And some indies like Jeremy Fisher and Paper Lions.

We have quite a lot of talent on our shores and I'm very proud of our country. Not only for our socialist views and peace keeping, but also because Toronto and Vancouver both make a lot of "best city to live in" lists. I am proud of our people because we're friendly and hardworking. We are multi-cultural and accepting.

And generally when I tell people here that I'm Canadian, they have a good reaction.