Day 94: Last Day in Atlantic Canada




We're up early helping Gin and Quinn load up for their long cross Canada drive back with the Starship and all the bikes. Sue and Darrell turn up to help bid them adieu, with hugs all around. Basically its 10 days at 800 kms a day. Quinn will do most of the driving, with Gin co-piloting and keeping him awake. She has driven a bit on the prairies however and will get behind the wheel, once they have Montreal and some busy highways in their rear view.

The day is bright but emails keep me busy until my massage appointment at 2. Originally I wanted to go out cod jigging, but sadly the season closed the day before. Although many say the fishery will never open again, there has been a resurgence in some areas and they have opened a recreational fishery, where fishers can keep up to 5 cod. I was told in some parts that the cod were so thick that many came up on the gig, side hooked or gut hooked, which attests to the density of the schools.

There's a distinct difference in attitude and custom here in NF. Humour is a big thing and whether it comes as a substitute for fancy clothes or slim hips, I'm not sure, but few are gloomy and seem to laugh easily and enjoy letting their hair down. Sitting down behind a beer like they do in England and Ireland is evident in St. John's too. Waitresses are all, "Darlin', what'll it be" or "Love can I get you a menu" or "That'll be fine sweetie". After a light lunch its a quiet afternoon of reading and relaxing. The day passes quickly and as the sky darkens I am out for one last forage into St.John's night life. Instead of busy Georges St., I choose the quieter Water St. and duck into an old Celtic Pub for a bite. Being my last chance at Atlantic fare, I'm on to the cod tongues (I wonder if there's no cod where they all come from?). These are chewily delicious and served with pickled cucumber and onion. This delight is followed by lamb pie with a puff pastry your mother, no not even your grandmother could make. Wow, no searching around for the lamb in this one. This is not M & M meatshops. The honesty prevails throughout here, even in the food.

The walls are adorned with cool stories and pictures of notorious St.John's residents. How about Mattie Strong, a famous drunk whose ploy was to stage a seizure in front of saloon doors until a passerby came by with a sympathetic tot of rum. What about Dickie Magee, after been badly beaten and cast on the Rock by a British ship in 1870, set himself up as a wannabe Sherlock Holmes, bragging he could solve any crime in turn for chew of tobacco. Fred Raymond wore 3 hats and 2 coats at one time. He boasted he could drink any man under the table and warmed up by drinking 2 glasses of olive oil and 5-6 rums just to see if he was in drinking trim.

Passing by the bars on George St. for the last time, the Irish music blaring and the rooms full of hardy laughter, it's a good reminder that life is to be enjoyed. Newfoundland, a special piece of Canada to be sure.

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