Greetings from halifax my last travelogue ...
Trip Start Jun 29, 1999
29Trip End Dec 04, 1999
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Where I stayed
Auberge le goeland
My last travelogue entries were not as eloquent as I would have liked but I never knew when the PEI Education System's server was going to go down so I had to rush everything. I know you expect flowing prose and elegant descriptions and I'll try harder but first of all I have to be somewhat juvenile to start this latest entry...
For the past 10 days I've been travelling in Quebec and the Acadian part of the Maritimes which means that it has been French first. That wasn't too much of a problem and I kind of liked reading and translating signs in French. That's because of my two favourite French words: coq (meaning rooster) and coque (meaning shell or clam). These two words placed in a sign never fail to tickle my funny-bone as I never bother to translate these words correctly. I just substitute the word "cock". So far I've seen restaurants advertising rotisserie cock and fried cock. My favourite is the chain of corner stores called The Golden Cock.
Tuesday, July 13th
Here's a story for ya...
After leaving my last travelogue entry I headed to the Mill River resort for some golf. I arrived at 1pm and I couldn't get a tee-time until 2:30pm. So I headed to the nearby town of O'Leary which has the PEI Potato Museum. I now know everything there is to know about potatoes - their origins, their migration to North America, the story of the Irish potato famine, all the diseases that can affect potatoes, the farming and cultivation process, how PEI potato production has exploded to make it the largest potato producing area in North America, what kinds of potatoes are best for french fries, and the production stats for every plant (be they Cavendish Farms, Small Fry or McCain's) on the island. After that I still had about half an hour to kill so I decided to grab a quick lunch at a take-out place. I assumed it would take 5 minutes to make my "fries with the works." It ended up taking 20 minutes. I grabbed my meal and raced over to the golf course. I then stuffed my face (I got about halfway through) and ran over to the pro shop. As I was signing my credit card slip I realized that I had once again locked my keys in my car. So as I ran to the first tee I had a lot more on my mind (and stomach) than golf. I promptly rifled my drive off into the bush. Needless to say I had a lousy round and I'll never speak of it again. For those of you who are wondering what "fries what the works" is here's the recipe... take a whole heap of french fries and pile on some ground beef, gravy and peas. After my round I phoned GM Roadside Assistance for the 2nd time in 5 days and waited for the tow-truck to arrive. I then spent the evening at the hostel proving that the best crokinole players in the world come from Southern Ontario.
Wednesday, July 14th
I had planned to golf again but after the debacle the day before I decided against it. I drove over to the quaint, idyllic, charming (fill in your own adjective there) fishing village of Victoria-by-the-sea. It was a nice little town with a beautiful view from the wharf. It's a big enough tourist attraction to get a couple of buses full of blue-hairs. I had lunch at the Landmark Cafe which was really good (salmon on a bagel with caesar salad and blueberry pie). It was a beautiful day and I decided that I would ruin it by driving all over the island so I headed back to the hostel to laze around on the beach. I did make sure that my return trip went through the town of Crapaud (yes, it's pronounced crap-o, and that's the reason why I went). Crapaud is the home of the PEI Tractor Pull Championships. When I got to the beach the tide was just starting to go out. I had never before been in a place where the tide had such great affect on the waterline. After the tide was fully out I could walk hundreds of feet out and still only be in ankle-deep water. I spent a couple of hours chasing crabs, eels, jellyfish, and baby lobster around the tidal pools.
Thursday, July 15th
I had such a great time in PEI that I'm going to give out some free advertising here to the hostel I stayed at. Auberge Le Goeland is just a 15 minute drive west of Summerside PEI and just a few kilometres from the seaside church in Mont Carmel. It's $14 a night if you're using their bed or $8 a night if you're camping. Give Mirielle or Véronique a call at (902) 854-2546. They're only open in the summer. I had a fantastic time there hanging out with the proprietors as well as Mirielle & Robert from Quebec City and Serge Martin and his kids Jean-Michel, Genvieve, and Marie-Michelle from Laval. A warning that this is the Acadian part of PEI so polish up your French skills. I headed straight to Halifax on this day. The drive was nice and shorter than I expected. Nova Scotia is the fifth province in my trip and, thus, the fifth province in which I've heard that damn Ricky Martin song on the radio. I made it into Halifax but upon arriving at the Residences at Dalhousie University I found that I had a flat tire. Somewhere between Truro (where I had lunch) and Halifax I had run over a nail. 3 hours in the Canadian Tire waiting area and $140 later I had a brand new tire. I walked downtown to grab a late dinner. I selected The Argyle because it was busy but not too busy. I sat on the patio and had a fine Scallop and Paste dinner while the place inside filled up with young twenty-somethings ready to mate. From my patio perch I watched young couples look longingly into each others eyes as that seductive songstress Britney Spears mourned the hurt and pain of love-lost. I could almost read their thoughts...
"From the top of his Gap cotton shirt to the Eddie Bauer khakis to the bottom of his Timberland shoes I think I love this guy. Maybe if I let him sleep with me, he'll love me too."
"This hottie has a nice rack."
Then "No Scrubs" by TLC came on and a bunch of dumb girls decided it was a women's lib anthem and ruined the mood.
Friday, July 16th
I felt pretty good this morning because it was the first time in 18 days that I had used an actual bed... and Dalhousie provides a complimentary breakfast. I'm staying in Studley House (how apropos!). I walked all over Halifax today, visiting the Historic Properties, taking a tour around The Citadel, taking a rest in the Public Gardens, and strolling down South Park Road to Pleasant Point Park. For those who like to be creeped out I suggest visiting the Old Burying Grounds which was Halifax's first cemetary. There are stones from the 1700's. Right now I'm at The Ceidilh Connection where I had a nice fish & chips dinner. Tonight I'm going to head to a new bar called the Crush Cafe with all the local indie-rock scene-sters to see the local band North of America who have been called "Canada's answer to Pavement."
Ah yes, who can forget the heady days of the early 90's when Halifax was ever so briefly the centre of all that was hip. The Seattle explosion was settling down and record companies decided that "the next Seattle" was Halifax. Sloan signed to DGC. SubPop nabbed Eric's Trip, Hardship Post, and Jale. Then these guys all broke up or failed to sell enough records in the USA. All we were left with was Murderecords, the personal record label run by the guys in Sloan. Well I was still excited to come here because of this small part of music history in the city and I wasn't in Halifax more than an hour when I spotted my first celebrity - the bass-player guy from The Inbreds. Since then, nobody.
Tomorrow I'll be heading out to Peggy's Cove, Lunenberg, and Shelburne. Hopefully I'll be able to find an internet connection when I get to Cape Breton early next week.