Adventures in Newfoundland: Bussed and Screeched Day 10, Day 11 & Day 12
Friday morning we got up and drove to Deer Lake. Then we got on a bus for over 9 hours and ended up in St. John’s. This gave me lots of time to reflect on my impressions of Newfoundland. Here are some I may not have mentioned before:
There are lots of snails here. People say, “ma dear” and “ma darlin’” and “ma luv” to strangers. Music is an important part of the culture, though I haven’t seen anyone spontaneously break into a jig as of yet. I have enjoyed the wondrous Ugly Stick. I figure during the long, cold winters of fog and near isolation, music passes the time. It also seems like a lot of Newfoundlanders smoke. Highways are called “Trails” – this is like how it is in Calgary. People are VERY friendly. For instance, when Mark and I got on the bus, many of the people that had been riding since Corner Brook had gotten off for a little stretch. We accidentally sat in someone’s seat. When he got on, he asked if we’d pass him his book which he’d left in the seat. Mortified, we offered him his seat back. To which he replied that we’d better keep it because we might not find two seats together, he’d just move seats. I was shocked. Store that under lists of things I have yet to experience in the Greater Toronto Area.
Cory and Sarah picked us up from the bus stop. We promptly returned to Sarah’s parents house and drank some wine and beer then went out to experience George Street. It reminds me of how I imagine Mardi Gras would be. The road closes down entirely, there are banners strewn across the street and people drinking and smoking and laughing everywhere. And it was there, at a pub called the TCPTS (The Closest Pub To S??(some taxi company)) that we became unofficial Newfoundlanders via the age-old tradition of being Screeched In. It consists of drinking a shot of an awful drink called Screech (which is just really bad dark rum) and then kissing a cod. We didn’t have to kiss a cod, but the bar tender did give us shots of Screech and Sarah took some pictures. We have no record of this event because later Sarah’s camera fell in a puddle. However, we swear it is true.
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Saturday morning we went to the Casbeh for brunch (Sarah’s brother Stephen works there). It was delicious, but Cory was VERY hung over so he didn’t get to truly experience the joys of the Casbeh brunch.
We walked down to Fred’s (the “record” store) again. Stephen had assured us there was an older guy who worked at Fred’s who should know where Mark could get a DaSlyme record. DaSlyme is supposed to be the fifth punk band to ever record their songs to vinyl. They then use old record sleeves from other bands and spray paint their name over it. They are originally from Newfoundland. The man Stephen had referred to actually had some DaSlyme records which were given to him by the band about 30 years ago. He sold it to Mark for a measley $140.
Sarah drove us out to Cape Spear – it was foggy but still beautiful (this seems to be a theme). Looking down at the rocky coastline, apparently a number of tourists are lost every year because they climb down to touch the water and are swept away by the crashing, icy waves.
We had dinner at Subway (which features a lobster sub in Newfoundland). Then we checked into Cantwell House, our final B&B in Newfoundland. What a way to end the trip, though. It was warm and inviting and luxurious and beautiful. The room looked fit for royalty. The bed was soft and plush. Our private bath had mountains of towels. And up on the third floor was a beautiful lounge area with a computer for guest-use and a balcony overlooking the whole city. If only we’d booked THIS place for all our nights in Newfoundland. Truth be told, it cost exactly the same as Anna’s House. And the innkeeper, Mary, asked us if we’d mind sleeping in a bit and coming to breakfast around 9 or 9:30. We were HAPPY to accommodate that request.
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We’re going home!
Breakfast was relaxed and refined (served on fine china). Then we fell into a nice conversation with Mary and her daughter (who is also her cleaning lady) as we checked out. We put a pin on the map they have on the wall because no one from Thunder Bay has been to Cantwell House yet. All the beautiful paintings and photographs in Mary’s dining room were done by friends of hers. There are many talented artists in Newfoundland.
When our cab driver showed up, I nearly laughed out loud. He looked as if he had spent the night on George Street and not bothered to go home before beginning his taxi shift. He had a shirt on that was mostly unbuttoned (at the top and at the bottom). Really, he’d only bothered to do up two buttons in the middle over his belly button. However, we talked him and up the cab ride only cost us $12.75. Our cab ride on the first day cost us $22.50 (same distance – but he didn’t run the meter for some reason). So we either got hugely ripped off on the first day, or this guy just liked us so much he cut us a deal.
Security at the airport was fairly strict. I couldn’t bring my Gravol on the plane, so I had to quickly swallow one and throw out the rest. Mark got “wanded” even though he didn’t beep as he walked through the metal detector. He had to take off his belt and the guy even felt his shoes. However, there was a sixty year old woman a few feet over having the same thing done to her. What Mark was more worried about was his DaSlyme record, carefully slipped into his carry-on bookbag. It made it through security and rode home on his lap on the airplane. A guy in line in front of me had a telescopic baton (not allowed) and a jack knife (REALLY not allowed).
We played some cards as we waited for the plane and recounted the highlights of our trip. I am glad everything happened in the order it did – from bad to good to great. Everything does work out, even if it’s not exactly in the way you planned.