I watched the sun come up this morning over the St. Lawrence River. It was 5:00am here when that event occurred. It turns out that the bed in our little motel room just proved to be too hard for my bursitis, so I spent most of the night in a chair waiting for the aforementioned event. It was worth it. The only other person arousing at that hour was a lonely fisherman. I watched him for about ten minutes. He didn’t catch any fish, but I don’t suspect that was the true reason he was out there. I think he, like me, just wanted to savor his surroundings.
Given all this time to think I have pretty much decided to forsake the two to three day trip around the peninsula and just head over to Nova Scotia instead. That is if I can convince my wife. She seems to have veto power over almost everything I do now days. But, since she seems to be sleeping pretty soundly right now I will have to wait to pose that alternative route. I think I would rather spend a few days in a row at one place in the maritime providences than another day in French Quebec.
My wife says I am fixated on it, but I just can’t seem to get over the seeming arrogance of the French-speaking Canadians. As I said before, everywhere we went in Ontario, and I expect everywhere we will go in New Brunswick we will see dual English/French signs, menus and about everything else. But in French Canada there is almost nothing in English here. While it would be nice to go to some local museums we have come across I’m pretty sure there would be nothing in English for us there so what would be the point. It just seems hospitable if you are surrounded by people speaking another language you would provide basic things in their language as well as your own.
It seems every day in our visit to Canada is not without its challenges. But, then again that is what makes life interesting, I guess. It is kind of like in 1987 during our first vacation as a married couple I lost my wife in a Walmart store in Bozeman Montana. I don’t remember too many other details about that vacation, but I do remember searching for my new bride for over an hour before I found her. But that is a story, so I will get back on track.
We are now in a small motel room in Riviere-Tois-Pistoles. It is a very small town about 200 km north from Quebec (don’t ask how many miles that is as I have yet to figure that out). It is a pretty crude but clean room. The sign above the small sink says don’t drink the water. The motel is off the main road going into town and about a 1/2 mile down a gravel road. There is no a/c or TV, but that is ok. What makes this room so special is its location; it is about 50 ft from the shoreline of the St. Lawrence River. And believe it or not it has wireless internet access, at least up close to the office. The picture here is of a young fellow dipping his feet in the St. Lawrence, which I also plan on doing before we leave in the morning.
Riviere-Tois-Pistoles doesn’t have a restaurant, but it does have a small store that is pretty well-stocked with cheese and such, so that is where we went to get our supplies for supper tonight. I think eating in the view from the picnic table where we will dine will be much more pleasurable than the food and that is how it should be. It was in the upper 80s when we left Quebec but right now it is in the upper 60s with the wind blowing off the River which is probably a mile wide here. I guess I will have to haul out a warmer jacket from the luggage to keep warm.
But now on to the challenges for the day. We are taking Quebec Highway 132, which is a two lane road that goes all the way to the mouth of the river. It will take about two more days to get around before we come back down into Nova Scotia. During our first 200 km of travel we have only come across two small pull-offs where you could stop and take in the St. Lawrence view. One of the difficulties is that for the most part all the land that adjoins the St. Lawrence seems to be in private hands. But we did find the secret to alleviating that problem and that is to seek out the Catholic Church in each town; they are usually against the river, so their parking lots make excellent viewing stands. But there are no restrooms there, so we have to stop again later for my wife’s frequent necessity stops.
The last challenge for the day was when we stopped for a late lunch. We went to a chicken place called Saint Ambien, I think (by the way almost everything in Quebec Canada is named Saint something.) We ordered from the counter and then went to a table to wait for our food. A few minutes later they said our food was ready, but we couldn’t eat it at the tables we were sitting at as we ordered our food from the “Rapide” counter. We tried to explain that we had no idea there was any difference about where we ordered but they at least feigned understanding of English. Except for one, all the tables in the room were empty, but they insisted that we could not eat our food there. The apparent manager of the place came out and told us again that we ordered from the take-out counter, so we had to eat our food outside in the parking lot! As usual my wife took this much more calmly than I did even though she deemed her chicken uneatable because it wasn’t cooked enough for her.
Anyway here we are with our nerves settling down and getting ready for the challenges of tomorrow. I want to include one final picture in this unusually long post (sorry about that). I will undoubtedly be taking many more as the sun sets over the river.
Here we are at the end of day 12 of our Canadian adventure, and we are now in New Brunswick Canada. As I had hoped my wife agreed to skip the rest of the peninsula route and to move on to another English-speaking province. Coping with french only was becoming tiring to me and apparently to her also. We drove about 350 km today to get to Campbellton New Brunswick which is the gateway to the rest of our trip. I’m sure the New Brunswick folk don’t consider themselves a gateway but many vacationers probably do.
Tomorrow we will see an historical site that has been restored around the Acadian history. From the literature it looks like a Williamsburg type event. I am looking forward to it with great anticipation. Since we were on the road for the most part of the day no unexpected events happened. We even managed to find a pretty good restaurant that allowed us to eat our lunch at a table inside. But, of course, it was located in English-speaking New Brunswick. 🙂