Rowing Regatta, Cape Spear, Duke of Duckworth

Trip Start Jul 30, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Newfoundland and Labrador,
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I'm feeling in good form this morning after my luxurious sleep on this sofa bed and take the dogs for their morning walk. Apart from having to collect their warm poo in a thin bag, it’s a wonderful way to start your morning.  We explored all over the campsite and I was back again to my coffee and breakfast making duty.  Another morning of eggs on toast – quite civilized considering our 'camping’ status.  Although anyone who considers RVing as camping has never enjoyed a night in an RV.  It’s a rather plush experience by most people’s standards.

Internet is the first item on the agenda.  Thank you Visitor’s Centre!  Next is the rowing regatta at Quidi Vidi Lake, which, if you can believe it, is a provincial holiday!  EVERYBODY is here!  Literally, about 15,000 people litter the perimeter of a lake and, during the lulls in the races on the water, are entertained by little booths of circus games that ease money from your hands, trying to get rings on bottles or tickets with the right numbers.

As my culture shock settles in and I burst to eject myself from this pit of inbreeding, the sun comes out.  Rather than improving the situation, it simply intensifies the sweat – on all of us – joy – and sparks a thirst for many things.  In need of a beer, Erik starts experiencing his own culture shock:  it’s illegal to drink in public in Canada!  Nobody is wandering around with a beer!  Is there even any beer here?  We ask that question and receive a chuckle in return.  Resignation of our current hellish situation descends and we respond by moving faster to hopefully eventually emerge from this mob that is shockingly entertained by the bulging stalls of tat.

Another twenty minutes of squeezing through this incessant crowd of ‘hicks’ (sorry), we emerged before a sight of much disgust:  the corralled beer tent!  Yes, in Canada, if you wish to drink in public, you have to do so behind a double-layered fence, protecting the public from the stench and disease of these misfits.  How backward can my country possibly be?  Get with the times, Canadian government!  You embarrass me!  And yet, in we go.

Queue.  Show your ID.  Pay your fiver.  Swap that inside the tent for a single beer.  A single Molson Canadian beer.  Not exactly class.  But at least it was ice cold.  We drink, we receive the silent slap on the wrist the government is trying to issue to all who dared enter these sullied grounds, and we return to continue pressing through the mobs. 

Eventually the space around our shocked bodies increases and we find ourselves shaking off the experience and walking faster to distance ourselves for good from the chaos.  We walk full circle around the lake as we aren’t about to retrace our steps.  A peaceful walk emerges before us and the scenery of the masses is picturesque from a distance.  But isn’t it always that way?  The townships of South Africa?  The shantytowns of India?  The mud huts of Africa?  Don’t they always look attractive in the pictures?  Transport yourself into the middle of the chaos, however, and you’ll feel the picturesque evaporate to the grotesque.  Reality is often best savoured from a distance.  Best enjoyed in photographs.

After a total of 6.2 kilometres of walking, we are back at the truck and en route to Cape Spear, the most Easterly point of North America.  More barren beauty, lighthouses, rugged coastline, St. John’s in the distance slowly being smothered with fog rolling in from the hills behind, more walking.  After another 2.2 kilometres of wandering around the area, it is definitely time for dinner.  To the Duke of Duckworth pub we go!  

We meet up with inspiring friends Mary Jane and her lovely new husband, Justin.  We enjoy exceptional fish and chips and a nice pint each.  When the bill arrives, Erik and I have a heart attack as we are about to pay almost $8 per pint!  Not even in a swanky London drinking establishment will you ever pay anything near the equivalent of this price!  To calm our shock, it’s again time to sleep, despite my sister’s arrival at midnight.  Again, the young’uns need to sleep and the 60-somethings stay up to collect Terri from the airport!
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