Canada, here we come...

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Flag of Canada  , New Brunswick,
Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This morning we continued our journey, but this time stayed with the coast road as it wound its way northwards along the coast of Maine. The road was far from smooth...

Passing through the town of "Perry' we crossed the 45th parallel, exactly half way between the equator and the North pole. Awesome!
We were heading for Calais (pronounced Ka-las) which is the border crossing into Canada. We had made sure that all our paperwork was in order - passports/driving licenses/vehicle documentation and insurance. We had checked the fridge and made sure that we weren't carrying any prohibited goods, in fact we had done everything possible to make our entry as smooth as possible. From previous encounters with various immigration officials we didn't want anything that would cause any hassles this time. We did a little bit of last minute shopping
 and then filled up with fuel as we knew it would be more expensive across the border and joined the short queue to cross the bridge that would take us into Canada. Well suffice to say that literally 2 minutes later we were there! With just a couple of questions and a very pleasant "Welcome to Canada" from the official at the border we had left US soil. By now we were very excited at the thought of seeing Leo & Nat again and here we were in New Brunswick (our 4th Canadian Province by the way)

We followed route 1, through the road works!! And drove on towards St.John which as you can see is a busy commercial port - with guess what - a cruise ship in!

Parts of our journey now will be along the Trans Canadian Highway - the highway we had traveled last fall on our journey from Vancouver to Calgary, so we began it on the west coast and here we are heading for the eastern most section, though it has many names as it crosses the Provinces and is not really continuous. Kind of satisfying - even though we have missed out thousands of miles in the middle! After the early road works

 the road was good and we made easy progress towards our chosen destination at Shediac in New Brunswick, after some 6 1/2 hours and 300 or so miles we pulled into the campsite, relieved to have made it. We were given a really nice warm welcome by the "French" hosts, but were rather surprised to find we had lost an hour along the way - these time zones just creep up on you!! The site is in a great spot

 and the town is quite delightful - even if it is French! The Acadian influence is everywhere, but does not seem as hostile as in Quebec. Its greatest claim to fame seems to be the huge lobster that sits on the shoreline...

Shediac is a community of firsts! New Brunswick's first steam sawmill was built here, the first passenger railroad in the Maritimes was located here, and this is where the first shipbuilding firm in New Brunswick started out. And with such a vibrant and rich Acadian culture and heritage, it's also fitting that this was the home of the first Acadian World Congress.

Obviously the lobsters are infamous, but not far along the coast we happened upon another product of the area. On Wednesday as we were exploring the coastline, which by the way is quite open and must be harsh in the winter I should think, we saw several fish processing plants. You know us anything a bit different- anything for a good photo, so we turned down a short lane to see 'what we could see' so to speak. Well we were richly rewarded, there outside one of the huge sheds was a rack of fish - what did you expect I hear you say - wait it gets better! I got out to take some photos of these compliant subjects and noticed that there was a lot of smoke in the shed, there was a chap on a small fork lift truck moving stuff around so I asked if it was OK to take photos. We were invited to have a look can too...

Some fascinating facts for you as well, the smoke shed holds about 4000 fish and they 'lodge' there for about a month!! The fish arrive and are salted to preserve them until they are taken to be smoked, depending on the season they may be in the salt for2 weeks to 2 months. Once 'processed' they can last for up to 2 yrs. Most of the smoked fish from this area are exported to Haiti and the Dominican Republic and many of the people who live here in Cap- Pele work in the industry. Our 'hosts' kindly got us some samples to try, yes Malc was in his element (those of you who know him will be well aware of his penchant for all things fishy!) I was less enamoured but did try a little was a bit salty! No surprise there! Malc thought it was sweet and much better than the ones he had had for breakfast which had been bought from the local supermarket. So all the more knowledgeable about smoked fish we thanked the workers and left them to continue smoking.
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