I tried to make a post yesterday but the wordpress app crashed during upload and ended up just publishing the title without any content so sorry about any automatic notifications that went out for that. Unfortunately the text I wrote also got deleted so I’m writing this for the second time but this time in gmail so it auto saves.
Back to the trip, at the moment we’re at a campsite in the small town of Saint-Jean-Port-Joli about one hour east from Quebec which will probably be our next destination and we’ve covered about 1100km since leaving Halifax. We set out from Halifax last Friday so today will be our sixth day on the road.
Jumping back a week, we arrived in Halifax in the late evening on Tuesday the 5th and took a taxi to the city dumping the original idea of taking public transport as we were so tired. On the flight over which was 7 hours long I personally didn’t sleep and it probably had something to with the Canadian immigration officer in Frankfurt telling me I’d be pulled aside for questioning on the other side. This was mainly due to his skepticism of me not having a return or onward ticket, I don’t know why I was grilled in Frankfurt, Franziska breezed through ahead of me without any questions. Once we reached passport control in Halifax I was tired and not ready for questions which was good because the immigration officer just asked is it your first time here? To which I answered yes and she stamped the passport, smiled and said welcome to Canada. All that worry for nothing.
We arrived at our first nights accommodation in Halifax, we booked Howe Hall which is a student dorms open to the public during summer. It was simple and within walking distance of the city centre. The next day we got up early and the plan was to sort out the paperwork with the freight company and customs so that we could pick up the bike. Secondly I wanted to buy a Canadian prepaid sim so that I could call Sue, who my cousin Asa put me in touch with. He had visited Halifax a number of months ago and bumped into her then, Sue is a former deputy mayor of Halifax so she should know the city quite well. On the way into town that morning we stopped by Canadian Tire to see if they had any motorbike covers and next door was a bank so we opted to test our cards to see if they worked ok. There was one other person in front of us at the ATM frantically searching for something in the end she turned around and said I forgot my debit card, ran outside to her Honda scooter and drove off. We were up, the cards worked, first Canadian dollars in our pockets.
Twenty minutes later we were in the city centre and bought a money order from the post office to pay the port charges on the bike. It was relatively painless we just went to the freight company’s office then to customs which was just down the road. Customs told us that the bike was here but couldn’t be picked up until tomorrow. Onwards to a mobile phone shop where I bought a sim card. So far the overall impression is that Nova Scotians are extremely friendly and laid back people I never saw somebody rushing when we were there. Back at Howe Hall I called Sue, she very kindly offered to let us stay at her place until we got on the road which was a hard offer to say no to. Later that day at 5pm she drove by and picked us up.
It was already apparent as we drove through the city that she knew it well as we got an impromptu guided tour on the way to her home. I personally wasn’t aware just how many universities are in Halifax, during the academic year the population almost doubles with the students. As we pulled up to Sue’s house I noticed a Honda scooter parked in the driveway just like the one I had seen that lady jump on early that day when we were at the bank. I thought I’d give it a shot so I asked her if she went to the bank earlier but forgot her debit card to which she answered holy shit that was you guys! What are the odds.
Inside we met Ford the dog and Patio the parrot who later urinated on me while sitting on my shoulder (the parrot not the dog). That evening Sue brought us to the Resolutes Club which is a members bar and her local. It was great to meet the locals, shoot some pool and play shuffle board which is like a miniature version of curling. All in all a very Canadian evening.
The next day Sue drove us to port to collect the bike, I rode it back and parked it in the garage where we would start loading up later. In the mean time Franziska and I used the day to explore Halifax. That evening Sue home cooked and we started organising our gear onto the bike. We didn’t finish until late next morning and we set off on the road at about 1pm after saying our goodbyes and thanking Sue for her hospitality.
About thirty minutes outside Halifax we hit a thunderstorm on the highway with nowhere to take shelter. It was probably the worst rain I’ve ever driven through, the rain drops felt like they were the size of my face and for some strange reason fifty percent of the drivers pulled over onto the hard shoulder and put on their hazard lights. This was very off putting to the foreign driver not used to such customs. Anyway we powered through and stayed in a motel that night due to the weather which luckily lifted the next day and we got to camp for the first time at a town called Woodstock in New Brunswick. We seem to be the only people using a tent to camp with, everybody else seems to have a moveable camping fortress called an RV which are usually larger than the average European family home. It’s quite funny to listen to some of the conversation at night coming from the camping fortresses when your lying in the tent.
To be continued….