Sunday, October 4, 2009

Newfoundland and Labrador - Whinging from the edge of the world

I'd thought we'd reached our furthest point at the end of the world when we visited L'anse Aux Meadows in Northern Newfoundland. However, now that we are again headed north and east in Labrador, I can't yet say we've begun the journey home. I can't complain, or at least that's what Newfoundlanders say, so instead they write songs. The songs they write have an upbeat tune, depressing lyrics and usually involve a lot of drinking. In that vein I think I need to do a bit of cathartic sea shanty bitching:

Wellllll IIIIII'se
sick o'de road
and sick o'd' van
and oh me lord help me
I'm sick o'd' man...
no wait that's not what I meant. Let's try again:
Well me name's Lori
and I live on the road
I'se happy and healthy
'Til I smelled like a toad.
All me possessions is mildewy grey
and me passion for trav'lin' is slippin' away...
or maybe:
It's another frickin' night without no heat,
another frickin' day out on the peat,
another frickin' mile of freakin' gloom,
but what I'm sick o'frickin' most,
is "Scuze me" ballet in a 4 foot room
You get the idea. Can you tell I'm ready to come home?

Roughing it more than I am:

Actually I don't smell like a toad, but something fungal is growing on my back and considering the environment I could be breaking out in something larger. I'm hoping for chanterelles.

Gros Morne (literally = "majorly gloomy")

I'm pretty much upside down right now.
I started calling Jack, "Melove."

Mr. Carrot meets Ms. Carrot

I'm eating caribou and actually sorry that I didn't buy the mooseburgers from that really drunken guy in Trout River who just wanted us to come over and get stoned. I didn't go. But I even congratulated a hunter on her killing of a big bull moose. My vegetarian ways don't make much sense here. Not that anything makes a lot of sense here.
Seal Meat anyone? Mooseburgers?

It appears that the moose on the island have done some pretty serious damage to the balsam fir forests. The moose are not indigenous and when their populations were small the wolves helped keep them in check. Now there's no more wolves, and people have come to rely on getting a moose each season so there is no appetite to cull the moose populations. Now the indigenous populations of arctic hare and caribou are so stressed that re-introducing wolves (to an extent that would help with the moose) would only stress their populations further. No easy answers, but to have a moose burger periodically.

I'm not really missing my stuff at home as much as I thought I might, just missing warmth and having 4 walls around me. In Newfoundland, the attitudes about property are more flexible than my Victoria Victorian ways. Property lines are not clearly defined and roads become driveways and vice versa without any warning. I've become accustomed to walking across what turns out to be someone's backyard, and when I've been approached, instead of a gruff warning that I expect, I get a warm hello.

If there are berries around people pick them, it doesn't matter where they might be. Jack and I have taken to carrying paper bags in our jackets, since most hikes turn into berry picking epics.

Now imagine a whole hillside of this:

Then there is the Newfoundland front door. If there is a front door in a house, and there typically is, there is no way to get to it from the outside. Often the door will open out to a 4 foot or higher drop-off onto the front yard. People say they are built that way because that's what's on the house plans, but the exterior finishing is unnecessary and expensive. People only come to the back door, and that enters onto the kitchen. The protocol is: knock once, then enter and call hello. On Fogo Island, people explained that it's usually too cold to wait outdoors, so it's only practical to enter the house. No one ever locks the doors, even when not home. However, it is impolite to enter further without an invitation.
I hope they don't sleepwalk:
I know that my homesickness is also upside down, because I know I'll be homesick for Newfoundland when I leave. I hope to import some Newfoundland protocol when I get home. I'll plant some berry bushes on the front boulevard, and please don't lock your back door.

not everyone makes it home
self-portrait after a month of no yoga

1 comment:

  1. These are beautiful photos, Lori! I suspect some of them will become paintings (that last photo is the most gypsy-looking tree I've ever seen...)?

    I loved Mr and Mrs Carrot - You should see some of the shapes of veggies we see here. Root season approacheth - the best shapes come around now!