Towards Cape Breton
We left P.E.I. in the morning on Saturday, the 29th of August, spending the day on an isolated beach in New Brunswick.
In the evening, we headed towards Nova Scotia, spent the night close to Tatamagouche planning to proceed along the coast to New Glasgow and down south to Halifax, but, tuning in to the spontaneity of the universe can take one in a different direction towards the most interesting encounters with the world.
Coming from P.E.I. and New Brunswick, the closer we got to Nova Scotia, the more I found myself talking about my long ago experiences in England. Yes, Nova Scotia has awakened the buried memories of grey skies, solitary ocean waves, the ubiquity of the British flag gently flapping in the breeze like the rosy cheeks of Mother Queen, and the trauma of English breakfast.
I had never given much thought to the possibility of having been traumatised by English breakfast until this day, but, for some mysterious reason, I found myself unable to shut up at the horror of, wherever I went in England, every single day, first thing in the morning I had to face mashed potatoes, bacon with eggs and eggs with bacon, in addition to the white puffy thing they called English muffin with plastic-like marmalade. I never imagined that so many years later, one day, I’ll start shuddering and stuttering about it, and least of all, here in North America, the land of royal burgers and their kings. Talk about subconscious connections!
I woke up in the morning in face of reality: the connections were no longer subliminal. Signs of civilisation were definitely more numerous than in New Brunswick, and all the many of them were decorated with the flapping flag of the Brits. With each step east towards the rising sun of Mother England, the grass grew heavier, the grey waves — stricter, and the Englishness brighter and flappier.
Two British and two Canadian flags, i.e. one of each per capita:
Even forest gnomes live under British flags next to the road:
Also, Canadian monuments reminded me of the Soviet dedication to the sacrificed soldiers. I have always suspected that the zeal to bring down the Soviet Union was motivated by envy:
All along route 6, cafes boasted signs for affordable and, as they claimed, edible English breakfast. Having suffered my recollections of the Very Great Britain all of the previous day, Sasha and Ljuba dashed to see the splendour of English breakfast for themselves. Yes, it was real. Every cafe that we entered boasted square tables in square rooms with English-looking grey-haired people sat with straight stiff backs next to plump, rosy cheeked boys, sometimes girls too, chewing bacon and eggs and eggs and bacon, mashed potatoes and the whole galore right down to the English muffin. This happens all over the province. No wonder the hog farms were rampant in the eastern provinces.
But English breakfast and flag is not all there is to Nova Scotia.
If New Brunswick is the land of DDT and poisoned dreams, P.E.I — of potatoes and characters who think they are potatoes, then Nova Scotia is the realm of cemeteries, which we found in great abundance along most unexpected spots, and of The Church of the Armed Man usually with some thick and long protrusion hanging from his behind:
Here, they got it all: the cemetery, the breakfast, and the sacred house of the armed man:
It was Sunday, so apart from the notorious breakfast, everything was closed. Finally, in River John, we came across an artisan shop with vegan snacks, herbal teas and fresh brewed coffee. The owner was friendly and talking to some elderly couple who were having breakfast. While we were getting coffee, she inquired about where we were coming from and where we were heading to, told us a bit about the place and before we left, gave Ljuba a whole bunch of large almond and peanut cookies and biscuits that fed us through the day. The generosity was touching and welcoming.
Otherwise, River John was foggy, quiet, inducing a contemplative mood.
In addition to the regular flags, the main plaza boasts allegiance to the U.S.A.:
Our next stop was in Pictou, the place where the Scots – without any invitation by the locals or visas or passports – landed Ship Hector in 1773. The official town’s tourist website acknowledges that the illegal aliens would have perished through the long winter and the diseases they brought with them from Europe, if not for the sharing and caring Mikmaqs, who, when showing them how to survive, had no idea what these aliens were going to bring unto them and their world in such a near future. They couldn’t imagine that the sea shall be devastated, the wildlife exterminated, the land privatised, the forests poisoned and cut down, food confiscated and put under lock, labour unequally valued, and a government run by rich white men would be imposed on everyone, and all the rest that comes with civilisation (the wikipedia entry on Pictou, though, is prone to amnesia and fails to mention the Mikmaqs at all).
The aliens have come out of sea:
There used to be an old fisherman in Pictou and wet floor.
continued in part 7