Monday, 31st August – Wednesday, 2nd September.
Cities are known for signs. John Zerzan traces the fall of the primitive into civilisation to the beginnings of language, symbolic thought, and technology leading led to hierarchy, violence, and domestication. Walter Ong and Jack Goody presented research that linked literacy to the need to systematise oppression and hierarchy around which time cities came into being. My observation is that signs and symbols are linked to ads and billboards proposing to link people through the information of exchange but whose presence signals the fact that these people lack a presence in togetherness. For, if they were together, why would they need signs, billboards and ads?
As opposed to Digby Neck, where churches and everyone, even funeral homes, welcomed and blessed bikers, in Halifax, churches blessed and welcomed students.
As our generous hosts, Kathleen, Roback and their daughter Halley, have counted, the Maritimes boast the highest concentration of universities per capita in the country. Tuition fees being the highest in the country as well, the students definitely need some outside intervention and blessings. Michael, a friend, has studied for two years in Halifax and shudders at the recollection of long hours spent at the rate of 7.5 Can$/hr in a fancy clothes store, selling shorts and t-shirts for hundreds of dollars each, and where some parents would ask him, “oh, my son is about your size, could you try this on…” while, himself, he wouldn’t dream of wearing any of the items he was coerced to sell. Only, all the church blessings in the world, Michael said, didn’t help pay his tuition and bills. In fact, the church asked him to help pay for the blessings.
The city was green, colourful, and quiet.
Our hosts explained that the city was divided into North End and South End neighbourhoods, the first being the “cartier populaire” and the southern part for the snobs and exploiters. During World War I, the city flourished because of the harbour playing an important role in shipping the resources from the mainland to the western front. Until the Halifax Explosion on the 6th of December 1917, where a french munition ship collided with a belgian relief ship and blew up the North End of the city. About 2,000 inhabitants were killed during the explosion, 9,000 injured and tens of thousands left without shelter. A blizzard descended upon the city the following day, halting efforts of recovery and affecting the infrastructure and social dynamics of the city.
A street in North End today:
The most efficient way to clean, Lasse Nordlund would fully agree, is with self made tools.
Buses come from Mother England:
A little of Taj Mahal in the backyard:
Road workers are ubiquitous in Halifax. One hid behind the pole, while the other two shouted “bonjour Quebec” to us, even though our license plate says: “Je me souviens” or “I remember the betrayal of the French King who abandoned us to the brutality of the English heart”. Yes, the Quebecois have vowed never to forget.
Furniture was thrown all over the city and everyone seemed to be moving. Rent was expensive but salaries even lower than Quebec. Also I saw larger and more trees than in Montreal.
The Harbour in Halifax:
We left Halifax via the northern shore through Dartmouth:
Off to Annapolis Valley and the Bay of Fundy on the way to Digby Neck in part 10