Wednesday, August 22, 2007
East of Ordinary
Well folks, now that I'm back, let me start by telling you I had a fantastic vacation. Had there been more wireless internet available, there might have been more posts, but our days were pretty full of living life large...as it should be on holiday. So that said, we left Gagetown, the quaint little village down the winding road and headed for the hills. (I'm sensing that there will be more than a few clichés here tonight, so be prepared.) And the hills were enchanting. I recall thinking to myself, but aloud, as most of you know I am prone to doing, that if there is a heaven, it is in Cape Breton.
As we crossed the Canso Causeway, the body of water that makes Cape Breton an island (and its not all that big a body of water either), I was captured by the rugged topography: the hills, the trees and the lakes. I've never been to Scotland, but I know I've read that the land was torn from there as the continents drifted apart, and I can really believe it. It's no wonder the Scots emigrated there and stayed.
Here's a picture of the Causeway.
It's a wonder no one drives right into the strait with that monster of a hill staring at them. That is a train, running alongside the road, which effectively made it impossible to get a good picture of the water beyond it.
As we crossed the water, the excitement became almost unbearable because we were off to St. Ann's and the Gaelic College. Now, I don't know if any of you had the chance to go away to camp when you were kids, but I did not. Well, not until Air Cadets when I went to Trenton Base for 2 weeks of Basic Training and let me be totally honest with you...this was loads more fun.
The greatest part about going to this place, so far from home, was that I was going with a great guy, and we were meeting up with a bunch of people I'd already met. Plus, we made tons of new friends along the way, one of whom was married to a guy Bruce went to school with! Nothing like travelling to the ends of the earth to meet up with people who you have connections with.
So, here's the guy...Bruce. (Click on the pictures for a larger view. In theory this will work, I've never tried it before. Only time will tell.)
Here are some of the people we knew:
and Maureen and Joan and Kay (I had the distinct pleasure of meeting these ladies at Kay's in Toronto last November and look forward to the reunion there again!)
And the Amazing InBobNeato who refused to have his real name used to avoid infamy!
InBobNeato was an excellent participant in everything. We both took step dancing classes for the very first time in our lives. Now, Bob is a Pys.Ed teacher, so this form of physical torture did not do to him what it did to me. And I was not aware of what it was doing to me until I made the mistake of joining the fellas for a couple of cold ones at the Lobster Galley restaurant. This is situated 2 minutes by car (and 15 minutes walking there...downhill...with a cold beer on your mind). The view on the patio is breath- taking. It is situated at the base of a fjiord. There were jellyfish in the bay (this was fine with me as we were not in the bay with them). There was a bald eagle surfing the air currents. And far out, there was a kayaker enjoying the sun and the breeze. Idyllic. Perfect. Look.
I mentioned it was a 15-minute walk downhill. Yeah, not so going back up. Actually, if you could have harnessed the energy I wasted bitching, whining and moaning the whole way up the steep incline all the way back to the college, the school could have saved a day's electricity. My legs were BURNING AGONY. And why is InBobNeato amazing? Because not only did he put up with the noise (as did Bruce...although there was some making fun going on), but he promised to fix the problem when we got back. For a bit, I thought this might involve violence or weaponry or, God forbid, more step dancing, but in truth, he worked some physiotherapy that made all the pain in my legs go away. For teaching me this little trick (and for showing Bruce how to do it) I owe a huge debt of gratitude. (I know you all want to know for the next time you break yourselves having fun. So, I'll share. If you've overdone it and your leg muscles are getting really tight, you can trick your body into releasing those muscles. Lie on the ground and raise up one leg and get someone to support it. Then, as they apply counter pressure...by trying to hold your leg up, push your leg down toward the floor. Do it 3 times. Each time, you'll be able to raise your leg a bit higher. Repeat for other leg.) Seriously folks, it worked so well, I jumped up and down afterward.
All Hail Bob!
And with that first installment of Gaelic College and Cape Breton, I HAVE to get some sleep. Good night!