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The End

Dartmouth, Canada


Well all good things come to an end and we were coming to the end of our sojourn. Our last day started early again at 6am before a lovely breakfast to set us up for the day. We were joined at the table by a pleasant couple (and ultimately their 14 year old son); wife born locally, husband originally British they were currently living in Toronto and on a househunting trip looking to live in NS. They may have some problems as their son didn't share their dream of a less cosmopolitan lifestyle.

We had some time before our flight so took a leisurely drive along the coast to Dartmouth. We wanted to visit the Quaker house - a fine example of how people lived in early Dartmouth. And we thought we may be able to pick up some last minute souvenirs. The Quaker house was staffed by 'interpreters' in period dress and a tour of the house was given by an interpreter who explained the history of the place as we travelled through its rooms. Once again, you couldn't help but admire the stoicism of those early folk though it struck me again that we look at their conditions through modern eyes and we are generally much more pampered and less tough than they were, so trying to understand and look at their world is rather like looking through the wrong end of a telescope. The whaler's wives would frequently wave goodbye to their husband and if they came back it would not be less than 3 month's later and was often 3 years. Whale oil was the wonder fuel of the age, very valuable but dangerous to harvest, as any reader of Moby Dick will understand.

Leaving the Quaker House, we trawled a few streets to see if we could find where the shops were. There didn't appear to be much at all in the way of a commercial centre such as we know it and we came to the conclusion that anyone who wanted to shop took the ferry to Halifax.

We discovered Dartmouth's secret on the way out - a huge new shopping centre built at Dartmouth crossing. I am sure locals have no problem negotiating the intracacies of the motorways intersecting here but it seemed to me a bit like a Telford town centre constructed between and around Gravelly Hill superimposed on the M5/M6 link at Jn 8. Thank goodness for TomTom. The shopping centre was a disappointment for us, being intended for serious shopping with boutique stores, clothes and shoe shops and all the other appurtenences of a town centre apart from a souvenir shop. But we did find a nice place for lunch so it wasn't a total waste of time.

And so to the airport. Car checked in and accepted, luggage checked in and accepted, then the queue for security clearance. Just for once, I happened to have the passports and boarding passes with Sue immediately in front of me. There was a female guard directing traffic to the desks processing x-ray & metal detectors etc. To say that this creature had had a charisma bypass would be rather like saying that Ghenghis Khan was a bit grumpy. Her communication skills had been honed to a point as sharp as the front of a London Transport double decker. She successfully seperated us by directing Sue to 'step on the mat' in front of her while her highly trained sensors located an appropriate place to send her. She mumbled to Sue 'go down there' and pointed somewhere vauguely in the direction of several desks. Despite not hearing because of her hearing loss, Sue gathered what was required and pointed out that she needed her boarding pass and I had it. The exasperated harridan muttered something that neither of us could catch; I thought she now wanted me to step onto the mat and moved forward to be told - 'NO', so I moved back obediently. (Never tangle with a Border Guard). She had successfully managed to confuse both Sue and me, which may well mark completion of page 5 of the border guards operation manual. 'Both of you go down there' she finally clarified at raised volume and slowed speech so that we imbeciles might finally grasp what was required of us. Still somewhat confused we got to a desk where we were duly welcomed.

After a good flight, we approached Toronto over the islands. On landing we collected our bags and started the whole process all over again but compared with Halifax, it was a doddle. We just had time to grab a snack of nachos with beef and jalapenos with a pint before the cafe closed then settled down with our kindles for a couple of hours before our flight to Manchester.

We managed to grab some fitful sleep on the flight then stayed up 'till about 10 before going to bed. Jet lag was quite bearable this time so perhaps the plan worked!

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on August 17, 2012 from Dartmouth, Canada
from the travel blog: Go West then go East
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