Sunday, September 30, 2012

Throw-Up

Throw-Up @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Fun House

Fun House @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

re-

re- @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Tower of Progress

Tower of Progress @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

The Way Things Are

The Way Things Are @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

All Night Convenience

All Night Convenience @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Eva Kevalam - Shifting Time and Space

Eva Kevalam - Shifting Time and Space @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

9 Beet Stretch

9 Beet Stretch @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Flat Space

Flat Space @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Museum for the End of the World

Museum for the End of the World @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

REFLEXION

REFLEXION @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Ryerson University

Ryerson University @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

AURA

AURA @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Light Seeds

Light Seeds @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

RDIGITALIVE

Ryerson University projects @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO



Thought Balloon

Thought Balloon @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Moth Maze

Moth Maze @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Top Down

Top Down @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Lenticularis

Lenticularis @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

The QR Poetry Project

The QR Poetry Project @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

The Day after Tomorrow

The Day after Tomorrow @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Tethered Motion

Tethered Motion @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

The Evening News (small craft warnings)

The Evening News (small craft warnings) @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Water Will Be Here

Water Will Be Here @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Chase

Chase @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Invisible Streams: As Above, So Below

Invisible Streams: As Above, So Below @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Beam of Underground Sun

Beam of Underground Sun @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Spin

Spin @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Green Invaders

Green Invaders @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

High Water

High Water @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Lifecycles

Lifecycles @ Toronto's Nuit Blanche. #snbTO

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

ELEVEN: land of 10,000 lakes


The drive back from Fortune to St. John's was as pretty, if not even prettier, than the drive from St. John's to Fortune.  Especially the Burin Peninsula part of the drive.  And this time, knowing that there were practically no predetermined spots for stopping and enjoying the views, we made an effort to pay more attention and stop wherever the views were nice (too often) and the road permitted (not often enough!).

Flowers, water, green and rocks, sun and fog.  A beautiful, simple pleasure.


We arrived to St. John's for our last two days.   And what a fantastic last two days were!  I will try to sum it all up in one last post next time.

  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ELEVEN: Ongi Etorri?



Finally, it was time to go to France!   In case you don’t know, the islands of Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon are not a Canadian territory with French culture (like the Province of Quebec), they’re actually part of France, and have been since 1670 (with a number of interruptions).   So, early in the morning, we took the Arethusa ferry from Canada to France.  It was a short ride, just under two hours, with lots of wind (lots, enough to soak one side of the ferry – and passengers - wet), and the occasional whale sighting.  



We stayed the whole day in Saint-Pierre, spent the night there, and returned to Canada next day.   Most people seem to make it just a short day trip, arriving in the morning and leaving in the afternoon.  But we thought this very peculiar place deserved at the very least a full day...

Mais cést vraiment la France ici!

Things we noticed right away?  Well, to begin with, even though France is over 3,800km away, they use the Euro!  Not only that, the smaller places ONLY take Euros!  And once you have your Euros and start dealing with people, if you happen to speak French, you realise that these people speak with a rather metropolitan French accent!  Not with a Canadian French accent, not with a Norman or Breton French accent (the island was resettled in the 1800’s with Basques, Bretons and Normans), but an  accent reminiscent of that of Paris!  Obviously, jumping to the closest boulangerie (bakery) was de rigueur to complete the first French impressions, and that’s where we had our next surprise:  the Basque influence.

Amongst many things, at the bakery they had what they called a “baguette basque”:  a delicious bread with prunes, corn and something else I can’t remember.   Very, very tasty.



Ongi etorri?  Zazpiak bat? Chez Txetxo?

Not only did they have a Basque-style baguette (if you're Basque and have never heard of this kind of bread, consider it might be a recipe lost in Europe and preserved here).  Due to Basques being part of the recent settlers of the island and Basque being still spoken until the 1950s (or the beginning of the 20th century, depending on who you ask), they have Basque culture festivals, there is a well-known Basque restaurant (Ongi Etorri, which means "Welcome" in Basque, and where we unfortunately couldn’t have dinner because, apparently, Saint-Pierrais love to dine out!), a local bar called Chez Txetxo (the kind of local bar where you feel really, REALLY conspicuous walking in), and a Jai Alai court with Zazpiak Bat written on it.  What does Zazpiak Bat mean?  It means “The seven are one”, and refers to the seven traditional Basque country provinces:  Álava, Gipuzkoa, Biscay, Navarre, Lower Navarre (all in Spain), Soule and Labourd (both in France, and the last one the place of origin of many of the Basques of the islands).   A French territory with Basque influence off the Atlantic Coast of Canada, how about that!


L’Atelier Gourmand

Given our failed attempt at having a second anniversary dinner at Ongi Etorri, we went to L’Atelier Gourmand.   What a delicious choice!  People were happy to hear some tourists making an effort to speak French, the service was impeccable, and the restaurant passed my chef test: there was nothing vegan on the menu, so I explained to the waiter that I was vegan, that I knew the place was good, and that I trusted the chef to cook whatever he fancied as long as it was vegan.  What a damn good chef and a damn good pasta, even presented in style!



Illegal alcohol and legal beheadings

The good thing about small local museums is that they hold things you'd completely miss and walk past in bigger museums, but that become really interesting because they are in context.  We visited the Musée Héritage, in a big old house with fascinating artifacts relating to everyday life in the island:  religion, medicine (oh, the horror of the medical tools of yore!), and alcohol production (when alcohol consumption and sale was restricted in Canada and the US, guess who was happy producing and selling?).   For a more sobering experience, though, there is also the Musée de l'Arche, with a fascinating exhibit of photographs of old Saint-Pierre (that's what you would call a rough life, with such inclement weather) and the continent's only guillotine, used only once (fortunately) but operated by a recent immigrant coaxed into it (yikes). 


Colours in the fog, anyone?

The town itself is really quaint, with small streets, brightly coloured (blue red, green, purple, orange…) traditional houses, and some amazing views from the hills above, which were beautifully verdant.  I would have hiked quite a bit, but it was drizzling, and that night was the opening ceremony of the London Olympic Games and we didn’t want to miss that! LOL    BTW, the weather changed about as often and unpredictably as in St. John's, with sun, drizzle and fog all alternating during the day.    




Next day, it was time to leave this unique bit of France and head back to the bigger island of Newfoundland, Canada, for the long drive back to St. John's.   I'm so glad we made the effort to come and see an interesting part of history and enjoy the Saint-Pierrais hospitality.   

Now, I thought I was almost done with this trip's posts, but I've taken another look at the photos, and I'm afraid there's at least two more posts coming!  Until next week!