Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Poor Hispanic Cargill Guy

I worked for Cargill for quite of a time. Working for that company and being me who is known as Troublemaker you bump to people who work there or used to work there once in a while, depending where you are going and when. 
It was just a few minutes after I boarded the plane to Toronto and before sitting, I was putting one of my stuff in the overhead bag that I heard someone talking to me in Spanish! The fuselage was dead quite because everyone was on his or her seat and I guess I with may be a few more people were the only one who were only on their feet. I immediately recognized him by his face: He was one of the Cargill guys. Everyone was now looking at me to probably see my reaction or response and I answered him back in English because I don't speak Spanish! He kept going in Spanish switching back to English and vice verse and I was answering in English until I finished playing with the thing and sat down. I think people thought that I either was Hispanic but didn't want to speak Spanish or any other reason! I can't read their mind but it was clear that they were all surprised a bit. Just a little bit. 
I guess it was during our conversation in the plane or may be after landing in Toronto that I asked him if he was going to see any family or friend in there and he said that he was going back home, to El Salvador. When I approached him and looked at him from a closer distance I realized that he looked much older now. It has been more than 7 years now that I quiet Cargill. When I was shaking his hand I also realized that he could not have a good grip on my hand. Many of the guys who work hard jobs in plants such as Cragill they face permanent problems like that which will never go away. I had a similar issue with my right hand but I guess I am an exemption because after a while I became a master in that job, the job only less than of a handful of the guys were able to do that and that is the problem because you get used to it and it becomes easy and you don't want to leave because you like what you are doing and you know not many people are able to do that and your life goes on. I was in that stage that one day didn't show up and went to another company which led to my resignation from Cargill. Many other people do that and many didn't. I bumped to another guy a few months ago who still is working for Cargill. He said that both of his knees were fucked up and the physician had told him that he had to walk to help the knees get better. I feel bad for these guys, all especially the El Salvador and the African. I hope there are times that at least their pain eases of. 


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (18): The Costs

I always wondered why people in Canada visit Toilet Mexico several time during their life while have never left the province of their origin or at the most visit a few neighbouring cities and that will be it. Travels inside Canada barely happens in compare to the number of the time people travel to Toilet Mexico and other shity Central American shitholes. There are several reasons for this, I learnt later on:

1- Travelling to Toilet Mexico is very cheap compare to travelling inside Canada especially with this All Inclusive packages. Most of people don't care about what they are going to eat as they visit fast food garbage places such as Tim Horton's and McDonald's on daily basis so being fed by Mexicans is not a concern for them. Imagine going somewhere that you can not even brush your teeth with the water! Forget about drinking it! But who cares? They buzz up until they can not even stand on their feet when they go there! Who drinks water!? 

2- There are not many places in Canada, even in hot months of summer that people can go and show their tits, legs, buttocks or six abs. Toilet Mexico provides that opportunity for exhibitionists! 

Just giving a hint as how mach was spent on the trip, I present the following:

1- Parking for the car at the airport: $70. 2
2- Dinner at local restaurants: $129.79
3- Snack, grocery items and breakfast: $82.34
4- Gasoline: $195.69 (We had a $100 gift card but a few of the record seems to be missing. We travelled over 2000 km!)
You add the cost of flight, car rental and hotels and you will realise what is one of the reasons why people expose themselves to contaminated water, Hepatitis B, violence by drug dealers and other risks and go to Toilet Mexico, a place so pathetic that you can not even drink a glass of water with ease, instead of different places in Canada!!
(Photo: Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland and Labrador)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Fiddlehead

Living in North America gives you this opportunity to try things that you have never come across in your life. We were in a supermarket a few months ago and saw this strange but nice looking vegetable which later learnt is called Fiddlehead. Apparently this vegetable is grown in Atlantic Canada not the province that we have visited but Nova Scotia and also captivated in parts of Asia. We got a handful of them and simply cooked it or better to say steamed cooked it and served it as a side item with chicken breast. The result was satisfactory. It tastes a bit similar to another popular, easily accessible and less expensive vegetable that I have forgotten now because I tasted it early in summer or late spring and it was just a little amount. Price vise it is expensive mainly because of the distance it travels to reach us here in Alberta and also the limited amount and season it is cultivated. I never saw that in the supermarket after that maybe because of its limited customers or limited supply. Worth trying and like every other vegetable it has health benefits but I mostly prefer to have raw vegetable and I'm not sure whether this could be eaten raw. It certainly is not as had as Asparagus that we tried few of them raw on the field. I don't know the origin of this kind of vegetable but know as fact that Asparagus had not been cultivated in Alberta until a certain time. 
(Photo: A handful of cooked Fiddleheads waiting to cool off and added to the main dish)

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Pants

I bought a pair of pants from one of the Hacoupian's retailers more than, at least, 14 years ago and wore it probably not more than 5 or 6 times after purchased and then stored it in the wardrobe. A few months ago I tried it on and didn't fit! I had a major issue in the waist area, originated bu love handles! Then I tried it again last Fri. to see how it looks due to my, kind of torn pants and it worked! I means my diet has been working and I have to keep up with that. I have started a low carbohydrate diet which mean no White Rice at all (unless it is whole grain and happily you can not get it here, I hope!), less Bread and only Whole Wheat and very rarely, no Pasta and no Potato and less Cake and Biscuit of any kind. I still have a long journey to completely get rid of ring of fat around my waste but I'm getting better week after another. 
(Photo: Beans are good replacements for rice, bread and even meat but it's hard to make them tasty. East Indian food contains lots of different beans but they destroy it by adding lots of butter and other types of animal fat. As well beans have benefits if consumed raw and in sprout shape. Baked beans has low nutritional values and canned beans have disadvantages. I never touch them but you see different types of them here in the supermarkets mixed with meats, broth and sauce. I don't know how popular they are)

Friday, October 18, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (17): Where Did We Stay?

We stayed in total of four hotels during our week road trip to Newfoundland & Labrador:

a- Night 1 and 2, Capital Hotel, St. John's.
b- Night 3, Bridgeway Hotel, Placentia.
c- Night 4, Harbour Lights Inn, Twillingte.
d- Night 5, 6 and 7, Holiday Inn Express, Deer Lake.

a- Capital Hotel is not to far from the airport. Yet not far from the Downtown, considering the size of the city. Rather than that, it is located on a street with all the restaurants around it. So we had no issue finding something to eat. It has a restaurant on the main floor which serve different meals but we never tried it. The place has nothing to offer in terms of view and it is not very clean. I remember that cigarette buts were everywhere in front of the main entrance. Yet it is an expensive place in my criteria. I find it hard to believe that unless you pay a big chunk of money in Canada, you will not have a nice place to spend your night in.

b- Bridgeway Hotel, as its website indicates, is a new place. Only 2 levels and may be not more than 10 rooms. The owner, I believe, has tried his or her best to bring comfort to the place in this little town. The staff are very friendly and helpful. They helped us to find two places that we had in our plan to visit as well as a local restaurant. The cost of the room comes with a breakfast and you simply go down, open the fridge and get whatever you want. The hotel is basically on the main road in Placentia which could be a bit noisy in the evening but by the time we get to the night, the problem goes away. You have a view of the water and that is not bad. What can you expect in a small town? I guess there is another hotel in the town and that is the one which we had our dinner at. It's bigger but I don't know about their quality. The appliances and furniture there were all new and you have free wireless Internet access.

c- Our forth night stay was a bit of adventure which I have written about it in a separate post. This place was even smaller than the previous one with older furniture and low pressure shower but they had a good breakfast. At least I liked it! They serve you fresh fried egg and they have this magnificent home made muffins and local spreed. I guess I had 4, maybe 5 muffins with my coffee as well as the eggs. The staff are friendly and helpful. They had left the main door open for us so we could get in without a trouble late night. This again must have been an old house turned to the hotel and I guess is open only during summer and early fall.
(Photo: Breakfast, part of it only(!) in Harbour Lights Inn, Twillingate)

d- I am generally not comfortable when I have to sleep anywhere rather than my own bed but if I have to with adjustments, I will be able to get a few hours of sleep. Holiday Inn had been always known to me as a high quality hotel, above average, close to luxury but the first experience brought doubts to my mind. This hotel is a new one in the town and many things were still looked like they had been just purchased but there were so many issues: The damn mattresses were both useless. With a big hole on each when lying down you felt that you had slipped and fall into a very small hole, almost the size of your body! The hotel is built on a lot adjacent to Highway No.1 but that is not the main source of noise! The breakfast was just awful! There is precooked egg which is called rolled egg in fast food restaurants and is disgusting. Bread was just average quality in the country which is one of the biggest producer of wheat and other grains. Muffins where the worst I have ever had; even McDonald's muffins are ten times better! Coffee is tolerable and there is nothing else but Kraft jam and so on. Of course the hotel has no restaurant and people are encouraged to go to Deer Lake Motel for a meal as well as the other local food joints, mostly fast food restaurants. The type of tissue available in the room proves the lowest quality available in Canada, I'm saying without  shadow of doubt! You just use the tissue buy rubbing it to your hands and it comes off like foam when you are washing your hands! I wanted to make a local call from my room and when I reached the last four digits, the telephone started beeping! I told the problem to the front desk but she just offered dialling the number for me without sending anyone to investigate! The elevators, made by ThyssenKrupp making unbelievable noise when going up and down, even worst than our residence, although it only has been a few months since they have been installed. The only thing I liked about the hotel, rather than its tidiness was paintings of an N. L. artist named Allan Loder, from Clarenville. He has pictured the fishing communities of the province in such a beautiful way. I saw a few of his work priced around $300. If I had owned a house and plenty of money, I would have bought myself at lest one!
(Photo, top: The Holiday Inn in Deer Lake. The building is new and nice but the mattresses, probably the most important thing for the passengers, were disgusting which prevented us from a good sleep. If I'm in Deer Lake area again, I will make sure to stay away unless they do something to their mattresses and breakfast!) 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

N L. Road Trip (16): Robin's Doughnut

One of the places that we stopped at to get something to eat, and unfortunately there was not more than one location seen during the entire trip, was Robin's Doughnuts. This apparently is another franchise which only seen in the east, from Newfoundland & Labrador to Ontario. At least that is what we though because we had not seen it before. But then when we searched in the store location part of the website we realized that there are even locations in British Columbia that we never noticed when we lived there. We got coffee which was very good compare to many other coffees available in the country, in a way that even F. F. who is not a coffee drinker liked it, and a kind of Brownie in a small bowl which was very delicious but too sweet and we limited that to one. If you by any chance go to NL, don't forget to try this brand. In my opinion much better than Tim Horton's, Second Cup and Starbucks, the ones I don't even touch! 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Captain Phillips

Captain Philips was another movie which probably had been waiting to see until last Fri. I was no exempt so we enjoyed it last night and happily it not only was not disappointing but also very exciting and interesting. I would definitely say that it was better than the movie we saw last week, Gravity, although they fall under two complete genre. 
Tom Hanks presents a very good performance but better than him are the African guys who play the role of Somali pirates. They are with no doubt tremendous. I really feel bad for real Somali people and these piracy thing which has been part of the news in the past few years. No one ever points to this fact the real reason why the Somali people turn to piracy is what has happened to them by Europeans and Westerners in generals in the past two decades. Their fishery has been ruined by the industrial garbage dumped in their shores and civil war has tron their country apart, the one that Americans had to run from with shame. 
One interesting thing apart from the movie is the lawsuit which was lunched by half of the crew of Maersk Alabama, the ship that Captain Richard Phillips was navigating shortly before the making of the movie started. The crew allege the captain and the operators of ignoring the warning about the Somali pirates. According the lawsuit the ship must have had kept a 600 miles distance from Somali coast to be sure that no skiff could reach them but most likely because of the distance, time, fuel and wages they could save, the warning was ignored. They got close enough to the dangerous waters and got boarded by the African men armed with AK-47. The rest is shown in the movie. They say unlike the movie Phillips was no hero. Good movie with lots of unpredictable scenes and excitement and a must-see. The only part that I knew what would happen was when the Seals were towing the life-bout and were ready for the green light to shoot the three Somalis. Poor guys! A possible 4 out of 5. 
(Photo: This map shows the route that Maersk Alabama took and put it in the hands of the Somalis and the safe line which is claimed by the complainants should have been considered. The difference is not negligible)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (15): N. L.'s Wild Fruits and Grown Vegetables

One of the things that you may want to try in NL is its wild fruit and it limited to different types of berries. We saw them are being sold on the side of Highway No. 1 in big bags. As well we picked a few ourselves and I bought a jar of spread. A few other types were not available due to the season and also limited amount. I think because of the climate you can not find regular fruits that you see them in supermarkets every time you step in but at the same time we saw many different type of vegetables grown in here and there. We saw that at the sides of the major roads, for example NL 430. There is a small lot which is fenced with ribbons and small wooden sticks and at times there is a scarecrow mounted beside it. Different type of vegetables, both leafy and roots are cultivated and sold in a little huts adjacent to the little field. Why bigger lots are not dedicated to growing vegetables I can see different reasons:
First of all there is not a big population of the consumers in the surrounding towns and neighbourhoods. Second of all the major supermarkets normally get their producer from big growers. It's not economic for them to have 3 or 4 supplier, get into an agreement with each, control them, etc, etc. So until there is not a certain amount, I guess, that a grower can supply, the big supermarkets would not have contract with it. Blueberry and Partrigeberry were the two kind that we picked up, in St. John's and Twillingate and as I said I bout a jar of Partrigeberry spread which was fine. You can find the other type by simply searching them on the net. I believe the vegetables, including big Green Cabbages are used to make a kind of stew which also includes Curd Beef but you can not get them as meal in restaurants. 
(Photo: F. F. is showing a handful of Partrigeberries. Of course the red dark ones are the ripe ones)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Gravity

I, probably like many other, had been waiting to see this new movie, Gravity. It was not because of its actor and actress. It was because I like space movies. F. F., very unexpectedly, agreed to accompany me. So I was relaxed! The movie was not what I was expecting. I guess the great emphasis on the Oscar winner stars and excessive commercials has made it very big. It is very real, from a technical point of view, especially because it is in 3D but rather than that and Bullock's performance, the movie doesn't have anything to offer. The story is very cheap(!): Two people are in trouble and they are trying get themselves out of trouble. The one who is experienced and steps forward in providing a novel solution dies! The other one, a woman, with much less experience and training, survives. She even becomes able to navigate Russian and Chinese spacecrafts! The scenario cannot say something more than this and the scenarist lengthen this story for about 01:25 hour, the most possible length, I think because then you are able to see every handrail that Bullock grabs to prevents her from drifting again. 
I truly don't understand what is behind this Sole Survivor story while it could simply be more than one! It was seen in Alien, it was seen in Aliens, it was seen in Prometheus and it probably has been seen in other movies as well! What if the scenario had been set up in a way that Clooney would not have died in a ridiculous way!? Would that have decreased the value of the movie?! 
Rather than that the movie is entertaining although it becomes boring at a few point. Will I go and catch it again, especially in IMAX or on a DVD? Maybe!
(Photo: This is a scene from the movie where one of the astronauts, probably Bullock, is having an accident)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (14): N. L.'s Wildlife

One of the main reasons of traveling to Newfoundland and Labrador is to see the wildlife. As I stated earlier because of selecting a bad season we were not able to see much of the main animals that normally are expected to be seen in that province. The following is the list of what is considered to be attractive in NL:

1- Moose.
2- Caribou.
3- Different types of Whales.
4- Dolphins.
5- Puffin
6- Seal.
7- Different types of wading birds.
8- Other birds.

The list could go on but they are the major ones. Beside I don't know the name of many other different birds. We basically only saw a few types of birds including one from number 7 family, above. No sign of any other ones! However we managed to see a Black Bear and a Fox! It was unbelievable because everywhere we went people warned us of Moose on the road and the signs were everywhere but the only ones we saw where the killed ones! As I said before I was told in one of the tourist information centers that the hunting season had just been started a week before our arrival. 
I'm hoping that our luck is better the next time we are going and I will make sure that the next trip is made fully equipped: A good camera with a telephoto lens and a pair of binoculars.
(Photo: Signs similar to this and other shapes and forms were seen in different parts of the province but not even one was seen. Parts of Highway No. 1 or as it's know in NL, Route 1, is fenced, just like Banff National Park and area. Other parts of equipped with detection poles that when a Moose is crossing makes warning lights blinking/flashing. It is said that the fatal accidents with Moose is significant regardless of all the cares taken. This picture was taken in Gros Morne National Park while leaving Trout River area. This was one of the numerous places that we had been promised to see Moose!)

Monday, October 07, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (13): In the Airport

We were not very comfortable in Holiday Inn Express which will be the subject of a separate post. In addition to that having an early flight back to Toronto first and then to the west, made us to rethink of staying at the hotel for the last night. So after we had our dinner in Pinchgut, we filled up the tank in Deer Lake and went to the airport which was only 10 minutes drive. The funny thing was that the stupid G. P. S. recognized the road to the airport as Unknown Road! But I guess it was not solely the fault of the G. P. S. because it communicates with a satellite or other source and that source whatever it is, has the information similar to Google Map and other popular maps on the Internet and Google Map also does not have any name for that road!
Anyways we went to the airport and there was people less than the fingers of one hand in there! It's fairly a small airport so I was not surprised. F. F. had two discrete(!) naps in the vehicle but I could not sleep and waited until the time of departure, made myself busy with the old laptop and walked around the airport, exploring, including checking the tourism booth and picking a few guides and brochures about Labrador.
A flight landed after 2 hours and the airport finally got busy an hour to our departure. I guess it was a good decision to check out one day earlier. It for sure worth not staying another night!
(Photo: Deer Lake Airport only 10 minutes from our hotel at almost 00:40 hours was completely empty. Only 2 security guys from Commissionaires, two passengers, a cleaning guy and us. You can see the clocks showing the time in different parts of the country from west to east. There is a 04:30 hour difference!)

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Grotto Mountain (Not Finished)

I wanted to go to Cascade Mountain this weekend and downloaded a brochure from Parks Canada website about it. They make it so scary that I said I should change the destination. I was struggling all week long with the net to get valid, trustful information but was not successful. Then called Parks Canada office in Banff but never got through. So I said I should have had a Plan B and selected Grotto Mountain in Canmore
I had this in mind to leave early considering the good weather, (I checked it through Weather Network, every day, all day long!) but then changed it to a time around 07:30. I found the Alpine Club of Canada easily with the help of the new G. P. S. (Not the Magellan one! Will probably write about that later) and I was about to park when I saw a small group. They recommended parking there and then there was this very nice guy who tried to help me. I have no good memory so could not remember everything! One thing that I based my trip upon it was the approximate time which was 4 hours. 
I entered the forest through the trail and after a short hike went down and passed a dry gully. Going up the trail again I reached a three-way with a sign but I neither could figure the way out nor remember what he said! So I headed west. He had warned me to not to take the bike trials which there were lots of them there and mostly loops. So I had to get off the trial and simply climb up three to four time to finally find me on a very steep and challenging path. There was nobody else and although I got a bit tired I kept a good paste and went up. This was fine until I got out of the forest. I saw the peak from there and on that time I had been going up for 2 hours so I kept going. From there I could not find the damn trail and also there was no sign of any cairn anymore, although I had seen a few on the way. As I had the top of the mountain in front of me I told myself that I should have just simply gone up until I reach the peak but the damn terrain turned to snow and lose rocks. I kept going until I was able to see solar panels for probably a weather station but the wind got stronger. I sat down to decide what to do and I realised that I had been going up for almost 3.5 hours. I looked at the ridge on the west side of the mountain and saw a group of people on there. That's were I should have been! I said to myself but then what is this trial for. Seeing them encouraged me to go back up and I said: I would descend with them. They know the road. But then looked down and I really didn't look good. If I had lost my balance, I would have rolled down for a good half an hour, probably and on loose rock with sharp edges. The damn wind also made me thinking twice and that was when I decided to go back. 
Going down, as usual, was not easy, especially on a very steep trial like that. I had to make sure to stay on the trail. It was fine for most of the first hour or so. I looked back and I saw the people going back from the same route, the ridge. I kept going down and reached the trees. I tried to avoid the edges as there were high cliffs at the right (west) side of me (It's obvious that the group were at the other side). I then again lost the trail when I got to the trees and on one occasion I slipped and injured my left hand and a bit of my right thumb. I also damaged my wind part on the left side. It was not very bad so I used my neck scarf to stop the bleeding and going down. The rest of the way was not so bad although I had to change direction a few times in order to stay on the route. I eventually reached the car at about 16:25 hours. 
I have to do this hike again and be sure to take the right trial. I may check that with Canmore Nordic Centre before I go.
(Photo: This picture taken after a few minutes of the commencement of the trip, shows Grotto Mountain slightly to right from the center. 

Saturday, October 05, 2013

The Areospace Museum

We visited the Aerospace Museum of Calgary today. It has been a long time that I wanted to do it. I have always been a fan of flying, planes and spacecrafts although I never liked flying in a passenger plane! When I finished high school for awhile I had this plan to join the air force but then shortly after I realised that it was not the place for me. Today I should be thankful that I never got in. I wouldn't be here otherwise. F. F. once suggested to go and learn to flight. It sounds a bit scary to me now. With the news of this small planes crashing at least once a month, I don't think it would be a good idea to do that. There is one air strip at the west side of Calgary when driving eastbound, I guess before getting to Callaway Park. I have seen small planes going up but I still think it's dangerous to do that. We'll see. 
Anyways we went there and there was this gentleman, an old guy in his late 60s, I would say, a volunteer, who joined us and took us step by step. His hearing was really good and I was surprised by his vast knowledge. He told us that he had join the Air Force some 30 years ago. He was not a pilot but a technical guy because he knew everything, may be almost everything about plane engines. 
I thought that he might have been participated in the WWII but he said he was only 13 when the war ended or may be 13 when the war started! He was too young to participate. And when he talked about the Korean War I though he would say that he participated but he could only be 5 to 7 years older and still not old enough. The museum is small and does not have much to offer but for a small city like Calgary, it is enough. Poor lighting prevented us from to have a good photo of a few of the models. As well the limited space didn't let me to have nice photos of the planes but that's OK. I guess they could use a better arrangement but then the cost to provide light and heat would go up. One thing which caught my eye was a ejecting seat and that immediately reminded me of that scene in the movie story of Francis Gary Powers
The museum also has a gift shop like all the other museums in Canada and if you are a fan you can get nice things with reasonable prices. I have always been a fan of pins so I got myself a few nice ones including one for the abandoned project of CF-105 Arrow which requires another post. While we were there we saw the staff moving a few tables in and then the old gentleman told us that people would have their wedding here, something that surprised me a bit. Overall it was not something significant but I should have expected more. The admission is reasonable and although the website says you would require 2 hours to see everything, we finished it in 1 hour in total. There was a couple of guys who came in when we were going to the second hanger and when we finished it they left. It might not be very interesting to many but by just paying a few more I got a year membership so if I have another chance, I will go for another visit with the hope that I can take better photos. 
(Photo: Avro Lancaster is the most famous British plane, participated in the WWII. The bomb crew sits in the nose and I guess checks everything before realising them. There should be someone to operate the machine gun above him and then the pilot in little further back. According to the information available on the net, a Lancaster had between 7 and 8 crew on every mission!)

Friday, October 04, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (12): Southwestern Part, The Unfinished.

I wanted to spend more time in Gros Morne but F. F. said we had to see other places. She was fed up with that, she said! So we headed southwestern part of the island. This country is so vast that you have to drive for hours to reach your destination. The other thing is most of the road in this part, from Deer Lake to Corner Brook and after looked like B. C. roads. In fact if you took photographs and show it to people, they would not be able to tell the difference. We first went to Stephenville but we wanted just to get gas because our destination was Burgeo. We had been told that there is a very big chance we see Moose on NL 480 so we decided to go. We said we would kill two birds with the stone: We see Moose and then will see the ocean and the park. NL 480 is one of two very quiet roads but what we were not quite aware of was the fact that many hunters had been camped there and were out with their guns! We of course didn't see a moose but saw lots of hunters with full gear, even a group on chopper. I knew that helicopter tours are offered with extravagant cost for the wealthy who would want to hunt Moose and Caribou.
In on instance we parked and we decided to go to the bushes and bog with the hope to see something. There was a motor-home parked there and a couple just got off there vehicle when we were to start walking. F. F. went to a lady and asked her about the surrounding and told her about our intention. This was after probably more than 2 hours drive! She was told we would better stay away if we do not have safety vests on because there is a chance to get shot at! Hunter shot at any moving object from distance and they don't care if there is a person or not! So we went back to the vehicle! It was late and we thought if we go to Burgeo, it would be very late that we reach Deer Lake again so we turned back.
For dinner we stopped at the same convenience store/restaurant where we had already asked for direction. Pinchgut Restaurant just 20 km west of Corner Brook was were we stopped. A very nice and clean place with good food. People were surprised to see us but the lady who was running there and the others were very helpful and friendly. We had two Fish & Chips meal there which cost us only $20 and it was delicious and filling. It is recommended if you ever go that direction.It was almost 19:50 when we finished our dinner and stepped out. Highway No. 1 was under contraction in the morning so I had to slow down and be very careful on the way back to Corner Brook and Deer Lake
(Photo: This model is erected in Stephenville. Apparently there was an American air base in there and a few accidents involved. I am not aware of the whole story but will find out and post)

Thursday, October 03, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (11): Gros Morne National Park - Tablelands and Trout River

Gros Morne is an ocean of fun so we decided to spend another day in there. First we went to a little fall shortly after the park entrance or the information kiosk. It was a hike of 25 minutes only but the lady in the kiosk introduced that to us, I guess mainly because I told her that F. F. would not want to walk very long distances! So it's just something below average in terms of scenery and fall. may be if you go in the forest and higher it gets better but the short hike itself is a child's play. Then we continued and went to the Tablelands. This is a nice place of the park. While you see everywhere green and full of trees, bushes, flowers and other plants, this looks like a desert with a few hills in distance. So we parked there and got ready. The trial is mostly flat not steep, not much challenge. After about half an hour we reached a stream with a place which looked like was for resting. F. F. was not willing to go further so I did not insist. On the way back to the parking lot I suggested to go and see the fall which we had seen from the road and she said that she was not going but let me go so I walked for about may be 15 minutes to reach the fall. One interesting thing that we saw in some parts of this trip was a sort of flower in dark red colour, with a very long stem and leaves on the ground. We later on realized that the flower called Pitcher is the official flower of province of Newfoundland & Labrador and could be seen in the Provincial Government's website as well as it's official tourism site. Tablelands is a nice place to do hikes in it but F. F. was tired so I just listened to her. Then We got into the car and drove toward Trout River and the area around it. That part is very beautiful as well but considering the season and weather many businesses which are normally open were closed and there were not many people around. Luckily the sunny day gave me the opportunity to have a few nice photos. There are more to Gros Morne. I might cover that in a post titled What Has Been Left? later on.
(Photo: A stream in Tablelands part of Gros Morne National Park. This picture if shown to someone without any knowledge about the park, would for sure be mistaken for a barren desert in Africa or somewhere with similar climate where you reach an oasis but in fact is part of the park and just few hundred meters from where the rest of the land is covered with greens)

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

N. L. Road Trip (10): Gros Morne National Park - Western Brook Pond

Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is a true title because it is just amazing. Although I've been to different parts of Alberta and British Columbia but they simply cannot  compete with Gros Morne. Unfortunately the weather was mostly cloudy during the two days that we spent our time in there. For that reason I do not have good photos specially from Western Brook Pond which was the main spot I wanted to go to and did not happen! So this is a story of failure:
We went to the park which is almost one hour from Deer Lake and then headed north on NL 430. We parked at the designated lot and walked toward the pond. The trial is a nice one going through bog, facing east. So while walking you are actually looking at two mountains with a deep valley in between them where the pond is. You reach a cafe and short pier and that is where the bout tour starts. Apparently that was the last tour for the day when we arrived but we had no plan for that. We decided to go around the pond from its north side and get close to the mountains and one of the ladies in there showed me how to do that. After maybe only 25 minutes or so we reached where she had warned me about: A deep, fast water with a rope stretched from one bank to the other. I had been by the lady that there was bridges there but they were all washed off by water so it was determined that would not be economical to build another one. If people intend to get to the mountain, they would either have to take the bout or cross the river using the rope or cable. Either one sounded fine to and I was down for the cable but F. F. in no way was ready to do that. Even I would have had clean dry cloths in a backpack and changed them at the other side. In a nice, warm sunny day of summer that would not matter but in that weather it was not a good idea. So we simply took the same trial and went back to the car. 
The rest of the day was spent on driving in the park and stopping at different nice spots for shots. 
(Photo: Taken from the beginning of trial, this picture shows the bog, the mountain and the gap in between them. You can see how much clouds are accumulated. Again here we saw no wildlife but a Moose footprint!)

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

N. L. Road trip (9): Deer Lake and the Surrondings

Deer Lake became our base until the time that we left the province. We barely stopped on our way to Deer Lake unless a few short times. There is not much in between. The only place we liked a bit was Lewisporte and that is a small town on NL 340 before reaching Highway No. 1, or as it is said in N. L., Route 1, but we did not spend much time in there. There is a small Train Park where a Plow Train is displayed. You can stop and have a look. As well the town has all the required services. We could have taken NL 360 and go to Bay Du Nord Wilderness Reserve but somehow missed or forgot it. I guess what had happened the night before kind of prevented us from going there. F. F. was very specific that we should not have to drive in the dark in unknown and scary roads especially if there is the risk of hitting a Moose. So our other stop before getting to Deer Lake was the Western Petroleum #14 at Hampden. We grabbed a Blueberry Pie for $5 which tasted very good and fresh. The store which is a family business offers all sorts of foods and items but if you like a good pie with reasonable price, don't miss this one out.
I guess it was sometime around 19:00 or a bit after that we reached the town and just by taking the first exit and driving for 5 minutes found us at Holiday Inn Express where we had a reservation. We moved our stuff in and then went out to get something to eat. Fortunately the hotel staff had a some sort of local map which showed all the available services and considering Deer Lake is a small town they were all located at the other side of the Highway at almost 10 minutes drive.
I don't think Deer Lake itself had much to offer but restaurants, mostly fast foods and hotels and other services. The only place that we actually saw in Deer Lake was the actual Deer Lake which was very nice at sunset, as can be seen in the photo, but not really clean. The beach had soft, light brown nice sand but whether it is used for swimming and other water sports, I have no idea. We did not see anything but trash on the beach maybe because it was late both in the day and season.
(Photo: Deer Lake form its north beach when sun was going down)