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Friday, September 20, 2013

Corner Brook, Newfoundland

We continue on our voyage aboard this great ship, Explorer of the Seas.  After a short dockage at Prince Edward Island, we have cruised over night to Corner Brook Newfoundland.  We awoke to a fantastic terrain with green fields, mountains and clearing sky.  We are just below the 50th. parallel, our northern most location. 

After experiencing the Great Bus journey in Saint Johns, New Brunswick, we have opted to hire a cab to tour a portion the island.  We were greeted by two beautiful Newfoundland dogs, weighing in at 175 lbs each.  They were wonderful to meet and all they need is a saddle. The gentlemen in the picture noted they only have two speeds, and the picture is a display the "fast" speed. 

It seems the island has a native population with limited tax liabilities.  We hired a local cab well maned by "Billy" a native to the island.  This resulted in a good tour of the North Shore of the island with narrative support from Billy.  We boarded the cab instructing Billy for a tour of the North Shore.  The tour started a bit slow with Billy not having a planned route or stops.  He agreed to stop along the way at our request and thus the tour was on.  We just jumped in and let her rip, go Billy.  At our second stop Billy pointed out the BALD front tires and stated he might need an alignment.  Yep, not much tread there.  Off we go to another stop and I notice his fuel gauge is near empty.  Hummm? 

But as we continued along our way the tour improved with many stops along the coast and one stop at the local "convenience" store for a pit stop.  We did notice the liquor store was adjacent, maybe 50 ft. from the local church.  Easy to resupply for communion.  WELL. 

 Part of our education between stops with Billy was the national health care system for Canada.  We asked Billy  how you receive health care and he did not comprehend. Just go to the hospital or doctor, show your id and receive care.  NOT A PROBLEM.  We mentioned we paid for health insurance and he asked "what is health Insurance"?  It was an eye opening experience.  This young man had no idea about health insurance never having to address this issue. We did inquire about local tax and the provincial & National sales tax is 13%. Ouch.   We can only assume part of the percentage is to pay for health care.  Stand by U.S. for the national sales tax to fund health care. 
"Pay now or pay later". 

The days journey continued to some picturesque locations, most good photos from Adm. Denise with the Big Camera.  We have to say the tour was enjoyable and educational.  Thanks to our new Newfoundland friend Billy.
It was suggested we visit Mudders for food and the bar next door.  Not having anything else to do, we slipped into the Bar and found they can order food from Mudders. Perfect.  We were introduced to a new french fry experience, being asked "would you like gravy with the fries?"  Brown gravy to dip your fries.  I must say it was good. 

Unfortunately we could not "screech In".  This is a local tradition for new friends in Newfoundland. Seems you must recipe a script about pledging to the cod, then kiss a cod fish and take a shot of "screech" rum.  Alas, the festivities were later that evening and we could not SCREECH IN. 

We were entertained by 3 locals arguing over hanging clean linen and her red shorts on the line to dry. Seems wood smoke can ad scent to your laundry.  We just love to mingle with the local folks and enjoy their humor.  The Newfoundlands have a dry, Irish whit and a strong accent.  We had discussions about the American Civil War, travel, whiskey, beer and the competency of the bar maids.  

The above pic is a common sign in Corner Brook.  Seems ice can be dangerous falling from roof tops.  Just a short mention of Corner Brook weather. While we where ashore we experienced sunny skies, changing to over cast, to light rain and back to sunny skies.  Billy mentioned the coldest temp he recalled was -20 deg. Fahrenheit .  WHEW!  He did explain just a few years ago the bay would freeze over with large trucks crossing the lake to save drive time.  Now, the bay does not freeze during the winter.  Warming all over.  In fact, global warming continued to be a point when our new friends learned we are from a coal mining area. They were very courteous but got their point across about use of fossil fuels. 


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