Flashbacks of My Upper West Side Childhood In The North End Of Halifax
By Der Kosmonaut
In my as of yet unpublished novel The King of the Woods, which is a fictionalized account of my teen years in New York during the 1980s, the narrator's paternal grandfather is a Black Nova Scotian from Halifax. I knew quite a bit of the history of Blacks in Nova Scotia. As a literary device to make the novel more interesting, I wrote the subplot of Kevin Blake of having Nova Scotian descent. Still, the novel is about New York City and Kevin Blake is a typical Upper West Side kid. One of the reasons why I was keen to visit Halifax was the meet other Blacks and learn more about their history and their current social position.
I visited Halifax three times in the seven weeks that I spent in Nova Scotia. As always, the first impression was the most lasting. Though I had expected to find similarities between Halifax and Boston, as well as similarities between Nova Scotian Blacks with those from the Northeastern USA, I could've never imagined that my first visit to Halifax would be a time travel adventure to my own childhood in New York in the early 80s.
My Travel Adventure To The Canadian Maritimes Part Three: Northumberland Strait, New Glasgow and Cape Breton Nova Scotia
Beach and Mountain Range On Cabot Trail Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
By Der Kosmonaut
Before departing from Moncton, I asked the Nova Scotians in town which parts of the province I should check out. Everyone said that I had to go to Cape Breton. One of the residents of my hostel told me to "get Cape Breton out of the way." He suggested that I get a coach directly from Moncton to Sydney. When I asked about beaches, he advised Louisbourg behind the fortress. I went to the public library to read road maps of Nova Scotia. I made a tentative itinerary. I would hit Amherst and then head South to Parrsboro. From there I would turn East and stop at Five Islands Provincial Park for a couple of days of camping and swimming on the Bay of Fundy. Afterwards I would continue East to Truro. There I would decide whether to go North to Cape Breton or continue East to Halifax. On the Couchsurfing site I initially found a family to host me in Amherst for one night. As normal I would always make multiple requests because one could never be sure if people will accept, decline or not reply. There was a profile which caught my attention. A woman named Sarah lived on a farm by North Port on the Northumberland Strait. She said that her house was walking distance to the beach. My primary motive for heading to The Maritimes was to enjoy a summer of sun and surf. Moncton is too far inland and since I don't own a vehicle I couldn't access Fundy Park or Shediac. Sarah not only accepted my request but agreed to come to Moncton to pick me up. I cancelled the request in Amherst.
Soundtrack To My Travel Adventure To The Canadian Maritimes
By Der Kosmonaut
My journey to Nova Scotia will soon be coming to a close. I will post about my remarkable life changing adventures through Nova Scotia presently. In the meantime I shall share the soundtrack of the songs and sounds from the summer.
I was introduced to rapper The Classified and his track The Maritimes
When I stumbled across the one year anniversary festival of the Black Loyalist Heritage Centre in Birchtown, Nova Scotia, I had the privileged to see The Sanctified Brothers live.
The Sanctified Brothers were joined by the daughter and niece of the band members Reeny Smith who's been dubbed "the Alica Keys of The Maritimes."
Meanwhile I actually got to ride the ferryboat Joe Casey at Digby Neck between Freeport and Westport. I saw Michael Herminston perform the song at "Breaking The Waves" festival, which was the very first arts and music festival held at Digby Neck.
As I mentioned in my previous post about Moncton, the DJ at "Inspire" Festival played Yazoo and Tom Tom Club
When I was in Portugal "Ruby Dear" by Talking Heads was the appropriate soundtrack. This song goes really well along the rural areas of the Atlantic coast. While I was on the South Shore and Acadian Coast of Nova Scotia, the song was on my mind.
While I was in Yarmouth, I was treated to my first ever Seafood Boil. Clams and Mussels were cooked. When I traveled up the Bay of Fundy coast to Annapolis Royal, I was befriended by a young man who connected his rowboat to the back of his car. He rowed us out to the middle of the river to his sailboat. A couple of weeks before that, I went on my first ever sail race in Lunenburg. At the end of the sail race we docked and disembarked at a harbour bar called the Pirate Shack where we drank, cooked barbecue meat and smoked marijuana. These events reminded me of this classic track by the band Squeeze.
While I've never been a fan of Dire Straits, I do respect their music. This is my favorite song by them. It's quite popular in Nova Scotia. I heard it played in the various cars that I was picked up in while hitchhiking. A band at "Breaking The Waves" festival at Digby Neck played a cover of "Sultans of Swing".
My Travel Adventure To The Canadian Martimes Part Two: Moncton New Brunswick
By Der Kosmonaut
I had arrived in Moncton on the night on June 2 at 21:30. I hate arriving in new towns at night. Most places are closed, it's practically impossible to obtain a map. Even with a map, it's very tricky to properly orientate and gain my bearings. Compound this with the fact that I didn't have a place to go and had a bucks in change in my pocket. I decided to find a spot in Riverfront Park along the Petitcodiac river and sleep. That was a mistake. A piercing whistling wind slice and diced me all night. While on the road from Montreal the zipper of my sleeping bag broke. The temperature dropped below freezing that night.
I woke up the next morning and went to Starbucks only because it was the only cafe open early in the morning. I was confronted with a serious problem. There was a short in wire of my laptop charger. It had become a growing problem over the previous month. I found myself having to twist the cable in order to charge. Now it was getting no juice no matter how much I twisted the cable into knots. I needed to find a computer shop. Google search is often a waste of time. Unless one is searching for something generally specific, the search results are often poor. Google turned up one computer repair shop far out from the centre. Moreover, I'm sure that it would cost more than the amount of cash that I had on hand. Without my laptop, I'm completely cut off from society. I wish that it wasn't the case. I make do without a mobile phone quite well. However, one is compelled in today's electronic concentration camp to have an autonomous wireless connection in order to function. I left the cafe to go on a mission to find a charger. On Main Street I asked a middle aged local where I would be able to find a laptop charger. He gave me directions to continue west on Main Street until I was a couple of blocks past the VIA Rail station. I thanked him and he replied:
"You're most welcome. Have a good day! If anyone tells you otherwise, tell them to shut up because Harry says so!" His response was very friendly and sincere.
By Der Kosmonaut
26 July 2016
Yarmouth, Nova Scotia Canada
The past two months here in The Maritimes has underscored why I detest the West Coast. Everything about The Maritimes makes me feel comfortable. I can relate to the history, the mentality, the sense of humor, the people. The Northeast of North America from Maryland and Newfoundland is a completely different country from the rest of North America. This is the oldest and original part of European and African North America. This is home. Years before I even ventured to the West, I always suspected it to be foreign and hostile territory. 19 months of my life out West confirmed that. I really had no business out West. There's nothing for me in the West. Save for Seattle (which is actually a combination of Boston and Halifax and the only East Coast city in the West), I was thoroughly unimpressed for the West Coast. It's not an accident that I didn't make one friend on the West Coast (apart from a fellow intellectual Manhattanite in Seattle), yet I've made many friends already in The Maritimes. It's resolved. I will never step foot West of Ottawa ever again. The Atlantic Northeast is my country. The boundaries are set with Washington, DC to the south. Newfoundland and Labrador to the North. The Atlantic to the East and Ottawa to the West. This is my homeland. The rest is a separate country and foreign culture.