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Prince Edward Island, Canada
22nd February 2004

As an introduction to my Canadian Journal I have a few photos of the snow that greeted me on my arrival in Prince Edward Island. I can't put too much up at the moment as I am sharing a 40k dial up connection so it would take ages to get much up. I do hope to get broadband access later in the week though and I'll start to put more up then.

My first taste of Canada was actually at Montreal airport where I can advise smokers that the only place to smoke is outside the entrance :-)  It was while filling in the wee customs declaration that the first hint of trouble came my way... a limit of 200 cigarettes!  I just happended to have 2000 [gulp].  So.. I figured I'd better declare them just in case and so $190 canadian dollars lighter I emerged from customs!

The flight from Montreal was in a wee aircraft that vibrated like anything while it climbed up into the air. I might note the difference between the US and Canada starts with ice!  In the US your glass is always filled with ice before they add the liquid.  On Air Canada they didn't give you any ice unless you specifically asked for it.  On the wee Air Canada Jazz flight they give you two ice cubes and if you waned more you needed to ask.

I was sitting beside a returning Islander on the way to Charlottetown, the captial of Prince Edward Island and he was telling me stories of the island and giving me lots of tips amongst which he mentioned that on May 1st you get the first of the fresh lobsters which are apparently not to be missed.  He liked them boiled with nothing on them other than perhaps a wee touch of butter.

The main crop on the island apart from potatoes is tourists or so I have been told so it will be interesting to find out more in the days ahead.  MacDonald is apparently the most comon name on the island. So now you have had these wee snippets on with the story...

When I arrived on PEI at the Charlottetown Airport the snow was pretty thick on the ground as they'd just had around 100cm of snow in the last 24 hours and this is apparently a record for the island. Christopher Ogg kindly picked me up from the airport and as he just lives around 5 kilometers away it wouldn't be long before we were at his house. And how wrong I was....

All the pictures are around Christopher Ogg's House and the one just above on the right is his and where I am staying.

We were around half a kilometer from his house when we got stuck in the snow. We tried for around an hour to get out but gave up and walked to his house. We got a cup of coffee to warm us up and reported we were stuck to the road rescue crew. Around an hour later we got a phone call to say they were at the car and where were we? So.. it was a walk back to the car where they managed to tow us out.... only to find as the truck reversed he had brought a whole pile of snow down onto the road from the piles at the side and as a result we were now both stuck. He then had to phone back to base to get an even larger truck to come out and rescue us both. So.. around an hour later up comes this muckle big truck which finally extracted us.

While we were waiting for the truck to arrive Chris kept turing off his engine and I eventually suggested that it might be a good idea just to keep it running so we could get some warmth. Chris kindly pointed out that the petrol guage was showing empty [gulp]. Anyway... once we were out we then took the long way round to try getting access from another direction... me keeping my fingers crossed we didn't run out of gas. We did eventually arrive back at the house at 4.30 or so in the morning some 5 hours after leaving the airport.

Chris kindly fixed us both a bacon and egg sandwich which was very welcome and then it was time to collapse into bed and that was my first day on the island :-)

Later that day when I managed to wake up I did a mail run which on a 40k link did take quite some time so it took me most of the day to sort out all the spam and get myself up to date.  The next day being Saturday we had a lazy day but did manage to go out and spend some time with a friend and neighbour, Cathy who kindly let me try her home made wine which was excellent. Jamie her husband was out so guess I'll get to see him at a later date.

Later that night Chris was out seeing friends at a dinner party so I had a lazy night catching my breath. 

On Sunday we went out to see another of Chris's friends Craig and Christine (Chris) who made me very welcome and protected me very well indeed from their two large wolves! :-)

In the early evening we went to visit Chris's mother and partook of a giant roast beef dinner, yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables with a chocolate cream cake to finish and one of the best martini's I've ever had.  As by this time the snow was coming down again we headed back taking it very carefully in all that snow.

I will say I was mightily impressed with the snow clearing operations.  Given the sheer amount of snow that had fallen it was very impressive how they had got the roads cleared enough to drive on and even the wee side roads into the country. Many homes have arrangements with local farmers to dig out their drives. They pay an annual fee for the service or if you are feeling lucky you can also pay as you go. Myself... seeing all that snow I think I'd be happy to pay the annual rate!

It's also clear that you need to be organised with the right winter gear up here.  Caps with ear flaps are a must as I discovered walking back to Chris's house. You are also well advised to carry a spade and blankets in your car :-)

So.. that's about it for the time being.  This week we'll be meeting lots of folk on the island and I'll be getting a hire car so I at last get a chance to drive on the wrong side of the road!

Return to my Canadian Journal

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