The bugs were still pretty bad this morning so we also abandoned plans for al fresco breakfast. We have just re-entered the modern world and have mobile reception for the first time in days and picked up a call from my brother in law Andy. He is at home nursing his knee after an operation and I suspect I joined the list of people nagging him not to do too much.
Andy and my sister Caz were in this part of the world a few years back and have raved about the lobster in Shediac a bit further south since they knew we were coming here. This morning we did not expect to reach Shediac for another few days but we actually ended up there today. We had followed the Acadian Coastal trail down through Shippigan, Tracadie-Sheila and towards Miramichi, making a detour to Burnt Church along the way. Our local guide information says that there is an Indian Pow Wow here starting today.
|Andy wasn't joking about the big lobsters in Shediac!|
With a bit of trial and error we found the pow-wow but were too early, it was still being set up. It looks like it will be all the local Indian people getting together , in effect a fair or carnival. There will be speeches, dancing, drumming and story telling. The "everyone's welcome, come along" came tinged with a bit of a "you are OK because you are not Canadian - they really stuffed us over the lobster rights and we are not happy". There was a definite chip on the shoulder feeling (which I suppose I can sympathise with). One of the guys said how hew was a political science student. We both reckon that means we will be cornered to be told of all the injustices the Indian people have suffered, probably all true but not really how we want to spend our time. The main activity is tomorrow but by then we will probably be too far away to want to come back to see it, much as it will probably be interesting.
By the time we got to Miramichi, which I cannot even recall even though we only passed through less than a day before me writing this diary entry, we opted to leave the scenic route and head onto the motorway. Our planned stop was the Kouchibouguac National Park but en route we decided to save national parks until we reach the Bay of Fundy. We did not like the campsites at Bouctouche (their advertised internet access was simply plugging into the local payphone and the people were not very friendly) and carried on down to Shediac.
The coastal route had take us mainly through Acadian areas. Every now and again we hit a little English speaking enclave where road signs, posters, shop windows etc were all in English. Round a corner and it was all back to French again! Stef said he thought you could see a difference in wealth/pride in surroundings between the two, Acadian areas being better kept, but I have to say that I had not noticed.
We rejoined the Acadian trail at Kouchibouguac and drove through very pretty countryside. It was 30C and the sun was shimmering off the water all around us, some of which was so still it was like driving next to a mirror. Around the bays were forests of pine and fir with pristine white houses dotted along the way. It looks like an idyllic place to live .... if you like being in fairly isolated and remote places. We had stopped yesterday to buy some wine. The local supermarket only sells alcohol free wine (no good!) so we backtracked to the state run liquor store. Stef went in to buy the wine and I waited in Mortimer. Some pretty rum looking characters turned up - I reckon there is not much else they do other than work and then get drunk!
At Shediac we checked into a campsite, Etoile Filante Camping Wishing Star, just a few minutes walk from the edge of town. Opting for a view rather than facilities (water and electric) we positioned ourselves so that we would get a good view of the sunrise (assuming we are awake early enough). We headed into town in search of a cold beer and a good spot to write diaries. Leaving the campsite we had to walk through a swarm of mossies, more here than I have come across before. I did not want to breathe in in case they went up my nose!
Just before the bridge into town, and opposite the campsite, is a huge artificial lobster proclaiming that this is the lobster capital of the World. As we late found out, it is not a major lobster fishing port in its own right but more that it is the central point geographically of lobster fishing in the New Brunswick region. We walked up the main road in search of a small bar and a good place to try the local lobster. The town does not have much character. There are a few "village" style craft shops but those are dominated by big and newish looking malls. I am not sure what it was like when Caz and Andy were here but I think it looked quite different to today. We carried on down to the quay hoping to find a bar but only finding a yacht club where some "do" was in full swing. Trophies were lined up and from the number of teenagers around I reckon it must have been an awards ceremony from a youth sailing regatta.
We ambled back down into town and headed for the first restaurant we had seen in town (its name eludes me) as it seemed to be pretty full, normally a good sign. We both ordered lobster. Plastic bibs, nut crackers and long forks arrived followed soon after by our lobster. It was tasty, blokes eating Stef said as it was definitely a fingers job. I think this is only the second time I have had lobster. While I enjoyed it, the bill was a bit steep. We had been warned about a week ago by some local people that the prices at Shediac had been hiked to reflect the fact that it is well and truly on the tourist trail.