Heather, the rep at Tourism New Brunswick, asks me, rather tentatively, if I’m willing to eat lobster with my bare hands–the “New Brunswick way”. “Happily,” I tell her. “I’ll do the beer that way too, if you want.”
“I like you already,” she writes back, and by the end of our chat she’s already invited my to return to watch a Women’s World Cup game in 2015. East coasters. Friendly.
Heather’s prepared my itinerary for the 5-day visit; it’s 14 pages long, and would have run longer if we’d incorporated the suggestions of the Twitter folks who kicked in their two cents. Because of time constraints I won’t be able to make it to Alma beach, Sackville, and (perhaps fortuitously), Cape Enrage.
My first stop will be the Hopewell Rocks, an area in the Bay of Fundy that has the highest tides in the world. From there I’ll drive myself to Moncton, check in, and meet Heather for dinner. She’s left my evening open and I’m hoping to stop in a Moncton’s only gay bar, Triangles. “What?” I write to Heather. “Was ‘Secrets’ taken?”
The next morning I’ll drive myself up the peninsula to Caraquet, which is the main location for the Festival Acadien. This year’s event is billed as “A 50th edition high in colours and emotions!” by the English version of the official site. Over the next three days, I’ll visit a kitchen party, the Tintamarre, and a bunch of places and events I can only vaguely understand because they’re all en français and my French? Comme ci comme ça. Doesn’t matter — I’m pretty sure this is going to be fun.
It may be ill-advised, but Heather’s got me waking up early on the day after the festival finale to drive myself back down the peninsula to Shediac. On the way I’ve been encouraged to stop at Kouchibouguac National Park (“The Kouch”, to locals and everyone else who starts to nod off after the sixth letter) and/or the Irving Eco-Centre, sand-dunish home to endangered birds. Dinner prepared by Executive Chef Mike Harris (not that Mike Harris, I’d wager) awaits in Shediac. Perhaps sensing that even I have my limits, Heather’s given me the address to a local sports bar and called it a night. The next morning I drive back to Moncton to catch my flight back to the Big Smoke.
Catch you all on the East side.