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Sunday, November 13, 2011

A taste of the Maritimes

My family and I moved to the Maritimes four years ago. I knew I would be happy here. Mostly because I highly trust my ability to be happy anywhere. But the Maritimes have proved to be even more than what I expected. Today I want to pay tribute to them.

Here are the reasons why I love the Maritimes:

The people

People in the Maritimes are the nicest ever. Gossips say it's because Maritimers have nothing else to do (but to be nice). Whatever the reason. It's lovely. Pure strangers call you "honey", "sweetheart", "darling". And they really mean it. Salespeople are attentive and nice, and not because they want to sell you something. They are nice because they feel like it. Nova Scotia can actually boast its people in touristic advertising. This is miles away from the common saying I've heard about France, which "would be so wonderful... if it wasn't for the French people!"

People here in the Maritimes have so much trust in each other not only do they not lock their doors, they will also write you blank cheques in a heartbeat (Yes, that has happened to me!)

But my favourite thing about the Maritimes has to be the ocean.

The food

I love the Maritimes for the fresh (and inexpensive) seafood. We get lobster for 5-6$ a pound pretty much year round. It was explained to me that in some areas, lobster was actually the poor people' food. They were so tired of eating it every single day as kids, they tell me, they can barely stand it now. Duh? I grew up eating lobster once a year, at my birthday, because my mom knew it was my favourite (and such an expensive) dish. I would pretty much have killed for lobster. Now I have it delivered free, right to my door, by neighbors who know how much I love it, and somehow always buy one too many for their family. Other delicacies generously offered by my new local friends include some moose meat (that the friend hunted himself) and some clams (that the friend digged himself... and ended up cleaning and preparing for us). Told you how nice the people were!

I cannot go without thanking the ocean for this.

The scenery

I've spent a lot of time visiting Europe, always flabbergasted by all its beauties, wishing my own country had as much to offer. Then, after moving to Nova Scotia, I heard three different European people say that the most beautiful place they had ever visited was Cape Breton.

Cape Breton is indeed breathtaking. No words could describe the Cabot Trail, really. I'll let you see for yourself. Drop everything right now, and come to Cape Breton!

(This is where Tourism Nova Scotia hands me my commission. Technically.)

(For having tested it twice, Cape Breton has another awesome feature: there, you can drink anything in whatever quantity you wish... you'll never get a hangover. I am living proof!)

I hear it has something to do with the ocean breeze.

The weather

I have experienced, year after year, the scorching hot summers/biting cold winters of the Montreal area. I have lived in tropical sub-saharian Africa, extremely dry almost year-round, then drenched by constant rain in the summer. What I have to say about the Maritimes weather is that it is just like its people: nice and kind. Soft. Pleasant. Temperate.

Winters are mild. I have discussed this with neighbours who respectively come from Winnipeg, Ottawa and everywhere in Quebec, and we are unanimous: winters in Halifax are a breeze.

Summers are cool. Who needs air conditioning in the Maritimes? Simply keep your windows open when you go to bed... and you might even need to pull up the blankets in the middle of the night.

Falls can be windy at times, I will concede. But it makes for a good conversational piece, and strengthens neighbourly relationships (you help so and so cut the tree that's fallen on his truck; he, in return, lets you boil water using his generator). But seriously, falls are generally glorious and warm in the Maritimes.

Springs are...

(Errr... ah, let's leave Springs aside for now.)

It goes without saying that all this would be nothing without the ocean.

The music

(Note: this musical list is not exhaustive!)

Oh yeah, the music. Music is everywhere in the Maritimes. Mind you, it often involves a bagpipe, which has been described by some as a torture device. The Maritimes are nonetheless the birthplace of quite a few good tunes!

I was introduced to music from Nova Scotia (Cape Breton to be precise) while on a trip to Newfoundland, back in the early nineties, and the Rankin Family automatically found its way to my heart. When, fifteen years later, I learned I was gonna move to Halifax, the Rankins were the soundtrack that prepared me to this new life.

Of course, we can't go without listening to the big names of Nova Scotian music: Sarah McLachlan, April Wine, Ashley McIsaac, and so many more!

On a more modern note, we could mention Classified and The Trews, which both have some pretty darn good tunes! And what about Wintersleep?

Of course, one cannot live in the Maritimes without learning to like (ok, maybe tolerate) country music. I have gone as far as to appreciate - genuinely, I swear! - Blue Rodeo (not from the Maritimes per se, but still Canadian). Now don't tell me they're not truly a country group. I'm trying hard here! I need some acknowledgement!

While we're at it (country music), why don't you pay yourself a quick and free trip to happy land with this hilarious video by
Rodney Carrington... but make sure nobody's watching! (DO NOT watch at work!!!)

Oh, and before I forget... did I mention the ocean?

1 comment:

  1. other great bands from Halifax (or from the dark side of Halifax: Dartmouth) and one of their songs ...

    Matt Mays & El Torpedo "City of Lakes" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrGrjsp7FOE

    Joel Plaskett - Nowhere With You

    Sloan - Money city maniacs

    In-Flight Safety The Coast is Clear

    The next one is from Newfoundland, but given the number of Newfoundlanders in Nova Scotia, let's put it in here anyways!

    Hey Rosetta! - Red Heart

    And you're not the only one surprised by the numbers of great bands originating from the Maritimes... see this other blog post! http://www.lysten.ca/maritimes-best-kept-secret