A couple of years ago, I went to Nova Scotia, and since I have recently started putting up web pages when I go to places, I will put one up now for them. This trip happened shortly after air traffic resumed after September 11th. Security was visible, but if you travel as much as I do, you can recognize a joke when you see one. They were actively trying not to racial profile by periodically stopping and hassling little old ladies and 10 year old kids, while purposefully allowing a few of certain nationalities through unhindered. I walked through while they were sweeping the wand up and down an 8 year old.
I flew into Halifax International Airport on a very nice little jet that just sort of showed up as a surprise to the crew. We were expecting a turboprop with a long ride, and everyone (including the crew) got a nice surprise (luckily the pilots seemed to be able to fly the jet as well).. That was Air Canada. That sort of thing would never happen on an American airline. Give people an upgrade for free? The thought would never cross their minds. The Canadians were also allowing alcohol on flights at that time, unlike the Americans who were still trying to figure out if a disposable safety razor was considered a threat. And they were more than happy to provide it gratis out of the stocks of the jet that was less than 10% full of people.
Customs was in a shambles on both sides. The American side seemed to indicate that all I needed was a picture ID, and I believe a voter registration card (ok, my mind isn't as good as it once was for small details). Once I got there, the Canadian side seemed to think I needed a passport. Well, you know me, in an English speaking country, there isn't a person alive that can out talk the government double talk with me. I got through customs with no trouble at all. Its amazing what you can get away with if you appear confident in your answers and have a government id. Some of my American traveling companions didn't fare out as well. Although they eventually did get in after a couple of hours explaining (I think customs eventually decided they wanted to go home, it was late, and I think they figured they weren't paid enough to care past a certain time).
Rented a car at the airport (Red Grand Am - "Wider is Better"), and took to the roads towards Wolfville. The roads are cool. Especially if you are from a place without topography. Lots of curves, lots of dips, generally lots of fun. Rocks and boulders everywhere. The place appears to be carved out of a big rock, and blasting notices litter the side of the highways (i.e. Please don't use your cell phone here, or you may blow someone up....hmmmmm...seems like someone should change the frequencies far enough apart so that isn't even a possibility.) They are right, wider is better. Funny thing was I seemed to be the only person not following the speed limit. No one seemed to care however, and I was having fun.
Wolfville is a little country town (they probably won't like being called that) near the Bay of Fundy. The highest tides on Earth occur in the Minas Basin, the eastern extremity of the Bay of Fundy. Due to a strange funneling effect of the coastline there, they get tide ranges reaching 16 meters (53 feet) (although the average is about 12 meters). An interesting spectacle occurs at the head of the Bay of Fundy in the form of Tidal Bores. Chignecto Bay and Minas Basin form two arms at the head of the Bay. At high tide, the water in the Bay floods into the rivers. As the river banks narrow, the waters rise into a visible standing wave (sort of like a small tsunami), as much 1 meter (3 ft) in height, racing upstream at speeds close to 15 km per hour (10 mph). There is an audible sound to that of an approaching wave. This happens like clockwork twice every day, although the magnitude varies seasonally. The local newspapers track the times when you can expect to see the Tidal Bore (roughly every 12.5 hours), and there are places to go and watch.
It was a beautiful little town, the leaves were changing colors, the rolling hills, you could drive up to the top of one of their ocean outlooks and watch the North Atlantic Right Whales swim around in the bay.
Even though they are part of Canada, they speak English in Nova Scotia. As a matter of fact, the only clues you had that you weren't in America was that the fast food outlets sold drinks my the milliliter. "Burger, fries, and a 650 ml Diet Coke, please..." That and the money looked different. I am sure they will not appreciate me saying so, but hey, if you don't like it, change it.
We took a trip up to Grand Pre, which is a park built to commemorate where the Acadians were forcefully deported from Nova Scotia by the English in 1755. It is basically a church, a blacksmith shop, and some scenery. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow immortalized the tale of the Acadians in his poem Evangeline. And there is a large statue of Evangeline outside the church. There is a lot of history on the Cajuns there, and the park people put on a very nice presentation in the church which I have on video cdrom if anyone would care to see it. Its definitely one place you want to visit while you are there if you live anywhere near Cajun country in Louisiana.
After a week, my trip there ended. It was a beautiful place, and if you can get there for leaf color changing, its definitely worth a visit. Unfortunately, the correct plane showed up for the trip back, so it was a long bumpy prop ride back to New York, and then a decent jet over to Lafayette. Customs let me back in without a hitch.
This site was last updated 11/16/03