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LABRADOR TRIP - September 24 - October 9, 2009

THURSDAY, 9/24/09: Leave apartment 9:11AM, to subway at 9:16, wait till 9:22 for train! To NJ Transit window 9:38, wave to Steve, buy ticket for $11.25 at 9:44, next train to EWR at 10:01. On train 9:55, it leaves at 10:02. In at 10:22, to Rail Link 10:29. Onto second train that goes at 10:49. Train to Terminal A at 11:10. Onto security line 11:18. Past luggage check 11:24, Steve being emptied by a stern-faced woman who takes his four-ounce toothpaste! Sit at gate 24 at 11:32. Sudoku to 12:25PM, when we have lunch: me of tuna sandwich and rotten-tasting strawberry-banana smoothie for $11.11, Steve with a roast beef sandwich that he eats half of and an iced tea that I finish half of to 12:50, at which time I pee. Call for boarding at 1:04. They check my black bag to the Ottawa GATE, because it won't fit into the tiny overhead space of the Embrayer jet. Sit at 1:10 nicely in front of the sharply back-tapering wing. Off at 1:41, announced one-hour flight. Through lots of clouds, Manhattan unseen on the right, #1 Woodlawn Cemetery, #2 Tappan Zee Bridge in mist, #3 Canadian farmland geometrically precise at 2:31. Autumn color in many trees at higher altitudes; we fly over much of the Adirondack Park, I think: many lakes, few signs of habitation, but nothing that I recognize, and the peaks are so low that little topography is apparent. Rather bumpy on this VERY noisy little plane, but we get a beverage, me having to remind steward that I asked for cranapple, and he gives out two little bags of pretzels each. Land at 2:40, 59-minute flight. Into CAB at 3:04 (since there'd be a 25-minute wait for the $25/2-people shuttle bus to the hotel) for $38 that Steve pays with his cache of Canadian bills. Ride along the Rideau Canal for practically its entire length, past rather luxurious apartment buildings, getting into stalled traffic in the city itself. Parliament dominates the skyline, with the towers of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, built by the Northern Pacific railroad as an inducement for people to USE the railroad, next to the former train station. Into room 276 at 3:37, sizeable and cool, with no particular view, rather a walk from the elevator, and we putter around opening bags and putting out bathroom stuff until 4:11, when Steve wants to repeat his long-ago walk across the Alexandra Bridge. Bright sunny day, the stainless steel spires of Notre Dame Basilica positively blinding in the setting sun, right across from Louise Bourgeois's gigantic "Maman": spider with egg-shaped eggs in her abdomen, bought for "only $3.5 million." Across the bridge, annoyed by trucks and cars and busses clanking over the steel plates in the roadway of the former rail-only bridge with another auto-traffic lane to the north and a pedestrian-bicycle lane to the south added on later. Broad Ottawa River affords good views of the Parliament on its hill above the river, with the Art Museum across the way with Champlain, as the guide later tells us, holding his astrolabe upside down. Walk around the Museum of Canadian Civilization, looking at all the provincial flags and their descriptions, taking pictures of the eight-person sculls in the river, and we're tired enough to sit for a bit before walking back across and getting back to the hotel unpleasantly tired at 6:15. Lay from 6:25-6:40. Then we'd checked out the menu for the three-course two-wine dinner for $45 (dinner) and $20 (wine), and I got a tasty shrimp appetizer with a Gewurtztraminer, duck with a tasty red, and an extra Gruner Vietliner for $9 with my dessert, costing a surprising total, with tip, of $97.72. Good, but not QUITE worth it, though the service was nice, including a BLACK napkin so my blue trousers wouldn't be linted by a WHITE napkin. Walk to Chapters Bookshop and pig out on books, get a bit lost, and walk back to room at 9:40, exhausted. Do sudoku 9:54 to 10:20 to digest, and then get to bed.

FRIDAY, 9/25/09: Pee at 4:18AM, after a bit of gastric reflux earlier, slightly hung over, and take two aspirin. Type dream from 7:37-7:53, then shower to 8:05. Dress, do more sudoku, and to breakfast (outside the hotel, which was $16 for the buffet) at Metropolitan Brasserie down the street for $11 at 8:35, lots with two over-easy eggs, country ham, cheese, fruit, and rolls. To the National Art Gallery at 10:10, starting with the Inuit Art in the basement, with a spectacular set of carved antlers set on a jade moose-head, and lots of impressive drawings and paintings and carvings, done by unpronounceable names from unpronounceable locations. Then up to wander other art, taking a picture of an atrium for which I'm castigated, and feel exhausted at 12:30, when we have a snack, mine a wonderful terrine with a lot of fruit and a LOT of cheese and crackers for only $8.95 from 12:50-1:15, Steve leaving early to get his camera from the hotel room, and we meet at 1:35 at the bus station for a VERY loud tour of the city, not really seeing much behind trees for $38, then dashing for the boat on the river that leaves on the dot of 4PM. Better views from there: houses along the cliffs, two waterfalls (well, dams) from the Rideau River, suburbs, sculls, lots of sites in the sunny afternoon, GREAT guide speaking in English and beautiful French, and we dock at 5:25, when I go up to rest while Steve searches out the hotel he stayed in a number of years ago. I lie down, then do sudoku, until his stomach grumbles at 6:50, so we're out to Sweetwater, which I'd noticed from the bus tour, address supplied by the desk, and we have to sit on the porch for a shared Hunter's Barbecue to start: bison, quail, and pork belly; and then my buffalo hamburger is MUCH too big to eat, so I leave LOTS of it, pay for it, and get back to hotel tired at 9PM. GUESS at the answer and solve the last sudoku from the plane at 9:44 and get to bed at 10:10, tired.

SATURDAY, 9/26/09: Pee at 2:41, note dream, and get right back to sleep. 6:12AM: Wake at 6:02AM when Steve is in the bathroom, type a second dream, and then start into the day after starting this as the first sentence in the Labrador journal on the Neo. Do some dressing and cost accounting to 6:30AM, then get started on the day in earnest. Get out long black socks for wellies, black zodiac pants, warmer blue shirt over my first undershirt of the season, hoping I'm not going to be TOO hot for breakfast. Pack VERY satisfactorily until 6:55AM, then read today's "Globe and Mail." Steve insists on going down to breakfast at 7:15. I'm sure they'll still be setting up, but more than half the people are already THERE. Pick up name tag with "Robert" from Sheryl, and have a huge breakfast to 8AM, when they exuberantly introduce part of the staff, and we're told to meet in the lobby at 9:30, bus leaves at 9:40, flight will be 10:45-12:55, and we CAN take water with us. DRY landing, but I decide to put wellies on anyway. At 8:41 start typing to catch up, Steve goes to walk around the block, at 9:06 the guy comes up to get our bags, and then at 9:11 a girl comes in to clean the room, and I finish this to date at 9:15, Steve not back yet. Put bag on truck and sit in lobby at 9:22AM. Chat in lobby, fill my water bottle, chat on balustrade outside, and I'm the second person on the first bus at 9:52. Standees on bus carrying 52, and we're 110 going. Leave at 10:13, through already familiar city, and arrive at city's second airport at 10:31. Told we can drive to the plane, and I panic when I see many getting in the front door, but when I board there's a seat second on the left near the window, with an old man, who reminds me slightly of Jean-Jacques, sitting with his cane in the aisle seat. I ask if anyone's sitting at the window and he says no. Stewardess stores her backpack under the seat between us and asks that I put his cane on the floor along the windows. Move at 11:20 and off at 11:25 for an announced two-hour flight. Ottawa is on the other side, sadly, and for a bit I'm looking into the sun, but then we turn north and the sun is behind me and I take intermittent pictures throughout the two-hour flight, all clear before a lunch of shepherd's pie (good beef with peas and corn under mashed potatoes), a salmon appetizer, a green salad with balsamic vinegar dressing, and a fairly decent chocolate cake with white icing. Have a glass of white wine and hope for a second, but there's no time even for coffee before landing. Clouds below as we have lunch 12:20-12:47, and then it clears about 1:10. First snow at #97 at 1:10. Land at 1:25, lots of pictures over the village of Kuujjuak below, exactly a two-hour flight. Off plane at 1:30, into crowded but modern terminal with lots of picturesque Inuit kids running around with round faces, and into the first bus in the front seat next to a chatty woman who reminds me of Shelley. Bus goes at 1:53 and the zodiac ride is rough and wet (mainly for those on the side across from me) from 2:20-2:30. I put my shoulder bag in cabin 206 and race up to take movies from deck 4 of the zodiacs unloading below on deck 2 at 2:50. Chocolate-chip cookies with fruit punch, then chocolate cake with beef bouillon, and I take a bonine, just in case, at 2:45. Finish food at 3:30, TIRED. To room at 3:40 to unpack to 4, adequate closet and drawer space, but not much room between the beds or in the bathroom, where I put my dop kit on a shelf but Steve keeps his on the porthole ledge, where I put my pills and omega-oil bottle. We're MOVING at 4PM. Watch from the front of deck 6 for a long time as we go up the river to the wider mouth, striking up a conversation with handsome Toronto I and later Toronto II bubbles over talking with me and Naomi from Devon, England, who's writing an article about this trip for her local newspaper, and who's wonderfully interested in my travels (and in handsome Toronto I, who's obviously taken with her, too). Dress warmer and back up, then to lounge for talk at 6:13, dozens of artists and musicians being introduced, many with musical intros, and it goes to 7:35, the only real announcement being of meals at 7:30AM, 12:30PM, and 7:30PM. Dinner 7:40-9:11, talky artist Bob filling us in on lots of trip details, and the pork isn't bad; I order a bottle of their cheapest wine at $23, a bubbly Henker Trocken, while Steve has a Diet Pepsi. Service is reasonably good, the conversation polite and animated, and we're back to room for me to prove the newspaper's sudoku can't be solved, my eyes closing, and decide to go to bed at 9:55 after brushing my teeth to mysterious purple spittle. Really feel quite tired, but the boat's motion is gentle: it never feels like we're going FAST. Bed at 9:55 and sleep almost instantly, Steve turning off his bed-light later.

SUNDAY, 9/27/09: Pee at 4:03, and up at 6:58AM for shower, hearing the announcement for 7AM from the bathroom. I'm out at 7:14 for Steve to go inside. Catch up with this to 7:39, Steve saying our squawk box wasn't turned on so he couldn't understand the wakening message. I'm glad to be caught up in time to get to the last free seats at breakfast. We drop anchor at 7:43 off islands that Steve grumpily admits might be part of Nunavut, and I might have actually, then, BEEN there. We ARE there, it turns out! To breakfast of muesli and fruit before the two huge eggs Benedict arrive, one of which Rob Saley, the chatty painter, takes with gratitude. We're with the polar-bear expert, too, who's guided the Bush family and many TV stars around, some of whom were foiled when they tried to shoot a caribou with their gun sights still capped! Get to the cabin to find it in the middle of being fixed up, but the maid leaves. I do this to 8:50, figuring to LIVE in my wellies so I can go aboard with more ease anytime. Listen to the orientation lecture on zodiac behavior, then the even-numbered cabins are first to board, and I get onto the second zodiac about 10AM. Across in less than ten minutes, step into water, and there's a steep climb to the abandoned Moravian village with all sorts of industrial sites in ruins. I go into one valley, go down to the shore, and am called back into a group by a man with a rifle looking to keep people together to ward off bears. Climb to the next hill, get tired, look around, and at 11AM go down to a nice beach and watch the tide rise about seven inches, coming about 3-4 feet up on the shore, until 11:30, when a LOT of people are making their way back to the zodiacs, so I get to the shore at 11:55, and a zodiac goes right off with nine of us, getting back to the ship at 12:02, where I undress mostly, pee, and type this to 12:15, Steve back and NOT going this afternoon, while I now have to shit and dress FAR more warmly for four hours outdoors, since two hours left me wet and slightly chilly. So I was on Killiniq Island in NUNAVUT for just about two hours! Go up for "packed lunch" of a sandwich and cupcakes, taking two extra chocolate-chip cookies. We're on M/V Clipper Adventurer. 12:43PM: Zodiac departure delayed until 1:15PM. Ready for my last pee, sadly couldn't shit but a tiny turd a half hour ago. Three pairs of socks under wellies; three layers below: long johns, pants, rain pants; FIVE layers above: undershirt, thermal shirt, polyester shirt, cashmere sweater, rain jacket; plus beret and heavy gloves. 12:56PM: Outrageously warmly dressed, taking extra-heavy gloves in bag along with lunch, camera, spare camera batteries, lip gloss, and NO money. Scarf around neck, beret on head, gloves at the ready, rain jacket dried from the earlier trip. I think I'll go stand in front of the 1:15 line now at 12:58---no, even I know that's ridiculous. 1:04: GOING NOW!! Boats off at 1:11, and I manage to go in the first one, driven by Stefan and populated by Clayton, who seems to be relied on for backup on Stefan's questionable decisions. Supposed to be four hours, and there are FIVE zodiacs with just under 50 people, almost HALF the guest list. The bear guy and Stefan confer endlessly over a marked-in-blue map that shows the passage, which neither of them seems to have done before: the usual mantra on entering a cove is, "Do you suppose we're the first people to have been here?" I sort of DOUBT it, but then I know NOTHING about it and it MAY VERY WELL BE TRUE. Finally decide on an entrance to McLellan Strait, and quite quickly we're rewarded with a bear and its cub! But the passengers leave out such a ROAR that the pair are more or less frightened away. Clayton has some fabulous close-ups with his enormous camera and lens, but I must say I don't do that badly when my images are enlarged. We lose them, but soon pick up a young male even closer to the shore, and I get four or five decent shots of him while Clayton keeps standing up in front of me and Stefan keeps shifting the boat around so that the viewing angles change constantly. Then we manage to frighten HIM away. Look for more, and there was a report of a fourth, but that seems to have been dismissed. I start out warm enough, but finally put on the heavy gloves and keep my rain-suit hat up because, when we go faster, there's a lot of water splashed up at my head, and my gloves are reasonably soaked. Stop on a spit at 3:05, where Stefan announces, "Men on the left, women on the right," but I don't actually see anyone taking advantage of it, but then I don't see them pouring out paper cups of coffee or hot chocolate, which I miss completely; and of course everyone is chatting amicably in groups and I'm not talking to ANYONE. Sit watching the tide on the shore, as before, and try to get a picture of a waterfall's face, but it's a bit too far away. Some people go WAY up onto the hillside; some eating; I'd eaten my sandwich (which seemed to have a piece of cheese BETWEEN two sandwiches, but Clayton thought that it was just ONE three-decker sandwich, not TWO one-deck sandwiches). Back into zodiacs about 3:45, and we start going faster until our zodiac doesn't seem to be able to catch up with the others, even after we EVENTUALLY sight the Adventurer WAY in the distance, and the two fastest zodiacs are MUCH closer than we are. Stefan works the intercom and finally the Sirius zodiac comes out manned only by the pilot, and four people from our zodiac (Vega?, since someone said Vega hadn't worked for HIM before, either) roll over the sides of the zodiacs to the Sirius, which I didn't even want to CONSIDER, and then WE returned faster than anyone else, being lighter, and I got off first, for Steve to take photos of me from above, and I'm back, to applause, at 5:06, and finally get everything off by 5:25, peeing codpiously (GOT to leave that typo!) and having to dress immediately for the lifeboat drill, the usual silliness, Steve having to point out that the life vests in question weren't the ones we got from previous trips, but were the boxy orange things at the top of HIS closet (where the top of MY closet contains the spare pillows and blankets). We do THAT, and I'm exhausted, but we're to report to the day's summary at 6:30, where we're told that this morning's trip was to MISSION COVE, which started with a fish-processing plant, and the latest burial on the hill just above the plant was in 1967. Snacks of ham mousse, salami, and marinated franks (awful) and nachos with salsa (OK) with the day's coverage from 6:30-7:30, reminding me that I hadn't recorded that we saw four CARIBOU, WAY up on a hillside, too distant to photograph, though Clayton managed it commendably. Tomorrow we're going up Nachvak Fjord, 15 miles in, which someone says should be pronounced NachBach) and we have dinner at 7:30, seated at the first table at the door because, as Steve put it, "It looks pretty crowded inside," and then Sheryl joins up and then Cedar joins us, "faut de mieux," I guess, because her husband-to-be-tomorrow Michael has to sit at ANOTHER table and she has to sit somewhere else. But it ends up A FABULOUS seating, for us, anyway, who knows (or, actually, cares) what they thought of us, but they made the gallant show that they loved our company too. We're recommended to go to the Log Cabin for cod at our stop at Woody Point on October 2 or 3. They really both know their business very well, and seem to have almost sold Steve on some kind of western Greenland trip NEXT year. I was almost ASLEEP during the last of the day's activities, but the two women REALLY perked me up for the evening, along with two or three glasses of Cedar's wine. FABULOUS company at dinner with Sheryl and Cedar to 9:40, TOTALLY soused on the rest of my wine and THREE glasses of Cedar's Spanish white wine, and GREAT talk of travel and food and Canada and companies, even to the connection between Marine Expeditions and Adventure Canada sharing the same ships. Change watch one hour to 10:42PM. Sadly, probably reflux tonight! Musk ox a NEW meat for dinner: tender, tasty, slightly gamy, slightly beefy, WELL prepared, AND they tell me I should try their COD, which might be fresher than any I'd ever had before. Sew on Steve's button, to his eternal gratitude, and I finish this at 11:28, appalled by the idea that HE would set the alarm EARLIER, but he said he's shut it off when I assured him that I heard announcements from the speaker in our bedroom. But STILL 11:28 to 7AM is NOT eight hours' sleep!

MONDAY, 9/28/09: Fall asleep quickly, but wake when the loudspeaker announces, "It [aurora borealis] may be developing; we can't guarantee anything, but you might see something from the rear of the fourth deck." Both Steve and I dress quickly and get out on deck to see maybe two dozen people gathered, and a swatch of light-green curtain envelopes the horizon behind us (to the north, I suppose), with a "kink" that changes slightly as we watch, and with a VERY vague halo that extends from directly overhead down to the right and left. I watch, and I guess it's Clayton who brags about a BRIGHT swatch of color across his camera image. I sit on the edge of a wooden bench and watch and watch as people stand in front of me with cameras, saying, "I hope I'm not in your way," and I say it's OK. Then lie down on the bench, staring upward, and there's a distinct, though vague, band of light-green across the zenith, which slowly changes into arrays of faintly discernible stripes running east and west, but which grows fainter and fainter, until I check my watch about 1:21AM and decide it might not be worth watching more, checking to see that the "curtain" has vanished from the north. I'd tried to take pictures and movies, and I'll check tomorrow to see if I have anything, but at 1:33AM I come back down and start typing on the toilet until 1:40AM, ready to undress and get back into bed, feeling slightly hung over, having already taken two aspirin before going to bed. AGAIN wakened by loudspeaker at 6:50, saying there's a sunrise in the Nachvak Fjord, so I get dressed and get out to see a rosy hue on a snow-powdered peak, Mount Caubvak, the highest in eastern Canada, but then the sun goes behind clouds, but I take a picture or so, and then Rob spots a minke whale in the far distance. I stay outside until 7:35 when I sit at a vacant table, at which Chris joins me, then his wife Charlotte, then the woman who runs the Walrus Foundation, and I decide to have a bowl of Sugar Frosted Flakes, fruit, tea, and cold-cuts for breakfast, still feeling full nonetheless. They chatter away during breakfast, casually, about the Lesbian Wedding last Sunday, which they couldn't handle from the point of view of "how many bridal receptions when you have two brides?" because no one's written a book on how to deal with it yet. I sit and eat my yogurt. Announce that the odd-numbered cabins are going first to see the "spiritual ruins" on the banks of the fjord at 9AM. I'm SO tired that I really don't feel like dressing, but Biz said she'd been up three nights' running on some previous trip because there was always something to look at. Everyone graciously talks to EVERYONE. I finish this at 8:42, even SLIGHTLY debating not going ashore, but it seems to be the only thing to do, so I'll dress warmly and do it. 9:03AM: "Even cabins, you may start to COME." I wasn't even breathing hard, except to put on my third pair of heavy socks. 11:14AM: Take off on the LAST zodiac to the shore at 9:08AM, go over to hear Latania talk about the half-sunken Thule fall-winter sod houses where Inuit might later bury their dogs after they abandoned a site, and then I wander onto the hillside, tasting the red (partridgeberry), blue (blueberry), and black (crowberry and bearberry) berries, many of which weren't that good, but there were LOTS of them. Also take photos of Doreen bagpiping. Kicked-up leaves look like grasshoppers evading my steps, but Steve actually saw a little brown furry creature, later identified as a vole, that vanished as soon as he saw it. I cross a gully and get wet many times, probably the bottoms of my pants are soaking again. Look at a very mediocre painting with odd streaks of "rock" in the clouds, and the tall painter packs up his easel as I get near. Didn't hear the talk on the tent circles at the shore, but don't think I missed much. Onto a zodiac with about seven others coming back at 11:05, circling the being-tested fifty-passenger lifeboat at 11:09, taking off my TOTALLY WET blue jacket and draping it over my dop kit to dry, jotting these notes to 11:18 in preparation for taking off multiple layers of lower and foot clothing. What an EFFORTFUL effort! 11:30AM: Drying clothes spread all over my bed, boots and life jacket on the floor, pants and undershirt drying ON me, as are my white socks in my shoes. Coldish, but I guess I'll get warmer. Maybe they have some warm bouillon at the bar. Yes, the bouillon is there and good, and people are at one point in the afternoon looking out at the merest point, even through binoculars, of a black bear on a hillside. My camera tells me that the polar swim started at 12:15PM, BEFORE lunch, recording Toronto I's dive at 12:25. Seven or eight dive from the fourth deck into the water, including the VERY nicely muscled Toronto I, who even seems to turn his beautiful torso toward me so I can get a good shot of it before he dives, but not as good a shot as Steve gets of him standing in the zodiac after his dive. Then seven or eight go off the landing stage, everyone cheering and clapping. The lunch of awful tempura at about 1PM is followed by the wedding about 2:35-3:15, at which the passengers are welcome with endless supplies of passed barbecued franks and strips of beef, and with an open bar from which I have a glass of white wine and a glass of Galliano with ice, not as tasty as I remember, and I'm tempted to ask Toronto I if he's ever had it, and he keeps sort of looking at me, and even standing nearby, but he only appears ENGAGED (yes) when he's sitting and talking animatedly with Naomi, damn her. Cedar is taking it all rather casually, smiling for photographers and giggling to Michael, who doesn't seem that shy at this point. 3:37PM I have a shot of the bride and groom returning in their zodiac from their outing. And at 4:38 I take my last picture of the day outdoors. Then 5:10 to 6:05 Latania talks about the earliest of the 20 or so cultures that have been through here, with the third or fourth constructing the qarmat (sod house) of the Thule (TOO-lee) culture about 1400AD, having come across the north from the Bering Strait, and then they moved to the sina (beach) house. Lastly came the Basques, immortalized in many names such as Port Aux Basques. Then they awarded the green gloves and T-shirts to the 6 women and 8 men who swam, bringing this season's total to 120 swimmers aged 9-94! Then comes Alistair MacLeod from 6:30 to 6:50, whom many have read enough to ask, "Why did your characters in X novel have large hands while you have small hands," and he attributes it to manual labor enlarging hands, which I somehow don't think is the case. Popular in Canada he may be, and the bagpiper from Vermont even read one of his novels and liked it, "Hoping it would never end," and I can't even think of the proper name of Pynchon's last novel. Then at 7PM is the Captain's cocktail reception, where I choose my first Brandy Alexander, then have a yellow bird, then a rum punch during the day's recap, followed by humorous videos, like the guy cannonballing into a sensuous woman's hot tub, holding out a beer and saying "What!" when she's obviously displeased by his boorish behavior. And then poor Steve misses the nude (but air-brushed) soccer team ushering a clothed streaker off the field. They preview tomorrow from 7:37-7:46, starting with Saglek Bay at 6AM, enjoying the beauty of the north arm, onto which the first zodiac debarks at 7AM, back by 9AM, brunch at 9:30, then to Hebron, abandoned Moravian town from 1820, restored mission building, hiking, couple hours there, graveyard of Moravians and Inuits, resettled in 1959, then abandoned again to the anger of the locals, to which they put up a monument apologizing three years ago. To Hopedale the following day. There's a lavish dinner at 8PM in a low-lit, fairy-light illuminated dining room at a table with Therese from Quebec, two sisters, one living in Whitehorse, and the bagpiper and her roommate. Shrimp cocktail to start, broccoli soup, decent filet mignon with an almost crunchy lobster tail, a bit of champagne for a toast to the bride and groom, a melting wedding cake with three flaming candles burning the bottom of the layer above through endless toasts by the Captain, the fond father, and then even the mother, and the bride, and even the groom, and even a steward singing a mushy song, after the bagpiper gets applauded for "Crayfon," or something like that, and a touch of "Ode to Joy." Back to the cabin at 10:20, to crawl exhausted into bed at 10:39 after taking all my pills and two aspirin for all the booze during the day. The chronicle of the day can be expanded later [which I did to 10:03AM on Tuesday, 9/29].

TUESDAY, 9/29/09: Pee at 12:06AM. 6:18AM: Steve reports that air is "very damp," and there's nothing yet to see. I had a small but satisfying shit already this morning, and he now put on the room light. 6:20AM, I GUESS I might as well dress, since I'm not THAT tired enough to have another nap. Get some tea, maybe. 7:26AM: Have a glass of tomato juice in addition to my morning yogurt and orange juice, and get to cabin to put out the "Privacy Requested" sign so they don't come in to make up the bed, and don't even bother to go out at the report of a whale off the OTHER side of the ship. Just take off my shoes and lie down after my task of a few morning photos. 8:22: Two wonderful humpback breaths quite near: the first heralded by a sweep of white below the surface, followed by a breath and a hump, and on the other side, an entire LENGTH of body visible for a moment before the breath. And then a Morse-code series of undecipherable risings and fallings along a far shore, VERY near the shoreline, it seemed, and then random surfacings, and finally it seemed to be moving out of the fjord, so I come down to warm up and pee. 9:25: Go to plot my map in the library. Catch up with yesterday to 10:04AM, ready to go up to brunch. Told to go on deck. Take photos, get cold, go to brunch 10:45-11:34, steak soup, not that great, but starting with TWO Bloody Marys and TWO mimosas makes it much better, and the pork's not bad either, and the peach pie with vanilla cream is a good finish with a good group, and back down for sudoku. Dennis Minty speaks about ecology and polar bears, saying that the black berries are CROWberries, and that polar bears are the BIGGEST bears, the biggest one weighing in at 2210 pounds at 12 feet long. He answers questions to 12:45; I go down for a reasonable shit and get back to solving two sudokus, Steve snoring sonorously away, I closing my eyes for a few minutes. I get up to pee and at 2:27 Stefan announces that we're approaching Hebron and will be going ashore in the next 30 minutes. I go to note-card 4, and wash my face and start dressing. 2:47: "Not for fifteen minutes yet," and I'm exhausted from putting on my two extra pair of socks. Putting on my rain pants BEFORE putting on the boots makes THAT easier, and then pulling UP the rain pants to tuck the JEANS into the boots is HARDER, but somehow more efficient. Decide NOT to wear my blue jacket, hoping the cashmere sweater will keep me warm enough for the "only" two hours ashore. 2:53: Dressed, "ANOTHER fifteen minutes," but even-numbered cabins ARE first, but it IS windy and wet on the way over. Out in FIRST zodiac at 3PM, wander site, photo graves, houses, flora, Steve, he does me, back FAST at 4:25, last into boat, VERY rough across, wet where I HAD sat, into ship at 4:32, longest seven minutes ever. Take pants down QUICK and pee, then undress until 4:44, when Steve comes in, saying it was rough coming back. I type this to 4:46, everything DAMP, but going to get bouillon and dry out. No bouillon because they'd set up for 4PM tea and it was all over. I have two cups of tea and four wonderful cookies. Sea getting rougher. 5:41 Doug Gibson gives his talk on "Publish and Be Damned," naming lots of names which would be famous only to Canadians: lots of former Prime Ministers and probably famous Canadian writers. I guess he WAS important, but it meant little to me, even though I tried to substitute Reagan and Carter and Clinton when he talked about Trudeau and Levesque and Diffenbacker. I go down to pee and wipe awful white stuff from under my corona. 6:45 is recap, with someone writing about his five-journey stint on his website "available at reception" as Tomorrow: Hopedale is a LIVE Moravian town, after lunch. 3:30 local program in gym. Dry landing, town of 1000 people. Char have to be LIFTED to the river they had to swim up to spawn because lower course is DRY due to global warning, just as moose have to be TRUCKED to the wintering grounds because the (sounds crazy, but this what I seemed to hear him say) river isn't frozen anymore, so they can't walk upstream. This goes to 7:43, doing anything to delay our going in to dinner. I go down to cabin to pee and take a bonine. Sea is rougher still, and people carom into dining room, where I have good cream of garlic soup, talking with Charlotte and Chris and Fedora (the old skinny former orchestral flute and piccolo player who'd sat with us the first night), feeling gradually worse and worse, hoping to last until dessert. The chicken is mercifully very little, the waiter assuring us that service WILL come as time lingers on and I try to stay the course, and finally the soft ice cream covered with a mediocre warm chocolate sauce comes out, I finish it at last, and excuse myself with an inane "appointment" downstairs, and rip off clothes and crawl into bed at 9:37PM, taking a whoopie bag with me just in case, breathing deeply. Steve comes in and leaves the light on for a long time, but I think I fall off to sleep before he puts the light out, surely before 10PM. Pee at 11:34, not feeling better, not feeling worse.

WEDNESDAY, 9/30/09: Sleep through, ship rocking. Steve's up and looking out the porthole in light when I ask the time, and he says 7:14AM. No announcement yet. I get up and pee and wash the left part of my slimy groin. Finally about 7:40 the captain comes on with a bizarre Swedish greeting, then says good morning, announces our position and the temperature, about 37 degrees Fahrenheit, and not a word about schedule or breakfast. Steve gets up to shower, I start typing to catch up, to see how I'll feel, and finish at 7:58, not nauseated by typing, but then I took TWO bonine about ten minutes ago. Think I'll try dressing and going up for breakfast, since I think food will be good on my stomach. Steve asks me to compare this with other rocking ships, and I can't say much except this ship seems less seaworthy than many because seemingly rather small swells cause great shifts in the boat, though I assure him the motions can get much worse. Birds fly past the window surprisingly close at a few times. Rocking even worse now, so walking will be a chore. Now 8AM. Up to about 30 people scattered about breakfasting, have small plate of melon, cheese, and salami, with a small bowl of muesli, then order a cheese and bacon omelet with toast, and have a second glass of orange juice with my pills. Steve joins as I have a quarter of a Belgian waffle with maple syrup. Still wanted SOMETHING as dining room filled, and on the way out (saying good morning to a smiling Toronto I) I espied tomato juice and thought "That's it!" And it WAS: thick, room-temperature, nourishing, perfect! The waves are higher now, white-tipped, more in concert with the semi-violent rocking of the ship. Back to room at 9AM as a talk starts about CBC and story-telling, available over the room radio, but, thank you, no. Back to bed. 10:35 Steve goes to drawing class. Lunch starts at 12:02 and I'm there for a round of the salad bar for eight tiny ingredients: tuna, mushrooms, cheese, salami, cucumber, paté, celery, and olives. Then about a quarter of the Pasta Primavera, a glass of beer with which I announced my "umpty-umpth AND A HALF" birthday, and about half of the chocolate mousse for dessert. Then directly to "Writing in the First Person" at 1:07, who plays about five or six rather simple and heartfelt songs in "the autobiographical tone." They let him go to 1:55 when they announce we're WET-landing in Hopedale, which was named Agvituk as an Inuit settlement, all the soccer players and cheerleaders get ready, and we have to get back to the ship early since we're fighting the Labrador current on our way out of the river. Then, of course, there's an announcement that the loading of the zodiacs is delayed for another fifteen minutes, and they're starting with the odd-numbered cabins. I take the time to find the Vicks for my terribly dry nose, which feels good salved, and since it's 6 degrees, or possibly even in the low 40s, I decide NOT to wear my rain pants and ONLY one additional pair of socks, which makes dressing the lower body MUCH easier, but gives Steve the chance for my-proclaimed "worst dig of the trip:" his response when I ask, "What do you do when you get so old you can't reach down to pull on your socks?" "Lose weight!" The NERVE! I type this to 2:20, not having a lot of time left in the rest of the day! Record the Anthem of Nuntiavit. Record the demonstration calisthenics and the locally won soccer game. Leave 4:43, into zodiac 4:55, across by 5:02, undress and shower 5:15-5:35, powder and deodorant and no undershirt at all. Recap 6:30-7:35, and dinner at the Bowhead Table hosted by Matthew Swan (our leader) and Steve MacDonald, Steve's drawing-praising teacher, who's sexy enough. LOTS of white wine thanks to Steve and Matthew opening a second bottle of white. Sat with Maxine Smith from Ottawa, Shirley across being somewhat critical of the two of us from New York, Steve rather curious about my work as an indexer, and now Steve seems to identify a Peter from Toronto as Toronto I, and a rotter he may be, seducing the women but secretly wanting men, as my fantasy would have it. Ignore the Hopedale chronicle until tomorrow to get to bed now at 10:45PM, Vicks up my nose, having taken evening pills with two aspirin, HAPPY that I had my shower this evening, and now the sea seems to get rougher, not to mention something about a "piston malfunction" that caused us to be late a few times already, and we've already been told we might not stop at Battle Harbor tomorrow, but Steve can't remember why we'd stop there.

THURSDAY, 10/1/09: 4:07AM: Type dream. Rather substantial multi-phase mympths, but all very brief. Type to 4:16AM. 7:43AM: Wake and Steve's in the bathroom. Type dream to 7:48, Steve still in the john. It's bright but foggy out, sea still rather rough. Go up to an empty breakfast room at 8:05 and only later find that it's scheduled from 8-9:30 today since there's no landing. Eat with others I haven't met before, and down at 9 with a passenger list that I quantify: 109 Canadian, 90%; 9 U.S., 7%; 4 Other, 3%; 122 in all. 9:37 up to Latania on Art. She goes to 10:30, when they show the hour-long "Seven Artists around Newfoundland," with most of the seven on board, mainly Bob and Steve, and then the 20-minute Cape Dorset film centered around the suicide of a young throat-singer they'd taped the very afternoon of the evening she committed suicide, leaving a message thanking the artists for "seeing her." Back to the cabin at 12:45, waiting for a 1PM lunch of some kind of burger. Truly no landing today, which I find is just perfect for my frame of mind. Went through yesterday's videos in preparation for describing them here later. To lunch at noon at loquacious table, getting directions for public busses to Chickenburger in Bedford outside Halifax. Double chocolate on one scoop of vanilla ice cream served by Harsley, our waiter from Hondouras, wonderfully friendly. Down to cabin at 2:16, deciding NOT to hear Alistair MacLeod on the development of Canadian literature. Sudoku STRAIGHT through to 4:50, when I go up to see Matthew's show of "The Trip So Far." Only 4 sudoku left in my first book. That goes to 6:15 with an addition of slides from the first half of this trip, interesting enough. Back to have Steve try to sell me the idea that Toronto I is the model for some sexy after-shave ad in some magazine he has. Is he trying to help me have fun? I just remark that, at this time next week, we'll be having dinner in Toqué. Type this to 6:29, three sudoku left, pee coming, then recap at 7PM, followed by dinner---who's hungry? 9:49PM: EXTRAORDINARY EVENING! There's really no recap; sort of a history of the financial problems of The Walrus, and no news of what's happening tomorrow. To give away copies of the magazine's tote bags and sweatshirts, they ask Lewis Carroll questions and the menu is replete with Walrii and Carpenters and oysters and I have an appetizer, beef soup, and veal shank that's an enormous portion that I eat little of because Mary Ellen Cooke is talking on one side and Doug Gibson on the other, and she insists that I buy the wine tonight and SHE buy the wine the next night, and I order an awful rosé which she tastes and accepts, and then, after I tell my story of my LAST night's "umpty-umpth-and-a-half birthday" SHE has her 59th birthday, complete with cake and an Elvis impersonator crooning "Happy Birthday" while waiters surround with cymbalic sugar-lids and tympanic silverware while she says my head had been haloed with a red "King Lear crown" of the tambourine. AND then the news comes that Shelley Ambrose has picked up the bill for EVERYONE'S WINE tonight! What EXTRAORDINARY luck, and I leave Mary Ellen talking with Steve, pleading a urinary urgency, and type this to 9:59PM, really eager for bed though I've done absolutely nothing today. Finish (though messing up) the last sudoku and throw away the book, Vicks my nose, pee, and get to bed at 10:45PM, surprised how late it is, though still DELIGHTED with the happy circumstances of my free wine, Mary Ellen's birthday cake, and the chat with Doug Gibson. and it's now practically FRIDAY, and we'll be HOME at this time next week!

FRIDAY, 10/2/09: 12:13AM: Wake, feeling as if I'd barely had a chance to go to sleep, and find my Neo won't turn on. Switch battery positions, and it turns on. Type dream to 12:26AM, Neo still working. And when I open it again, the battery-signal level is actually MORE than one-half full! Maybe the batteries WERE mal-aligned. 3:53: Pee and type dream. Type to 3:58; I feel almost ready to start the day, and either we're anchored or moving so slowly that it seems we're already at our day's destination, but I have no idea what that might be. 7:48AM: My camera time has been an hour BEHIND since we changed our clocks about three days ago. Changed it an hour and a half AHEAD as we changed it a half hour ahead this morning. Notes from card: "Anthem of Nunatiavit." For Chickenburger in Halifax: go down the hill from the hotel to the bus station, get bus to Bedford, get off at the place, eat, cross road and flag a bus on the way back. Exact change needed for bus. Get a smallish chickenburger AND a hamburger AND a milkshake or float. EVERYONE knows it; MAY be a line. Back at present: I look for dolphins out the window but seen none. Shower this morning without washing hair because I SMELL. Counting days and resisting impulse to count meals, even though it's something like SEVENTEEN MORE with the group. Steve's finishing showering, will take notebook to note day's events. 12:48PM: ask for one egg Benedict for breakfast and get two anyway. Sit with another Bob, whom Steve said he described as the Casper Milquetoast type that he was surprised to see jump into the Arctic Ocean. Take a good seat for Dennis Minty's "Art of Nature Photography," and for someone who's undoubtedly taken THOUSANDS of photos, he doesn't have THAT much to be proud of. That goes to about 10:15 and my eyes are just CLOSING, so I go down and lie down until just before 12, when Steve says people are having lunch in the dining room. Up to sit with MacLeods, taciturn sorts---maybe we even made a mistake to sit at their table, but it was empty and not reserved---well, HE was reserved, anyway. Had the mushroom broth and the ribs, huge and tasty, with adamantine peas and carrots, but lunch was livened by minkes on both sides of the ship. I remarked that I'd postpone dessert until dinner and went on deck to hear one passenger complain to the other that "We're not even DOCKED and we're supposed to go ashore at 1PM." Haven't heard many complaints from OUR end of the ship. Get out the NY Times puzzle book to take up some time, but then remember to transcribe the THIRD dream from last night. Finish that at 12:56 and still no cessation of the ship's forward motion. My shoulder bag is all packed with hat, gloves, and even umbrella! 11:03PM: VERY poor in keeping notes. 1PM zodiac to Woody Point, in Gros Morne National Park, 6PM back. Nature photos with Minty 8:50-9:50. Off on zodiac 2PM. Ride bus UP to 2:15, then down, back up at 2:24 and THEN up to Tablelands at 2:45. 3:04 serpentine markings. #326 moss campion. #327 900-year-old moss. Onto bus 4PM. 4:13 to Information Center. Movie 4:23-4:42, then chaos with bus-scheduling. FILM the first part of the movie, 5:10 to bus down. Onto ship at 5:50. Tired and lie down to 6:50, when I go up for accordion player from village and then recap. Dinner with Tom of Australia, who drinks two FULL glasses of orange juice to counteract his 4-5 Campari and sodas for lunch that put him to sleep on the bench, and then he had three hamburgers in the local restaurant. To "Bluff" at 9:25, my team coming in second, no thanks to me, who only got three of ten NEWFOUNDLAND (NO FAIR!) words right. Down to find Steve still awake and envying my "Where It's At" book, and we might just DO that trip some time. Type this to 11:15 and get ready for bed. Teeth AWFULLY bloody on brushing! And I STINK! And my shit is like CHOCOLATE! This is getting AWFUL! Bed 11:33PM.

SATURDAY, 10/3/09: 1:36AM: Pee and type dream to 1:43AM. 3:06AM: Pee and type dream to 3:12, terribly sad about my woeful inability to depict the agonies of the people, and me, in the dreams, and the black-and-white graininess of the film, the fucking details of our degradation and sheer terror of living through such damnable horrors. Where are the words to describe this, and why do I have these dreams? And why do I have to note that it's now 3:15AM and the ship is rocking and I just want to sleep---forever? NO, I want to be HAPPY, and BACK from the trip, and FREE from the desire to travel!! 6:29AM: Pee and type dream to 6:37AM, getting tired of doing this. Up about 7:55AM, Stefan having announced breakfast and a temperature of 51 degrees. Steve gets out of the bathroom before shaving, giving me a chance to shit a bit and wash my face and dress before he's even ready for breakfast, which I leave for at 8:16, worried about being late. Extraordinarily greasy omelet 8:30-9AM, then to a talk by Doug Gibson on "Editors and Authors" until 10AM, followed by a silly public-announcement battle between someone saying we should be on deck watching the seldom-seen south coast of Newfoundland, between Channel-Port-aux-Basques and Isle aux Morts, and someone else saying we should be waiting 20 minutes for "the most important talk of his life," by Bill Lishman. I feel like sleeping, and type this to 10:09, not really very much caring either way, except that it's nice to see SUN shining on these small coastal towns with their widely spaced white houses dotting the barren shoreline. Early lunch, having Vol au Vent and Veal to 12:42. We DOCK at La Poile (pronounced as a Brooklynite would pronounce Pearl) at 1:30, trying to get it on film but not quite succeeding. Get down to the dock to be pushed into Violet's group by Stefan, and she ends up with seven of us, walking us from one end of the village to the other: school, church (where David plays the organ), cemetery, incinerator (where two ATVs take loads of our garbage), two stores, the top of the hill, and finally the Community Center, jammed with people, where I put my coat on a high table and enjoy three different kinds of blueberry pastries and two kinds of red-berry pastry whose name (partridgeberry) I forget. AND a single pie of great taste I have no idea of content of which of. Then ten names are called: Hidé's is first and mine is second! We're told to bring our chairs to the front, where we sit while they bring out a pail of seaweed and a cod and a bottle of Screech. They're initiating us as Newfoundlanders, and I enjoy talking to the sexy Hidé (he-day). Eventually they get to me, put on a rain hat, put my right foot into cold water filled with seaweed, put the ugly cod up to my lips, and give me a plastic glass of horridly alcoholic Screech. I guess I made good-enough faces because everyone laughs appreciatively, but the Screech sat as a burning spot at the top of my stomach well into the rest of the evening. We get back to the boat at 5:20, inviting townspeople aboard, so I suggest to Steve that we lock our door, but it turns out I never leave the room, just lying there while Steve goes out. Then at 7:05 we're reminded that this is Theme Night, and I immediately think to put a Band-Aid on an index card on which I've written "Cod-on-Mouth Disease" and attach it to the tip of my nose, so it covers my mouth while allowing me to eat. Steve laughs at it and finally decides (like Carol Burnett with her drapes) to take a curtain-pull and wrap it around his forehead with his nametag in the middle. We get early to dinner to sit at an entry table where a gratifying number of people laugh at my entry. There are six or seven Frida Kahlos, a Venus on the half-shell, a winning Margaret Atwood, a sexy Salvador Dali, a number of---a female Canadian artist who was only posthumously famous whose name I forget, and three or four Rob Saleys with ridiculous hair and shoulder-bobbing walk. Two big-haired people, a fisherman with a lowered fly who wins best male, and a few other variations take us to a brief recap at which Stefan INSISTS we put our watches a half-hour ahead, while Steve thinks it should be a half-hour behind. We're divided into groups, both of us into Group B, which leaves at 8:30AM for a Sailor's Island which has been abandoned for years, and exchanges with Group A who had been on a bus tour of the tiny town of St. Pierre, and then we just roam the town before returning to the ship by 12:45PM, probably not even having our passports stamped, and surely no post office facilities open on a Sunday. Back to room at 9:45 to catch up with this, waiting for 10:01 to change my watch (and camera) to 10:31. Brush my teeth, surprisingly LESS bloody tonight, and get out CARDS to hand out to people interested in my website. Bed 10:55PM, feeling I'll NOT be getting enough sleep.

SUNDAY, 10/4/09: 12:54AM: Less than two hours asleep and I type dream and pee to 1:05AM. 4:15AM: Pee and type dream to 4:25AM. 6:45AM: Hardly sleep, but dream anyway. Pee and type dream to 6:55. Out at 7:06. 9:51AM: One of the earliest for breakfast of orange juice and two scrambled eggs (still tasting funny, like the greasy omelet) with ham (which is also strange, almost like Spam), and finally a cup of coffee to try to give a boost to the too-early morning. About 7AM announcement that the pilot ship is coming, but it turns out that we arrive the FIRST of three ships, and the single pilot gets to us LAST, "As sometimes happens," explains Stefan. So now, as before, Group B will be going to Sailor Island first, then to St. Pierre, then back to the ship, all by zodiac and dry landings. I do a too-simple sudoku in the new book, followed by a relatively easy three-star. Just before 9AM there's a call to the lounge where I give my card to Paula and Donald (Brooks-)Lounsbury, and to Richard (the only Richard) Ivey, and to our last night's Vancouver winner Shelagh Rogers from Gabriola Island, BC, one of the former largest fishing camps in the world, who expressed interest in my site. Now at 10AM they announce the last of the Group A's, so they must be almost ready for Group B. And I'm ready to go. To Sailor's Island at 10:15, take pictures of church, houses, shore, Stations of the Cross, grave markers, distant lighthouse, then dash across the island for the Transpacific wreck (serves him right for being in the middle of the North Atlantic) and dash back to the zodiac to be the last one aboard just as it leaves at 11:15. Then see people waiting for the bus, go to the yellow rest-house on the shore for a pee, and get on the bus FIRST after the first group gets off at 11:37. Find that I gave my card to Sherry Peterson. To the back end of the island, all photos numbered and timed of course, and off at last when Steve wants me to take his photo against St. Pierre. I resist, but have to do it for him. Off bus about 1PM, [start file 2 at 5:34PM 10/4/09] find we have to 1:45, so I dash to the Information Office and ask, in French, if they have stamps, and then say it's for a collection and I'd like one of each, and she gives me about eight or nine stamps and floors me by saying they're FREE. Then back to pee again, dash up to take pictures of the cathedral, locked, and then across to the Robert Hotel where they DO have a table of tiny bits of cheese on tiny bagette rounds, and she fills my tumbler just over half-full with a red wine I don't even really TASTE, and take three or four Brie-like cheeses, a plain white, and then some goat cheese, and she wraps me up three DOUBLED sandwiches to go as I say I have to be back in fifteen minutes at 1:30. Dash back to find zodiac loading, and we're only six back to ship at 1:50. Lunch 2-3:10 with bright-blue-eyed Marty and Richard, with cream of garlic soup and "Famous Beef Stew," which isn't bad, with a dark nockerl, but I can't finish it because I decide to celebrate with a "cheap beer" for which they charge me $4.75 rather than $4.50. Hear something about writing music about to begin, but I feel so tired at 3:15 that I just plop into bed, ignoring later announcements that, I guess, MacLeod will speak, and get up at 5:28, having smelled my blue shirt enough to get ready to have a shower, putting the heat knob up to the crack, the highest it's been yet, and get out clean shorts, socks, and my last clean, green flannel, shirt, now at 5:40PM. 6:30: Take pictures of Steve, dress in all-clean clothes, and leave for cocktail party at 6:40. Have a Brandy Alexander, a Polar Punch with vodka, Curacao (blue) and orange juice to make it green, and three or four glasses of champagne, so I sure don't need wine with dinner. Biz and Richard sit at our table, and they KNEW each other: Biz went to school with Richard's daughter; Richard told me he'd be 84 around October 26. Biz tells us about, covering everything in the world. And she's MARRIED with KIDS, tried to go to Cuba for the first time five-months' pregnant and being refused. Great lobster-tail contributions from both Biz and Richard, and I don't finish my chateaubriand. There are two birthdays, a man we don't know and Willy, the Inuit-type, who Steve says is Chinese, who gets to dance with about a dozen men while the maitre'd Elvises his love to her. The red halo around my head at Mary Ellen's birthday was the tambourine. Then the staff is trotted in for recognition for housekeeping, cooking, management, and finances---and the bill is waiting on our beds when I go down for the cameras to take photos of the incredible flotilla of icebergs that covers the dessert of Neapolitan ice cream and frosting. Then at 9:54 Bill Lishman shows his "Metal Works" of a life-size wandering albatross with 12-foot wingspan. Back to the room at 10:50, bottom sore from sitting low so people behind me could see the video in the too-small Clipper Room because the Lounge had been committed to a sing-along. Back to check my Visaed bill of $144.40, which seems OK. Effortless. VERY tired as I finish this at 10:57, slightly relieved with the knowledge that we're putting the clocks BACK one hour this evening. I think my flannel shirt is beginning to smell ALREADY. A STRESS-filled evening, even to talking with the "youngest in spirit (Richard)" and "an old soul (Biz)" which I have to explain to her as someone who's been around for ages, gaining experience and passing it on to others. Yeah, well. Steve told me that Toronto I sat next to him on the zodiac back from St. Pierre and was totally drunk, sitting on Steve's hand without realizing it. But he was STILL dynamite sitting at the next table. Can't imagine the reaction from people on the trip if they actually READ this, but that's the purpose of my website: it's MY website, of ME, and I have to be taken exactly as presented. Now to get to bed at (new time) 10:01PM. At 10:15PM Steve reports that the wake-up call is at 6:45 and breakfast is at 7:45, and I said the only reason I could think of the madness of waking up before 7AM would be to watch the sunrise. He was on deck and said the weather was quite mild and the sky totally black. I don't feel I need to see it for myself. Finish this at 10:18PM and hope to sleep for something like eight hours despite wake-time for dreams. Don't go to sleep for some ten minutes, at least.

MONDAY, 10/5/09: 12:22AM: Pee and type dream, getting new statement under the door for Steve who increases his gratuities by $100 on the final day. Finish typing at 12:27AM. 3:17AM: Pee and type dream to 3:21AM. 6:30AM: Pee and type nightmare to 6:40, ship rocking rather roughly around me, feeling slightly queasy already. Wake-up call at 7:45, Steve goes to bathroom and I chat from bed to 8:15, when I'm up, and shit fairly adequately and dress and get to breakfast at 8:30, first "short story" slated for 9:30 and the bazaar starting at 10:15 in the dining room. Share a waffle with Steve, and the bagpiper kindly gets me a glass of orange juice. Then at 9:33AM the story by Paul Quarrington is VERY effective, using the simplest images to great effect, choosing exactly the right one-syllable word to make a sentence memorable in his "story" to "Mr. Barker," or some such teacher's name, of his "conversion" to his wife. He gets a standing ovation, which I join with pleasure, and Willy is wiping her eyes. The bazaar opens at 10:30 and I walk through, feeling acute embarrassment most of the time, though vaguely tempted to get the VERY weighty Canada-photographs book by Shelagh for only $20, but resist the temptation because it just isn't that SPECIAL. Back to the room to pee and type this to 10:38, glad the sun is coming out and the rocking of the boat is lessening (it scattered breakfast silverware over the floor in one heave), but I'd still rather be in bed than walking around. Anyway, there's absolutely nothing to see and the decks are wet from the morning rain. Steve comes back and we chat, then go up to lunch at 1PM, starting with a decent cream of corn soup, but the Wurst Platter was one of the Wurst: one bit of the white sausage was all I would allow, and the dessert lemon meringue pie wasn't much better, but at least it sufficed with three glasses of ice water. See the program for the "Beauty of Black and White Film" at 2:30 and the Whisky Label Contest and 3:45, and decide there's nothing to do (besides pack) before the 6:30 final recap and the 7:30 dinner. Start puzzles at 2:04PM. 4:45PM: Sadly, the sudokus in the one-per-page book are much too simple: even the four-star puzzles are essentially (at least the ones I've done) snaps. Finish the Obama-cover New York Magazine and give it to Steve, who in turn gives me a copy of the New York Review of Books, which has great articles on Shirley Jackson (by Joyce Carol Oates, no less) and on Fordlandia, not to mention a sadly negative Obama article by George Wills. Then Steve almost completes packing for departure from the boat, leading me to think I should at least get STARTED on an equal project. Catch up with this by 4:48, before peeing and getting out my suitcase. 5:46: Pack awkwardly, taking time to photo Steve and Steve with their painting and drawing, and also decide to change from the already-smelly flannel shirt to the North Face shirt which I'll probably wear for the rest of the trip. Steve says the deck is wonderful, so I'll go up to take a look. 11:38PM: THERE I find that we're AT Halifax, only waiting for the pilot at 7AM! To last recap at 6:30, more farewells, then dinner at 8PM, with Paula and Don, in the underwear they won for the best Whisky Label: Snakebiter's Scotch from Rattlesnake Point. Last announcements, but I want to see the Variety Show, which starts at 10:10, and gives the funniest line of the night when Jocelyn introduces listening to her mother play Chopin, and Beethoven, and Brahms, This: and starts to play the Lullaby, but after the first phrase stops, rises a bit, and says, "I never played in front of a jar of cod testicles." The place absolutely went up for grabs. But there were still two more acts at 11:30, they'd announced a wake-up call for 7AM for the luggage to be out, so I simply, sadly, left, and undressed, took my pills, and typed this until 11:42PM, finally getting to bed at 11:50PM, exhausted.

TUESDAY, 10/6/09: 2:29AM: Pee and type dream to 2:32AM. 5:52AM: Pee and type dream to 5:54, a starry sky outside seems to imply a good day today. Wake-up call at 6:55AM, and get up on deck at 7:15 to look at the Silversea again, and a large ship that a crew member says is the Queen Mary 2, which indeed it is. Take photos of the ships, coming into Halifax, and the sunrise. To breakfast at 7:40, just cold cuts and cheese and Sugar Frosted Flakes and orange juice, taking more pictures as the huge ships are visible through our dining room windows. Type this at 8:30, "foreigners" (Teresa, Naomi, others) are being called to desk by immigration people, so our passports are still being processed. Thank goodness we don't have to go through some CENTRAL point, or we'd be overwhelmed by QM2 and Silversea passengers. They're taking up our bags from the hall as I come down, and I used one of Steve's shoelaces to TRY to secure the broken side of my travel handle to the body of my black bag, hoping it's not just going to break into two pieces. Shit adequately and brush my teeth and start the final check to put everything into my shoulder bag. And the batteries on THIS are running out: I have to sometimes push it two or three times to get it to turn on, though a REPEAT turn-on usually registers something like 2/3 full. Also take a photo of "Lifejacket Doning Instructions." 8:46AM: Still calling individuals to the desk. I've gotten everything except this into my shoulder bag, keeping my beret and camera in my jacket, and now comes an announcement that baggage will be checked INDIVIDUALLY by floor, starting with the 300s, so claim your baggage and go through customs with it, which may be opened. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID! So we'll be a LONG time in getting out, reducing the time we wander among the piers with whatever special exhibits they may have had---and opportunities for shopping---until they take us to our farewell lunch around 11, so they said, but likely later. And pick up passport and customs form at reception before claiming your luggage. 9:20AM: 200 deck is called to customs. Lounge is jammed with no bags in sight. Do sudoku. 9:48AM: Get bag and line up for customs. They're cordial and stamp my passport. Out onto dock to wait for double-decker bus to take us into town at 9:56. Paul tells me that the teacher's name is Mr. BECKER, when I compliment him on his songs. Steve finds a proper name on the bag that Toronto I puts down. We're onto bus at 10:18, leaving Steve and others off on the shopping pier, and I try to take a picture of the enormous "Explorer of the Seas" (at 1020 feet long, 3114 guests on 138,000-ton ship" (and "Freedom of the Seas" is 1112 feet long, 3634 guests on 160,000-ton ship!) docked in front of the QM2 (at 1132 feet for 3056 guests on 151,000-ton ship) and every bit as large. We're having lunch at the Five Fishermen at 11:45, just around the corner from the Prince George Hotel. Get to the hotel at 10:40, get a map, and get to room 342 at 10:44 to unpack and catch up with this at 10:58AM, tired already, and ready to scan the ChronicleHerald I brought up with me. Room is warm, so I lower the thermostat and open the window. Quiet in town away from the bustle of the docks. Take a nice glass of cold water and put my cards back in my wallet, having given Steve one for himself. Paper and two easy puzzles until 11:40, when I leave for the Five Fishermen. 1:44PM: Totally smashed on about three glasses of the first good white wine, two glasses of the second mediocre white wine, and about four glasses of the awful red with the (surprise) pork main course, which no one expected, and by that time I was so stoned I didn't give a care. The wonderful waitress described three senses of the ghosts of the Titanic: one called her first name, and when she didn't believe it, called her FULL name, at which point she went screaming off to find someone else. Then she FELT a hand on her shoulder, and then she SAW the CHILD, which she didn't want to go into since it was so sad, but she CLEARLY believed it. And with my seven or eight (counted back, so it's nine, so?) glasses of wine, it was all very plausible. Tearful goodbyes to Sheryl and Paula and others, Toronto I staying quite away from it all, and we finally made our way to the street where many relied on me to get them to the corner where I saw the sign at the LOWER corner for the lobby, and we took an ELEVATOR, all fifteen of us, up to the lobby, saving a block of walking uphill, which we all appreciated. I looked for a bit in the luggage cluster trying to see my black bag, but then I fantasized they'd sent it to my room, since my name was on the bag and I'd already registered, but it was NOT in the room so I went BACK to the baggage cluster and FOUND it, thankfully, and the wheels SORT of worked and the shoestring SORT of held, and I put it in the corner, hoping not to have to open it, and Steve is in the process of unpacking when I finish typing this at 1:50PM, still totally plotzed and feeling JUST FINE. Handed a card to Naomi, telling her to send me a copy of what she files as a story, and saying if she LOVED smut she should look at my website, which she promised to do. I still have three cards left if we encounter anyone else during the afternoon, or on our evening excursion to Chickenburger. The guide phoned a friend who told me that the name of the enormous Royal Caribbean ship in front of Queen Mary 2 was the Explorer of the Seas. Finish this at 1:54, Steve in the john, and I'm about to go through three or four freebie magazines the hotel hands out. 2:07: Leave to look for Steve's Pepperell St. Walk, plotzed, following Steve, peeing (1) behind a tree at the top of the commons, getting to Pepperell and letting him scope out the photo on the FIRST sign we met, since the second we traversed to was impossible to photograph, while I took an enormous pee (2) in the bar at the Hotel Atlantica, and then we walked back a different way, missing the down-street to Market and having to go back UPhill from Five Fishermen, and get to room for enormous pee (3) and type this to 3:26PM, having turned the thermostat down to ZERO, because even with the window open (some thermometers showed 61 degrees) the room is too hot. Take shoes and shirt and pants off and collapse into bed. Totally zonked in bed until 5:05, when I'm up to re-dress and type this at 5:15, Steve still out, probably antiqueing. Leave 6PM. Go to hotel's Guest Services, and she's heard of Chickenburger, but doesn't know how much the senior bus fare is, but thinks it's probably two dollars; but to make sure Steve gets change for $5 at the desk, getting another fistful of quarters. We just missed an 80 to Stockdale, but there are benches and some interesting passersby. The bus comes promptly at 6:40, and after about ten minutes two VERY obnoxious, drunk, smelly and loquacious hippies with enormous backpacks, drinking out of two-liter bottles, asking Steve where he's from and mentioning the Lower East Side, St. Mark's, and Times Square. I avoided their smell, and Steve sat stonily. We'd asked the driver to let us off, and he gave us two TRANSFERS for the return trip, after asking if we'd paid in cash. It got dark as we got to Bedford Basin, and vacant spaces started alternating with shopping-mall strips. Steve pointed out the frequency of Tim Horton shops. The advisor said it would be a 40-minute ride, so at about 35 minutes, when we passed a sign for the place, I moved to the front of the bus, but the driver assured us he remembered we wanted it, and we'd be there in 5-6 minutes. We passed its bright-red neons before he stopped about 45 minutes in. We walked back, found it only half-full, announced we were first-timers, and ordered a chickenburger, a hamburger with relish, mustard, and onions, and a mocha shake. When I picked up the burger, she hesitantly asked if we'd been there before, and said the chickenburger was absolutely bare. "What do people have on it?" I asked. "Well, some have catsup, but I like mayonnaise." "I do too, I'll have mayonnaise," which pleased her. The sandwiches were rather small, only a little larger than palm-size, but the chicken was chunky and overflowed the bun, dark and white meat mixed, tender, but not really that flavorful, and the mayonnaise DID help. The hamburger, I thought, was better: the cheese was good, the relish added, the proportions nice; the best was the mocha shake: more chocolate than coffee, very flavorful. We were served quickly, ate fairly fast, went to the john, picked up a Flying Cow minipaper, and left at 7:56, which I thought encouraging for a departure from the other end at X:05 and X:35. The bus came at 8:10, with the same pleasant, rather sexy, driver, and instead of a violently obese guy sitting in the front seat, there was a criminally obese woman in a purple blouse overflowing a seat just in front of the door, talking to the guy in front of her, biding him goodnight and "See you tomorrow" as he left. Several solo young people had wires in their ears, and the woman to my left seemed engrossed in two-finger typing on a tiny keyboard. The moon was spectacular out the window, and we got back to where we started out at 8:52. I feel VERY tired and sore and stiff at the hips, so the hill-climb is almost painful, we stagger into the floor-below elevator at the rear entrance, and Steve thanks the clerk who helped us at the start. To the room to look over the Flying Cow, and finish with this at 9:25PM. Tough sudoku (at last) to 10:30, bed at 10:40PM.

WEDNESDAY, 10/7/09: 12:20PM: Type dream and pee to 12:36AM, feeling the floor slightly moving under my feet (under which I put a terrycloth bathmat to keep them warm on the tile bathroom floor) with the typical "after the voyage" vestibular remnants of rolling and pitching and yawing. Also, though dinner was on the small side, felt vaguely pre-reflux and decided to take some Rolaids and water. But then I have no Rolaids in my dop kit. 5:49AM: Pee and type two dreams to 6:07AM---dreams that I had separately, maybe even waking briefly between, but both of which I remember when I get up only once to pee. Room still rocking, boatlike. Up 7:56, Steve in bathroom. I let Steve "finish his beauty routine" in the bathroom before I go in, feeling that I DO need to shit but can wait for him to finish before I smell up the place and take a shower, having gotten out my last clean shorts and socks and second-last clean undershirt for the final three days of the trip. Room still rocking, but I feel if I stay in bed much longer I'll be more logy than now, so I should really get into the day so things won't get so late that other mornings will feel like impositions. And then at 8:06AM he starts to shave, and I can think of nothing better to do than to start proofreading file 8, getting to the start of 10/5 at 8:20, when the bathroom is free. Shower curtain is bowed, great; water screeches, poor; one dispenser is marked shampoo, the other conditioner. No soap? I used the conditioner; Steve used the shampoo to wash. SILLY! Now 8:51 and he's saying it's unlikely we'll find breakfast outside the hotel for $10 or less. 8:55: Steve seems to have no after-ship effect. I strongly suggest we dine outside, he wants to see what the buffet costs here, packing his bag completely. 9:48AM: Hot buffet was $16, cold buffet was $13, so we went down four or five streets to Tim Horton for a GOOD muffin, bacon, cheese, egg sandwich, orange juice, and home fries for $5.30. Walked over to take a picture of St. Mary's Basilica and back to relax in warm room. Do Times puzzle from 9/24, self-definedly "not easy." At 11:03 Steve suggests leaving here at 11:15 and people watching at the empty (one train a day) train station. I'll start packing. Leave room 11:17, taxi to station 11:27. Steve wanders around in an ineffectual daze until, impatiently, I ask him what questions I should ask someone who KNOWS what we should do next. He essentially shrugs. I go to a fellow and show him my ticket. He says I should check in at the Comfort Lounge, where we get our room ticket: car 38, room 5, and a reservation for lunch, which Steve says he wants at 12:45PM, and a ticket for breakfasts, and we'll get our choice of dinner times later. I tell him he didn't do very well here, and he says, "I'm human, I've failed, I'm sorry." Unpleasant. Train moves out of station at 12:35, just when it should. I spill an entire glass of pinot noir into my lap and onto my shirt at 12:45, get a new glass, and am charged for only one. Good beef sandwich and lots of chips with OK wine. End at 1:42 and to Dome Car at 1:52, getting a second-row seat for wonderful colors unfortunately unphotographable in driving rain most of the day. Leave Truro 2:11. Two wine tastes of two glasses each, and cheese at 3:30. Leave Amherst at 3:50 and enter Sackville, New Brunswick, at 4:10. Moncton at 4:54, darkening, stopping until 5:19. Dinner (chicken salad and cucumbers, pork, potatoes, carrots, green beans, fruit for dessert and a good bite of maple cake) to 7:50. We'd forgotten to get Diane from Room 10 to make up our beds, so Steve volunteers to wait for her after I scare her away by peeing when she arrives at first, and I go to the Dome Car to sit for awhile, return to find Steve insisting he wants the top bunk with the ladder, and at 8:30PM I take my pills, get the AM pills into my shirt pocket, use the hall john a lot, and sit under the Dome Car in the light (two people playing Scrabble leave quickly) to 10:45, reset watch to 9:45, and go to bed at 10PM. Pee at 11:40, hoping this doesn't establish a frequency for the evening.

THURSDAY, 10/8/09: Pee again at 1:10AM and at 3:40AM, hoping those to be the last. Steve's up at 5:55AM and I get up at 6:15 to wash face after having a small shit in the bathroom into which his huge suitcase actually FITS, and type dream at 6:33AM as he dresses and we leave for breakfast 6:45-7:25 as the sun rises brightly through the opposite window, and the breakfast is quite satisfying: maple-flavored hot porridge, orange juice, wheat toast with peanut butter and jams, lots of fruit (pineapple, orange slice, grapefruit [which I actually eat for a change, statin-prohibition by the side], grapes, and melon), coffee with lots of milk and sugar, and yogurt. Pee at entry and get to Dome at 7:35AM to see bright trees in sunrise-light. Reset camera one hour back at 8:45AM. We're about an hour late, and the fellow in the Dome gives me the handy little guide and a new route map in English, and I take movies of the train twisting away in front of us. Into the station in a tunnel under the Queen Elizabeth Hotel at 9AM, and up two or three escalators to the reservations desk at 9:12, where I take a side trip to the upper floor to pee at 9:16, and we're told our room isn't ready yet, they were very busy last night, but they'll tell me in the lobby when it is. Steve goes out for a walk as we leave four bags with the attendant and I get the newspaper, book of puzzles, and Scientific American to fill my time in the lobby. Read the 2010 Winter Olympics start in Vancouver on 2/12. At about 9:30 I'm told we have our room, but without a view, and when the line vanishes I can register for us. At 9:43 I finish glancing through the paper and start a fairly difficult sudoku, ending at 10:40, when I go to Scientific American, earplugs in to shut out the incredibly annoying loud cell-phone addict across the aisle in the lobby. Steve returns at 10:45 and we go on line (which has never diminished) for the room key, and get to room 467, truly no view, at 11AM, giving Steve $2 to tip the porter who comes at 11:15 with our four bags. We negotiate for space for our bags and sort stuff out to 11:35, sadly NOT finding the list of restaurants La Toqué recommended for lunch! Steve takes his morning shower while I catch up with this to 11:54, warm in the room. Steve "putzes" (his term) infuriatingly till 12:28PM EVEN THOUGH I said I was hungry, and we should eat SOON since we have dinner reservations at 6PM. We lunch at Bagel Impressions 12:45-1:05, then walk to Galerie ElcaLabrador 1:15-2:06 for Steve to purchase a multi-hundred-dollar Inuit carving. Wander Old Montreal and back to hotel to pee at 2:46. Wander shops downstairs in the Mall to 3:06 and up to room to collapse until 4:15. Then sudoku to 4:50 and try on Steve's wonderful L.L. Bean dark green plaid shirt that, remarkably for a "M", fits perfectly. Sudoku to 5:35. We're just about first to Toqué at 5:55, but we're seated graciously and start the tasting menu before anyone else. Some of the dishes are just fabulous, and I was glad we got the printed menu, even though it didn't show the octopus I had at the start instead of the scallops, and I don't QUITE know what the ingredients were in the extraordinary cheese-vegetable dessert. Good wines, too. Out at 9:10 and back to hotel at 9:30 and bed at 9:50, EXHAUSTED.

FRIDAY, 10/9/09: Pee 1:35AM. 6:58AM: I'd thought the clock in the room was three minutes' different from my watch, but now, for some seconds, they tell the same time. Wake after more than eight hours' sleep still feeling slightly weary, and my throat is sore, thinking I might have caught a cold in the weary walk home from Toqué last night, or, as a climax to a year of getting sick at the end of a trip, getting the flu from someone in the restaurant, which will carry me over the week that I have at home before Rita arrives, and even lasts through that week, with the tempting fantasy that if in fact I DO have the flu, Rita should really cancel her trip! (Interestingly, two typos in that sentence had been "fluk" for flu, which sounds even worse, and "cancer" for cancel, which is IN FACT even worse. But Steve (almost typed "Ken") sounds like he's finishing up in the bathroom, now just past 7AM, and I can get in and do the shit that I feel might be coming up on this last day of the trip, and, with luck, only 15 hours left in the trip, an even smaller number than the number of days the trip actually lasted. And, as with most trips, I'm getting thoroughly annoyed with the daily habits of the person I'm traveling with: Ken for his noises of throat-clearing and farting, Steve for his ENDLESS dithering and nerdy vacantness when he should be doing what I want him to do---at THIS moment, NOT shaving, but getting out of the bathroom so I can go in! GOT to start dressing so I WON'T feel cold. Actually PACK by the time he gets out of the goddam bathroom by 7:15AM! Whereas I get out of the bathroom at 7:26AM! Leave for breakfast at 7:39. To unexpectedly vacant streets around the hotel until we see a Tim Horton at 7:42, and have a very acceptable, exceptionally cheap, breakfast until 8:05. To room at 8:15 and leave room at 8:40, down to the station and get on the ENORMOUS line for the New York-bound train at 8:45. Board at 9:30, and the train moves at 9:35, right on schedule. To the Dome Car at 10:15. It's going VERY slow at the 10:48AM picture. I think CNN PURPOSELY puts a freight train on the SINGLE line to BLOCK U.S. traffic, for only 49 freight cars including two engines. Leave dome at 11:05. Pee. Train moves again at 11:14. 12:05PM stop in U.S., moves at 1:08. Order a microwaved floppy cheeseburger and a half-bottle of decent Pinot Grigio to 2:30, looking at the sexiest forearms on the train. To dome at 4:25, and at 5:52 take shirt off. Leave Albany at 6:30, half an hour late. 6:40PM try lying down to 7:25. No good. Finish 9/21 New Yorker at 7:51. Stopped reading 9/28 New Yorker at 8PM, eyes not focusing. To puzzles. Finally into NYC at 9:31. Off train 9:35, black-bag support finally broken on BOTH sides. Subway goes at 9:45 and I'm home at 10:08, having been offered help with my luggage twice by obliging young Blacks. 64E, no wonder I was sweating. Start j/o 11-11:40PM. Bed 12:17AM.



THU,9/24: Fly EWR-OTT 1:41-2:40, 59 minutes. Fairmont Chateau Laurier dinner.
FRI,9/25: French bistro breakfast, National Art Gallery with lunch, bus and boat tour of Ottawa, dinner at Sweetwater, walking lots of city.
SAT,9/26: Adventure Canada breakfast, to airport Ottawa-Kuujjuak 11:25-1:25, with lunch. On zodiac to Clipper Adventurer and snack. Deck, dinner, bed 9:55.
SUN,9/27: Nunavut island at breakfast, to Mission Cove, McLellan Strait with boxed lunch on zodiac for 3 polar bears. Snacks, dinner with Sheryl and Cedar.
MON,9/28: Aurora for an hour, Nachvak Fjord for minke whale, many berries, Doreen bagpiping, Latania talking. Ship for people diving, wedding, reception food and drink, Latania and MacLeod talks. Captain's cocktail and wedding dinner.
TUE,9/29: Humpback whales before brunch. Minty talks ecology. Saglek Fjord and Hebron 3-4:32, rough crossing. Doug Gibson talks. Rough-sea dinner quasi-sick.
WED,9/30: Ill-attended breakfast. Hopedale 2:40-4:40, lots of video. Recap and dinner at Bowhead Table with news of not stopping at Battle Harbor tomorrow.
THU,10/1: Breakfast and "Seven Artists around Newfoundland" film. Small lunch and sudoku and Mary Ellen's birthday celebration with free wine for group!
FRI,10/2: Breakfast and Minty's "Art of Nature Photography." Lunch with MacLeods. Woody Point 2-6PM to Tablelands and Information Center and film. Dinner with Tom of Australia and my team comes in second with "Bluff" game.
SAT,10/3: Breakfast and Doug Gibson on "Editors and Authors." La Poile walking tour led by Violet, who loves organ music. I endure Screech and cod to become a Newfoundlander. Miss square dancing later. Theme Evening dinner with awards.
SUN,10/4: Pilot ship late for St. Pierre and Miquelon. Sailor's Island 10:15-11:15, St. Pierre 11:30-1:50 with bus tour, Information Office for free stamps, Robert Hotel for wine and cheese, lunch on ship, then cocktail party before dinner with Biz and Richard, with great lobster-tail contributions from both.
MON,10/5: Breakfast and Paul Quarrington story. Lunch and Steve's New York Review of Books. Pack. Dinner with Paula and Don, Variety Show with everyone.
TUE,10/6: Follow Silversea, Queen Mary 2, and Explorer of the Seas to Halifax. Customs and bus to Prince George Hotel. Lunch at Five Fishermen, real plotzed. Pepperell Street walk for Steve, many pees, bus to worthwhile Chickenburger.
WED,10/7: Shower, pack, Tim Horton breakfast, St. Mary's Basilica, and puzzles. Taxi to train station, early lunch on train, to Dome Car in rain, dinner on train, sit under Dome Car while Steve reads before bed. I sleep in lower bunk.
THU,10/8: Good breakfast on train in bright sun, Dome Car to Montreal at 9AM. Into room at 11AM after puzzles in lobby lounge. Unpack and lunch at Bagel Impressions and Steve shops. We wander Old Montreal and dine at great La Toqué.
FRI,10/9: Tim Horton breakfast, MON-NYC train 9:35, lunch, NYC 9:31, home 10PM.