Saturday, August 1, 2009

Shediac, NB: Welcome to New Brunswick

Warning: This post contains a fair amount of complaints. Positive, optimistic musings will return again soon.

Sometimes timing is everything. We were heading for Shediac, the self-proclaimed "Lobster Capital of the World". It was a short day for us -- 50 kilometers, and we could get there by lunch. So we decided to treat ourselves to a lobster meal at midday.

We were slowed down a bit on a hot day by the pervasive headwind. And then there was the detour to avoid a washed out bridge that put us on the four-lane highway. By the time we got to town we were famished and dehydrated. The eatery recommended by Lonely Planet was shuttered and closed, so we opted for the one with the faux pier and fishing nets outside. A whole steamed lobster was $27.95, so nix on that, so we got steamed mussels and a lobster roll instead. It was hot inside the place, drinking water was slow in coming, and the waitress forgot our salad and never checked back with us after she served us. Maybe she pegged us for cheap tippers. We were worse than that -- we were no tippers. A cup of Death by Chocolate ice cream from the shop next door filled in the voids, fortunately.

We were also trying to get into town to shop at the farmer's market, held every Saturday according to our tourist guidebook. Fresh, local produce has been virtually non-existent so far on this trip, and we were looking forward to it. The market actually happens on Sundays at 9am -- we would be way out of town by then.

So we went to the local grocery store and bought peaches from California and headed to Parlee Beach Provincial Park. Looking forward to getting into camp early to relax and read, we expected the campground to be as nice as the other provincial parks we have enjoyed. To our disappointment we found out the campground has been privitized, all sites were filled due to the New Brunswick Day holiday, and there was only room in a grassy area with no tables and soggy ground from the previous night's downpour. And it, too, was packed. We found a slot for our little tent at the perimeter near a fence.

So we went to the beach for a swim. And we realized that most of the population of New Brunswick was there, too.

The night was a long one for John. I was tired and managed to sleep well using earplugs to block out the revelers at the campsite not 50 meters away from us. But John was awakened around midnight by the noise. He had to get up and tell them (in a nice way, of course) to shut up, people are trying to sleep.

The next morning we got up with the sun, packed our gear and cooked breakfast before most of our late-night neighbors stirred. We sailed through town, stopping only to say goodbye to the world's largest lobster.

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