There are certain things you must do where you visit certain places – like having a Beaver Tail on the Rideau Canal, drinking a Mojito in Cuba and tasting a crepe in Paris. In Newfoundland & Labrador we have many traditional dishes you should try while here, including:
- Split peas soup & dumplings
- Lassie Bread
- Fisherman’s Brewis
- Baked beans & hash
- Jigg’s Dinner
- Fish & Potatoe w/ Pork scrunchions
- Rabbit & Paste
- Moose Burgers
- Caribou Steak
- Moose Stew
- Fish Cakes
- Figgy Duff
During a visit in late-June to Montreal, I was introduced to a traditional taste enjoyed by many Montrealers – the bagel. The overpowering aromas filled the air of freshly baked bagels. There were racks upon racks – several being loaded on a truck to go to market. It was great to be able to purchase directly from the producer at “La Maison De L’Original Fairmount Bagel”.
My friend who lives in Montreal introduced me to this place and also to Smoked Salmon Spread, which we was delightful to the taste buds. Although, I must admit that I was skeptical at first.
It just goes to show sometimes we need to be open-minded. You may realize that by giving something chance you may find a new joy.
Consuming culture can be as simple as eating the sesame seed bagel with salmon dip from a local bagel shop. When you visit a new place, I encourage you to try local foods. As I try to prepare often local dishes for myself and those who come and visit me in Rural NL.
Bon A petit!
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
The Governor’s House was out next stop. It was quite an exquisite place to venture, as it had a nice green space in the courtyard. The road of the square on the front had the cobblestones replaced with wooden blocks that resembled bricks. It was apparently changed at the request of the Governor, as the horses clinking on the stone kept him up at night.
The former residence is now a museum. The lower level had coaches, carriages and related items. There were two employees quite eager to take some photos with us. They noted they would pull the rope back and let us see the most important coach, the one that belonged to the Governor.
They had taken several snaps. I had tried to explain that the placement of us would not get a good photo of the carriage as we were standing at the focal point of the object. However, the bad photo ops continued as we moved through the museum. The employees eagerly asked us to have our camera and take some photos for us and take us to what seemed like a prohibited area. It has ended up with several dozen humourous photos. After about four rounds we would have no more of it. Some basic photography skills are needed for more serious photos, but I reflect on this moment and tears almost come to my eyes. I will not forget the insistence of us taking photos by the pair of marble bathtubs, a dresser and the bed, which the person commented to the tune of “No Six” and smiled. Immediately, I thought of a character by the name of Eleanor, a 90 year-old sex therapist, who would have something to say about that one.
All jokes aside, if local people are interested in tweaking their photo-taking abilities, they may wish to consider enrolling in the digital photography course offered at the College of North Atlantic, St. Anthony Campus. I am still working on completing it.
After providing some coins and exchanging monies we left. We passed a couple of peacocks and left for a rest before dinner and some nightly entertainment.
Here is what I learned:
German: Ich bin aus Neufundland and ich mag schokolade
English: I am from Newfoundland and I love chocolate
German: Ich moche einen Mojito!
English: I would like a Mojito!
I think I would need a lot of practise to become conversational in German, especially since some of the enunciation is quite different from how I am use to speaking. I often wonder if people would be interested in learning more about our rural dialects and if they too find it challenging? I may only have to look back to the few people I have Screeched-in to make Honorary Newfoundlanders to know the phrase “in’deed ’tis me ol’ cock and long may ya’ big jib draw” is not as easy as it sounds.
That night we went to a Gran Concierto of Bueno Vista Social Club nature with 9 stars. The cost was 50 C.U.C. per person, which included a three-course meal.
There were dancers, singers and entertainers of all sorts as they worked the room. There was a lot of life and attention paid to these true stars. They had talent, just like rural Newfoundland has natural talent – no lip synching or special Hollywood effects.
One of the men, wearing white and blue with a Harry Hibs hat came up and shook my hand. I’m practically almost famous! Despite the poor service and mediocre food, the entertainment made the night. Joining the conga line was more than memorable and so much fun!
The night reminded me of being at a good old-fashioned Newfoundland kitchen party. Everyone had smiles on their faces and were quite happy to take part in the festivities to the sound of great music.
Stay tuned for the final couple of days of the Cuban vacation. It will take you to Vinales and also reveal the New Zealand connection. There is no need to miss a post, subscribe to the Live Rural NL blog by entering your email near the top right corner and get updates in your email. If you missed a post on the Cuban vacation, I’ve included some related links below. All of them can be found under the Category of Vacations.
Enjoy Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
- A Cuban Vacation – Part 1 (liveruralnl.com)
- Cuban Vacation…Part III (liveruralnl.com)
- Cuban Vacation…Part IV (liveruralnl.com)
- Cuban Vacation – Part II (liveruralnl.com)
- Cuban Vacation…Part V (liveruralnl.com)
- Cuban Vacation….Part VI (liveruralnl.com)
- Cuban Vacation…Part VII (liveruralnl.com)
- Cuban Vacation…Part VIII (liveruralnl.com)
- Back in Rural NL after Cuban Vacation (liveruralnl.com)
The amount of green vegetation was quite the shocker for me. There were many impressive fields, trees and forests thriving in Cuba. Some of this may be due to the exceptional amount of humidity in the air.
One of the stops via train led us to a restaurant and bar. We ventured inside to get refreshments to quench our thirst. The temperature almost unbearable, with my clothing getting wetter by the moment as I perspired. A bottle of icy cool water never tasted so wonderful as it did at that moment.
Suddenly, a guy from the train told us that just down the stairs there was a contraption to press sugar cane to have a juice. He noted it was better with added rum for just 2 C.U.C. We ventured down. Little did we know we would be put to work pushing this device.
A two person job and a couple of turns we had enough juice collected for a couple of drinks.
The delicious end product – with rum for extra flavor.
After catching the train, we returned to Trinidad. Tobias and I met up with Umberto at the park. He toured with us, showing hidden gems of Trinidad. He also kept trying to sell us on visiting a family restaurant, despite us telling him that we had made previous commitments with our Casa for a traditional meal at 8 PM.
We were going for ice-cream, but instead walked to the Casa de La Musica. We opted to spend some of the afternoon at a nearby bar. We had rounds of Mojito‘s and Buchanero beer for all. It was an afternoon of sharing a few drinks and trying to talk to Umberto without him knowing English and myself not knowing Spanish. A little bit of friend and a good translator in Tobias we were able to have some conversation.
Suddenly there was a scream from a nearby table. A snake had dropped from the vine ceiling. The music was great, when suddenly my attention was no longer with Tobias and Umberto but two beautiful women across the room. The brunette and I had shared a few smiles with our eyes and the blond reminded me of a certain Doctor Heritage. Since Tobias was engrossed with trying to explain in broken Spanish my position of working for a non-profit in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador conducting Community Economic Development and business development services. I had to get up, in one part because I knew they had a good story to tell and secondly I had to passed them to get to the restroom.
The ladies greeted my presence with a smile. From hello I tried to get their accent and had asked the blond if she was from New Zealand (we later did make a connection from New Zealand); however, this women was currently enrolled in her third year of medicine in the United Kingdom. We had some beginners chat about the UK, Cuba and not wanting to overdo my visit let them know we would be going to Casa de La Musica at 9-9:30 PM. They noted they would hope to meet us there.
Stay tuned for more adventures of Cuba in Part VI.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore