JOURNEY THROUGH LABRADOR by Bernie Howgate

( Chapter 14 )

 

 

AUGUST 20th

Four hours ago I was sober, then the drinks came out. It was time for some heavy duty male bonding and with the females gone, just the excuse we boys needed. It was time to talk about my eskimo rolls, the iceberg that nearly chopped me in two and the killer whale that stalked me for hours. At times like these, a good lie is better than a dull truth and as the night slipped into overdrive, their quality got better and better.

It's now after midnight and I am suffering. The kitchen resembles a battlefield and a thick fog smudges its corners. Above the ceiling hangs from the floor and the walls are swaying. Objects started to blur after two hours of drinking, after four hours I threw in the towel. Now I am lying on the living room couch, but I couldn't swear to it. My body is suspended and my brain is fried. Bacardi can do that sometimes, but drinking bacardi and beers most certainly will. It's just another day in the life with Bernie with one exception, the 'Journey through labrador' if finished.

I paddled to Nain on August 14th, I have been on the road, so to speak for 200 days and it's slipped by all too quickly. The flabby city kid has turned into a lean, mean travelling machine. I have developed Arnnie Swazzennager sized biceps and pectorals that wouldn't be out of place on a woman. In short, I have found the fountain of youth. Pain, pain and more pain. I have shrunk that middle age spread and in the process increased my hormone count. Now it's time to get back to the real world of substance abuse and where else better to start it than in Makkovik. That was yesterday, today the Anderson household is deserted.

Katherine, the eldest has flown out to Lotus Land. Wifey, Fiona absconded with the youngest and was last heard of in Paris. Even 'One Eye' the pet mutt abandoned ship when bacardi made its first cameo appearance. And what of old Coony, overworked and underpayed but most importantly, hubby of the aforementioned, the poor old chap is still fast asleep with his dreams. Oh, life is awful good.

An experience like this is impossible on a time schedule. You can't plan them, they just happen. For your average visitor to Labrador, time tables can be prisons. Cocooned in speed, it's all to easy for them to capture images and leave believing that Labrador is just wilderness, whales and caribou. People are the name of the game. You can't share a drink with a caribou, talk to a whale or make love to a sunset. For an orphan of travel like myself, nights surrounded by new friends like tonight is what travel is all about.

I started this trip in the deep end, but with my eyes wide open. I have scratched the surface, got my hands dirty and like last night, suffered the occasional hang over. I have had equal doses of good times and bad times and that is how it should be. I am no saint. I have trod on a few coastal toes, burped and farted at the wrong times, but never outstayed my welcome and hopefully left many more smiles than frowns.

On a scale of one to ten, Labrador is right up there with the best of them. There are few places to run and hide and in truth, it can be claustrophobic if you are a teenager with big dreams. That's on the negative side. On the positive there is abundant fresh air, unfenced boundaries and smiles around every corner. It's frontier with a capital 'F'. Men are still judged by the houses they build and the women their children. Toronto is now on the back burner. I am exchanging Kensington Market, Toronto and chicken chow mien for Mud Lake, Labrador and caribou steaks, political correctness for plain speech. It's God's country and I am here to stay.

 


Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14