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Subject: A FOREIGN LAND GASPIE
It was weird as I crossed into Gaspie the part of Quebec about Main and New Brunswick on the east side of the St. Lawrence I sense I was entering a foreign land. I felt a little that way when we went to St Pierre and Miquelon but this was very pronounced! I have not felt this way since being in deep Mexico. The amount of English here is the same as it was in deep Mexico, very, very little!!! The only difference is that everything is very prosperous here and everybody appears to be doing well! The signs are all in French other than highway signs are bilingual but English is not second on all signs. The Quebec flag is all over the place but I will say so is the Canadian flag.
We headed up the highway and came to road construction. Now all the sign are French, they forgot about the bilingual thing. You go on good sense, logic and what other are doing and you take it slow. People do drive aggresive here but not as bad as Mexico. I keep thinking this is so much like deep Mexico it is, this is facinating and also made on a bit apprehensive. If you want a foreign experience come to Quebec as it is the REAL THING!
We get to the town where we want to stay at a camp ground. We can not find it and we ask several people and no English. Finally we find a man who says he speaks a little English, heavy on the little. We struggle with showing him the map and the name and finally gather we are supposed to go 10 KM west. I am suspicious but the tent symbol on the map is about where I gather he is saying to go. We head west and see a couple of major wood products operations and get to the town and no signs for the camp grounds so I go into a little store and it is FRENCH as you can get. I patiently wait until the counter clears and the lady says she can speak a little English. She makes a valiant try, bless her heart. Since I am learning Spanish I can really, really appreciate how she was struggling to understand me and struggling to find an English word or two to answer me. I will say that the accent when she spoke English was very little. She was very easy to understand, she just did not know many words but I give her an A+ for effort. After much pointing, gesters, and a few English words I gather I am to go back the 10 KM and take 132 the road that goes around Gaspie to the left, go farther than I went and it was on the right side. I tried to find out how for, km to the left but we just could not get it across. We headed back and I spot a ham radio antenna and stop and ask English and they go to get someone else. About that time another fellow shows up and point to W0SD on my cap and my name Ed and he has a big smile and is excited. I ask speak English and he says a little bit! He shows me his equipment and we exchange cards and then I try and explain I need directions to the camp ground. He struggles and yes we go to 132, and yes we go left and yes it is on the right side and it is about 3 miles so the lady had it correct as we apparently have confirmation. We shake hands and I say Massie thank you in French and we head out and find the campground. I now fully realize we are in a foreign land and we are going to have to figure most things out for ourselves as asking for directions is a tough, tough go! We spend the rest of the night studying the map, studying the literature and looking at Map N Go on the computer figuring out where to camp, what to use for back up number one, two and three and what sights to see. We find Perce Rock and Forllon National Park are the two big ones.
We head out after working one of my ham friends down in New England and the traffic is not bad. It seems just like Alaska no one gets up very early but rather they go late. The scenery just keeps getting better, we get diesel, absolutely no English just point and gestures, sign language. We stop at an IGA grocery store and again all French! We see some salted COD being dried on racks. We travel on and see Perce Rock which is out in the ocean, toward the east end is a huge hole in it. Quite impressive! We have two French couples ask us if we can speak English and then ask us to take their pictures. Apparently we looked USA so they started that way rather than asking in French. The one could speak excellent English, the other was a mixture of French and English. The scenery is getting even better and more rugged as we head for Gaspie Point. The park is full but they tell us of a private site. Now we are thankful for the bilingual Canadian Park people; although they admitted their English was not so good it certainly was GOOD ENOUGH! We found a private park and there was room. Again this lady really struggled but she made a valiant try and we managed to communicate. Again what words she did know were easy enough for me to understand. A big difference than Spanish/English where it is hard, very hard! We got parked and put out a clothes line as we had wet clothes from PEI as all it has been doing is raining and today is the first bright sunshine with no rain since then. The spot is tight and had to put it in 4 x 4 as we spun out even with all the 5th wheel weight on the back tires. Again showing how wise it was to get 4 x 4. I would of been in some kind of jam without it let me tell you ahead was down a very, very steep hill so I had to back up to ever get the 5th wheel out of the spot!
We then toured the park, the north area was very spectacular with cliff rising up out of the ocean and some high peaks and spectacular surf and all kinds of birds. RCMP were in force and nailing people for going over 50 KM/hour. Pretty low down if you ask me! I learned my lesson in Alaska and Big Bend that they are really fussy in parks about speed limits so I did not have any trouble. They nailed four cars that we seen and there were two of them working the park. Other than the last day of July the RCMP have been non existant, never see them! I got to think they have a quota as they were like flies the last day of July and that has been the only time other than these two, today that we have have really seen any!
[MID: 1491_W0SD Sent Via: W9GSS Date: 2002/08/10 23:38:20]