Tadoussac; Aug 12th
A quick send from a bistro in Tadoussac. It is nice to be able to relax, write, and eat in this comfortable spot. They have a free wifi spot and the motel/hostel does not. A fine early supper of green pea soup, smoked salmon and cream cheese on bagel, and a great mixed berry dessert with an espresso to finish.
Tadoussac means “nipple” in the local native language. It refers to a geological formation in the area. It must have been a guy thing! But really, it is the whales that draw the crowds to Tadoussac, and the fjord de Saguenay, yeah and the scenery, and the kayaking, oh and the folks from all over Quebec. This is one popular place. We arrived about 3PM and got one of the “last three” rooms in town. We had to take a room in a house on the grounds of the motel. There were five rooms rented in this house. It was OK because we used the kitchen and spent breakfast time with a couple from Guelph, Ontario.
They also had no/little French and regretted the lack. He recalled having required French in middle school and making a joke of it. Rowdy behavior and lack of serious attention. “You’ll be sorry later.” “Yeah. For sure.” I recall sinking lower and lower in achievement in three years of study in High School. Sophomore year, I missed the first three weeks of school and classes due to a football injury to my knee. That was the beginning of a real losing battle. Now I regret my mono-lingualness, not to mention my spelling of words that I can’t remember or that I invent.
Fjord de Saguenay enters the St Lawrence at Tadoussac. It is so deep that they run a free ferry across the fjord. It just goes back and forth and back and forth. Beluga whales swim and feed in the mouth and up into the fjord. They can be seen from the ferry. Other whales feed in the St Lawrence. Whale watching boats are BIG business here. Zodiacs, large tour boats, and kayaks take people out for two and three hour hunts. They are always successful. Belugas can also be seen from the shore with no trouble.
Baie-Comeau; Sunday 13th
We drove east of Tadoussac, along the north bank of the St Lawrence. Far fewer vehicles were on the road. The homes and businesses were less related to tourism. The “pretty Quebec” homes had become homes. They were practical and only a step or two above make-do. Farms have disappeared. Paper lumber seems to be the industry. Abitibi has a large mill here in Baie-Comeau. This is not a tourist town. It is gritty and unattractive. Although our evening Resto had an English menu. The waitress mistook my “fillet of cod” order for a “fillet of beef”. I thought it odd that she would ask how I wanted it cooked. I like my fish just barely cooked so I said “Medium rare s’il vousplait”. The steak order arrived medium rare and was very good. “Merci beaucoup.”
Tomorrow we head north on RT 389 for the second leg of the trip. Maps show it paved for the first half and then dirt to Fermont/ Labrador City. First stop should be a tour of a major Hydro Quebec dam. There are at least four on the way to Lac Manicouagan. When the Northeast USA has the AC on, the power comes from this grid. I’ll drop a message bottle in the water…not! Everyone who visits now must clear security. Three years ago there was none!! Progress?
“Travel light and wear a smile.” Jack Holmes