Sunday, April 19, 2015
Michael was busy making arrangements for his flight from St. John's to Montreal the last couple of days, Early this morning I received another message about his experiences:
"Today is a bicycle-less day! I have to get used to having no means of transportation, because even though I'm in a city, the distances are quite large. In addition, the weather is not inviting one to take a stroll. Besides people walking between buildings and cars, you hardly see anybody on the streets here. I spent my time catching up with email, writing a “Thank You” Newfoundland web page, and other business.
I skype with my family at home and later decide to go shopping at a Walmart store which is about a 45 minute walk away. Don, the owner or manager of Motel Greenwood, has to go to the bank and says to me, “You're crazy walking! Wait a minute, I take you there, I have to go the bank anyway.”
Don is an older man of about 63 years of age who has a heart of gold. He reminds me of my Canadian uncle Anton who passed away in 2008. Don drops me off in front of Walmart, so I don't have to walk far. I hurry through the aisles at Walmart, duct tape for my bicycle repair kit, bread, bread toppings, and some magnesium pills. Yes, the later is a tip I got from a sport coach and I notice that it does me good. Finally, I find the duct tape. The store is quite busy. Six cash registers are open and I still have to wait almost seven minutes before it is my turn. Don has been waiting patiently in the car. “No problem”, he says when I offer my apologies for the long wait. “Sundays are just pretty fucked-up." he says. I have to laugh at his response. Still, if one thing has become clear to me, it is that Newfoundland is truly like a soothing hot bath of genuine hospitality, helpfulness and real compassion. I suppose that is nurtured because people here depend on each other during the rugged winter period.
David manages the front desk when Don and I arrive at the hotel. David is the evening shift employee and he likes to hang out with me. He is quite a busy body and he likes to talk a lot too, but he has a heart of gold. “Hey, Michael, how are you? Can I do something for you? Do you have enough towels? Do you like some coffee?" Actually, it's amazing that things are arranged like that here.
While I still can, I relax the rest of the afternoon. Later I walk over to 'The Red Rock” restaurant. A grill and bar where dining is terrific. I say my goodbyes to Newfoundland with a wonderful meal..."
Han Schomakers, editor
Translation by Albert Dijkstra