I still don’t understand the accent

Famous people come to Newfoundland, too! This past Saturday, Colin James came. He, along with his co-guitarist named Chris Caddell, were great.

Colin James & Chris Caddell in NL!

Also, Jerry Seinfeld is coming on Friday. That’s right. THE Jerry Seinfeld! And yes, we’re going 🙂
I must admit, from my limited number of weeks that I have had on the Rock, the Autumn weather has been quite lovely. While nearly every person I have so far met has warned me about the atrocities that comes with Winter, they all agree that September to October is a great time to be outdoors.

So,we’ve started seizing the moment on Saturday and Sunday’s (when Tim is free to play!), so when it’s sunny, we go outside pronto. Since I read the official tourist guidebook (from cover to cover) last weekend (when it was raining), I have created a list of sites that I’m planning on dragging Tim (and other visitors) to. So, Sunday morning we went to Butterpot (I prefer Buttercup) Provincial Park. 

Butterpot Provincial Park blue sky and blue river

Even though it was technically closed, we’re in St. John’s… aka free-parking-everywhere-and-if-there-isn’t-parking-then-just-make-your-own-spot. We went on a short-ish trail up to the top of Butter Pot Hill – here, the land is made of giant boulders/rock because during the last glaciation approximately 10,000 years ago, giant sheets of ice scraped the land, dragging boulders.

At the top!

Is it a tourist thing to pile rocks? Tim showing me where things are in St. John’s below.

That’s the top of where we hiked!

For those interested in the type of foliage found here, it is Boreal forest, dominated by black spruce (perhaps the motivation for “Through the Black Spruce” by Joseph Boyden, which is a fantastic novel about the Beothuk in Newfoundland and highly recommended) and balsam fir (?). 

Such a green forest!

Among these trees, we also spotted blueberries and little red berries, so a lovely spot for black bears. A quick Google search tells me that there are “approximately 10,000 of North America’s black bear, some topping a whopping 650 lbs.” AND we happened to be hiking in one of the two black bear seasons – not coincidentally, the seasons mirror NL tourist seasons.

Top of the rock pile!

Another activity I did was go to see two documentaries with a new friend of mine. Before the films started, there was a brief speech praising the documentaries (both of the films’ producers were in the audience!) Then, the speech ended and the films were supposed to start. However, we all sat in the dark for an extended (and awkward) silence (I’m guessing tech issues) until a local man pulled out his…harmonica…and started playing. Everyone clapped for him. This is the stuff that happens in St. John’s.
Anyway, the first was a short independent film called “Hand. Line. Cod.” made about Fogo Island. Fogo Island is a massively expensive, yet popular, destination (for the 1% – rooms at the Inn are $1,700 per night) north of St. John’s that was made popular courtesy of Gwyneth Paltrow this past summer. The documentary features fishermen who make their living selling cod caught with fishing lines (as opposed to trawlers). The depletion of cod is a sad story here in Newfoundland but many fishermen believe that the cod have started to return! Cod caught with hand lines is significantly better for the environment but also a premium culinary treat, so the fish are shipped to hoity toity restaurants in Toronto (e.g. Ruby Watchco) and have been quite popular. I highly recommend the film – it’s playing at Toronto International Film Festival.

The second film just won an award at an Italian film festival. It is called “Theater of Life” and it is about a famous Italian chef named Massimo Bottura who opened up the most beautiful soup kitchen for Italy’s disadvantaged. His plan was (and is) to take all of the leftover (discarded) food from Italy’s 2015 World Expo and produce these wonderful, tasty dishes for those that are homeless or living in shelters, but, more importantly, to gather individuals to share meals so that they, too, can have this feeling of being ‘home’. It’s a really good idea, particularly because 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted globally. Apart from the fact that this is disgusting because there are roughly 2 billion people in the world who suffer from malnutrition, it’s bad for the environment! Not everywhere (e.g. St. John’s) has city-wide compost, so lots of food gets tossed. Anyway, it’s pretty cool because Massimo called upon many globally-renown chefs to cook for a day or two in the kitchen and one of those chefs was Jeremy Charles, who opened two really good restaurants here in St. John’s. And, this celebrity chef was also in the audience last night. Massimo also opened up one in Rio during the Olympics in Brazil, and plans to open another in NYC.

On the home front, all has been great… but that was before I went into our creepy basement to do laundry. To my shock and dismay, I found A DEAD MOUSE in the middle of the floor, like it had just stopped and had a heart attack (from the creepiness of our basement). So, when I let my heart beat settle (aka when Tim got home), we (read: Tim) dealt with it.

More to come. 

Just down the road from us!

~ Nicole & Tim

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