Friday, August 05, 2016

My Travel Adventure To The Canadian Martimes Part Two: Moncton New Brunswick



 By Der Kosmonaut
  I had arrived in Moncton on the night on June 2 at 21:30. I hate arriving in new towns at night. Most places are closed, it's practically impossible to obtain a map. Even with a map, it's very tricky to properly orientate and gain my bearings. Compound this with the fact that I didn't have a place to go and had a bucks in change in my pocket. I decided to find a spot in Riverfront Park along the Petitcodiac river and sleep. That was a mistake. A piercing whistling wind slice and diced me all night. While on the road from Montreal the zipper of my sleeping bag broke. The temperature dropped below freezing that night.
  I woke up the next morning and went to Starbucks only because it was the only cafe open early in the morning. I was confronted with a serious problem. There was a short in wire of my laptop charger. It had become a growing problem over the previous month. I found myself having to twist the cable in order to charge. Now it was getting no juice no matter how much I twisted the cable into knots. I needed to find a computer shop. Google search is often a waste of time. Unless one is searching for something generally specific, the search results are often poor. Google turned up one computer repair shop far out from the centre. Moreover, I'm sure that it would cost more than the amount of cash that I had on hand. Without my laptop, I'm completely cut off from society. I wish that it wasn't the case. I make do without a mobile phone quite well. However, one is compelled in today's electronic concentration camp to have an autonomous wireless connection in order to function. I left the cafe to go on a mission to find a charger. On Main Street I asked a middle aged local where I would be able to find a laptop charger. He gave me directions to continue west on Main Street until I was a couple of blocks past the VIA Rail station. I thanked him and he replied:
"You're most welcome. Have a good day! If anyone tells you otherwise, tell them to shut up because Harry says so!" His response was very friendly and sincere.


  His directions were perfect and I told the tech the problem. He discovered that the wires were frayed. He would try to solder them back together. He went about that for one half hour and attempted to see if it could get juice. No dice. I have a rare Japanese PC which isn't sold in North America. It has a power voltage different from most models. The tech searched his storage and found a Toshiba charger. It worked with my PC. He predicted that it would sustain my laptop batter for up to a year. He asked where I was from. I replied Ottawa. The tech was a native of Ottawa and had relocated to Moncton sixteen years prior. He decided not to charge me for the cable as he had boxes full of them. It seemed that meeting a fellow from Ottawa was an act of neighborly friendliness.
Moncton's 6 Star Homeless Shelter
  Now that I had sorted out my most pressing problem, I went to Cafe C'est la Vie on Main Street to see if I could find a place indoors to sleep. I often rely on the Couch Surfing site for someplace indoor to stay on my travels. However Moncton wasn't a hotbed of Couch Surfing activity. As I was considering this a young man asked if he could plug his mobile phone into the power bar by my backpack. He then asked:
"Are you sleeping outside?"
"I'm trying to sort that out now."
"Dude! Don't do that! I know a place that you can stay at. In fact, I'm sure that we can go there now."
"How far is it?"
"It's just up the road. Ten minute walk. Do you have ID?"
"Of course!"
"That's all you need. Let's go!"
I followed the youth up Church Street. At the corner with Queen Street stood three churches on each corner. At St. George Street is a curious junction of Church Street and a railroad crossing. While the two streets directly intersect, just outside it runs the railway diagonally intersecting both streets at the same time. It's the busiest intersection in town. The next street was Mountain Road. On the Northeast corner stands the old Moncton High School. A block beyond was the shelter. From the outside it was a nondescript two story house. I was booked in and given the option to put my backpack in storage. At 17:30 a meal of Lasagne with meat was served. It was actually quite good. The upper floor consisted of the kitchen and dinning room and a fairly large living room. The winter garden was the smoking room. We weren't allowed to go downstairs to the beds until 20:30. At 20:00 was the evening snack of bisquits, cake, potato chips and coffee. In the living room was a 60 inch HD screen with 98 cable channels. When I was shown the room on the lower floor I was surprised to see that I was staying in a standard hostel dorm room. There were three bunk beds. There were five rooms for men and two for women. I eventually discovered that I was in a charity hostel. However, it had amenities that not even the most over-priced petit-bourgeois youth hostels didn't offer. In addition to providing clean bedding and a shower room, the hostel provides clean towels and face cloths for each time one wants to take a shower in addition to tooth brushes, tooth paste, soap, shavers, aftershave lotion, dental floss. It provides free breakfast, dinner and snacks. One is allowed to stay up to 30 days. I thought that the squats of Vienna were luxurious! I was in a 6 Star Homeless Shelter!
There were three night supervisors. The first was a man from American Samoa. The second was a man from Congo. The third was the coordinator for the hostel. He was an Acadian local.
One night theCongolese supervisor noticed my name. He asked me how to spell it. He then asked me how I got that name. I told him the story of my family having been Black radicals and how they didn't want me to have a European name. How they looked at an atlas of Africa and named me after the Kasai River. He replied that he saw my family name and knew that I wasn't from that region of Congo.  He hailed from Kasai Occident, which is one of two provinces that straddle the Kasai River. It was the first time that I ever met anyone from the Kasai River region. I never thought that I would go to New Brunswick and meet someone from my namesake region.
  Of course there were two conditions the hostel imposed in exchange for the free accommodation and services rendered, one would have to do some basic cleaning chores before bed and after breakfast. The other condition is that one must return and stay within the hostel by 20:30. Only the most ignorant fool would complain about this.
First Impressions
The weather was absolutely lousy the first two weeks of my sojourn in Moncton. It was cold and rainy. The first break in the weather I decided to explore the town. One morning I took a 2 1/2 walk around town. I walked west on Mountain Road to Killam. A raven sitting on a telephone wire shat on me. As I walked down Killam, the sidewalk was stained with bird shit. Apparently that street is the toilet for all the birds in Moncton. I also know why the street is called Killam. I wanted to kill the bird. I'm sure that I wasn't the first pedestrian to have bird shit fall on me. I'm sure many others wanted to Kill 'em.
I walked through Centennial Park. It's a nice little park with a creek that runs through it. As Spring was just beginning, notwithstanding that it was the first week of June, it was a bit grey and barren. I did get the sense that during the high summer, the park is overrun with bugs. At the exit of the park on St. George, I saw a 1955 RCAF fighter jet, along with a 1950s tank and an old coal powered train engine. Those old trains were massive. They must've been difficult as hell to operate and hot as hell. The coal man must've had it worst. The post World War 2 diesel locomotives were quite an advancement. They're smaller and faster.
Walking east on St. George towards downtown I noticed that Moncton is a bit depressed. It sure is a poor town. It's quite rundown but not quite a dump and sure as hell far from being a slum. Still, I've seen worse places in Oregon and Massachusetts way more decrepit than Moncton.
It happened to be a Sunday morning and I was quite surprised to see so many people flocked to churches. I didn't realize that people were still very religious. Most of the churches in Moncton are Protestant. There was one Roman Catholic church on St. George which had quite a few people entering.
I didn't think that I would live in Moncton long term. I can see why many people leave for Montreal and Toronto. I can see how Fredericton looks nicer and has more culture. That's the capital city, so it must keep up appearances and present a more respectable face. 
Public Transit
  Though Moncton is the largest city in New Brunswick it's still quite small. It has a population of over 62,000. That's the only reason why it even has a public transit bus system. Many of the buses in the Codiac Transit are over 30 years old. I saw a bus that was over 35 years old. The buses running along Main Street had very few passengers. On average, the buses on Main Street carried 5 passengers. During my second week, the province of New Brunswick had Environment Week. For five days during the week all the buses in Moncton were free. It was a propaganda campaign to encourage the use of public transit. I decided to take advantage of it to explore the city. However, the weather refused to cooperate. There was one day which was partly sunny. Though the buses were free, there was a marginal increase in ridership but not one bus ever had standing room only. 
 I noticed that the number 95 was the route that looked the longest on the map. It's terminus was Rotary St. Anselme Park. I had to take two buses to get to the park. I had to make more than 30 minutes for the second bus. Dieppe is the neighboring municipality to Moncton. The bus followed the muddy Petitcodiac river past the vast marshes..
 The entrance of the park consists of a baseball field, golf course and a velodrome which is a BMX bike racetrack. Walking further are two small artificial ponds with a few ducks. Then I came upon a stone cottage which is the Rotary Hall. I assume that the Rotary Club funded the construction of the park. There were a group of women around your age doing aerobic dancing. Next to that was a very nice playground for kids. If I were child, it would be my favorite playground hands down.
I walked to the wooded area and looked at the trail map. I decided to take the Red trail since it was labeled very difficult. The wooded area is very nice but soon after I entered the insects attacked me. I don't know whether they were horseflies or chiggers but they were aggressive! They swarmed around me and followed me all through the park. I put up both of my hoodies but measure barely helped. I was bitten repeatedly. I walked on a couple of main trails and then went deeper in the woods off the beaten path. There wasn't any let up in the insect attacks.
I then remembered why I stopped wearing short pants after the age of 8. It wasn't only because I hated the shape and look of my skinny legs nor was it due to the fact that I often felt hotter wearing shorts because the sun beat directly on my legs. I hated shorts because they insects would have a field day on my legs.
Despite the fact that I wore trousers, my jacket, U de Montreal hoodie, plus my red long sleeves Working America shirt, I was still bitten. I walked around the trails for about 45 minutes until I beat a hasty retreat. The insects were kicking my ass! I was glad that I came now. In July and August that park must be murder with the bugs. Once I left the wooded area, the swam subsided. However, a couple still harassed me until I left the park grounds all together.
It was a relatively short expedition but I got just more than an hour's walk out of it. When I waited at the bus stop, the clouds were blown away by the wind. While it was cloudy, the air was calm. But was quite windy with a bit of a chill even though the temperature is 22 Centigrade.
Getting Acquainted and Integrated 
  It wasn't only the rain, the cold and lack of sun that was sagging my spirit but it was the extremely low atmospheric pressure. We were required to vacate the hostel by 09:00 each morning. I was bored of spending the entire day at the library where due to the atmosphere and boredom, I would find myself sleepy and drained. I didn't hitchhike more than 1,000KM from Ottawa just to stay indoors day in and day out. My temperament became rather foul.
  By the third week the weather improved. There was no shortage of free food in Moncton. Many of the hostel residents ate the breakfast served and then on to the Salvation Army for an additional breakfast. Many would then go to a Roman Catholic church for an early lunch. This was followed by going to a Protestant Church for a late lunch. They simply spent their day going from one free meal to another. I thought it was a bit much. I'm a light eater. I can get by with only one meal per day. I could never spend a full day hopping from one free kitchen to the other. Moreover, it's difficult for me to eat in the morning after I wake up. Breakfast has always been my least favorite meal. My family engaged in epic struggles to get me to eat breakfast as a child. Especially since I've always detested cereal. I haven't eaten a bowl of cereal since 1984. Additionally I often skipped lunch as a child because I couldn't stomach the slop served by the school cafeterias. I spent most of my childhood eating nothing more than two slices of toast for breakfast and dinner. My grandmother would prepare waffles and pancakes for breakfast on weekends, which I enjoyed. For some reason, I could eat breakfast when we went away on vacation as I always ordered pancakes. When I left home to attend university, I would only eat breakfast on weekends. However, I did find it imperative to eat lunch. This was due to the fact that I had a rigorous morning schedule of lectures. Also the Boston University cafeterias served a better quality of food than in grade school. I began to eat breakfast only in my last year of high school. I used to buy cinnamon raisin bagels with large heaps of cream cheese along with coffee light and sweet (New York City parlance for coffee with cream and sugar.) This habit extended into my 20s when I entered the workforce.
  Anyway, in Moncton I would simply have a few cups of coffee each morning. I can go without food but I can't bear a day without at least one cup of coffee. I would have coffee at the hostel and at 9 o'clock I would go to the Roman Catholic church to drink an additional 2-3 cups of coffee. Many of the other patrons took notice of me. I was the new stranger and obviously wasn't from The Maritimes. I told them that I was traveling from Ottawa on tour of The Maritimes. I wasn't really homeless. They were in awe of my world travels.
  In any event my daily routine consisted of going to the church for coffee until 10 o'clock when I would head to the public library to go online. Each day I took a different route. I would wander and zigzag through the side streets observing the architecture. I would then take a lounge chair on the ground floor and read the news, as well as read and write emails.
  Though Maritimers are friendly people, they aren't so quick to open up to strangers. However, they noticed that I kept to myself and avoided making a nuisance. They discovered that I was approachable and had something interesting and unique to say. I eventually won their confidence and trust. Moreover, I avoided engaging in the usual small town gossip. I would listen but I never said anything. In the first instance I simply could care less about what other people I didn't know were up to. I've always detested gossip. I do anything possible to avoid engaging in rumors. Finally, the affairs of others aren't my business. I always mind my own business. That's why I avoid Facebook like the plague. If I want to know what my friends are up to, I'll ask them myself. My ability to avoid conflict and clashes also helps. All of this made the others realize that I'm a decent and nice man. I was someone they could trust.
Social Life
  With that said, I wasn't entirely satisfied with my social life. In the few times that I've stayed at shelters, I've always avoided getting too close personally with the other residents. Unlike them, I've made the choice to live as a poor Bohemian. Moreover, I've experienced all the stations of life. I've been on all the floors of the high rise building from the basement to the penthouse. From my early days in Vienna living and socializing among the very affluent to the days of sleeping on the streets of Seattle, I've lived and experienced the very best and very worst of life. Since I'm Upper Middle Class by socio-economic background, I'm quite educated. Many of the other residents in contrast don't possess a high school diploma, let alone have ever seen an university lecture hall. Since they're disadvantaged economically, they naturally lack any intellectual inclinations. This isn't to say that I'm better than they or that they're my social inferiors, but rather that the different socioeconomic differences make any social or intimate relations unlikely. While I was on friendly or at best cordial terms with them, there wasn't much more than that.
  Conversely, due to the lack of money combined with the early curfew, I was unable to go out to bars and cafes to meet new people. This changed when the Inspire Festival began. Inspire is a visual arts and music festival started recently in Moncton. Artists from all over the world were invited to paint wall murals. However, since it had rained during the first week, many of the murals were not completed by the weekend when the festival was well under way. That Saturday was the first nice one of the summer. In a side alley off Main Street, there was a stage with dj's playing hip-hop music, along with break dance and beat-boxing competitions. The first few dj's were quite good. They played all the old-school NYC hip-hop classics. The organizer was an Asian man. He set up eight gigantic boomboxes from the 1970s and 80s on stage. All but two or three of them still worked.
  After a few hours I got bored and went to Riverfront Park where the rest of the festival took place. I was taken aback by all the children that were present. Since I don't have any children and is unlikely that I will have any, I'm always slightly put at unease whenever large groups of children are present. I briefly thought that I had misread the bills for the festival and that it was actually a children's festival with the wall murals being the only part for adults. However, there were adults that weren't parents around. There was a full schedule of live music. I saw a cute Blonde girl sitting on the grass and I started a conversation with her. She was a very witty and clever Libra. However, she was only 17. So much for any sexcapades I had entertained. By early evening a DJ came on and played a set quite identical to what I used to play in Serbia. My DJ ear could detect songs long before the others would and I would get up and dance. The DJ dropped the 12 inch cut of "Wordy Rappinghood" by Tom Tom Club. The sound of the typewriter at the start of the song is unmistakable. I was the first one in the field to dance. Shortly after the DJ played "Situation" by Yazoo (known as Yaz in the USA). In my tribute to Prince I explained how frustrating it was to be a DJ in Serbia. A rare staple of my repertoire that actually succeeded in making people dance was "Don't Go" by Yazoo. However, the big hit from Yazoo is "Situation". That was one of the biggest records of 1982. It was a staple of both radio and club DJs in the USA for a decade. Unfortunately for me when I decided to play "Situation" at a gig in Belgrade, I was once again confronted with complaints and an emptied out dance floor. Somehow "Don't Go" was a hit in Yugoslavia but no one had ever heard "Situation". Sure enough, when the DJ in Moncton played it, I was joined by 20 other people dancing. Ask any DJ or club goer in North America and they will tell you that the "Situation" is a better dance song than "Don't Go." I felt somewhat vindicated. 
 Both the Hip-Hop DJs and the main DJ also confirmed what I had observed on my world travels. Namely that the Atlantic Ocean is where the world's best music is produced and the centre of global dance culture. When I lived in Portland and Seattle, no one ever danced outside of a club. Even at the hip-hop clubs in Seattle, I was the only fool ever to dance. However, as soon as I arrived in Ottawa and east the good music returned and people danced. In Ottawa and Montreal, it's quite common for a small group of friends at someone's apartment to dance. I have a theory as to why this is. The Black British sociologist Paul Gilroy terms it "The Black Atlantic". The majority of the world's Black population lives around the Atlantic Ocean. From Senegal down to South Africa in Africa. Across the ocean the majority of Blacks in the Americas live in Brazil, the Caribbean and the US Eastern Seaboard. Heading back East across the Atlantic, the majority of Europe's Black population lives in Portugal, France and the UK. It's hardly an accident that the roots of all popular music today come from the Atlantic. From Afrobeat in Nigeria, Samba in Brazil, Calypso and Reggae in the Caribbean and of course Ragtime, Jazz, Blues, Rock, Soul and Hip-Hop along the waters of the US Atlantic. The countries with the most popular and most famous dance culture are all found along the Atlantic. This even includes the famous Jigging from Ireland. The British are the most keen dancers in Europe. Nothing gets the Brits more excited than dancing. The currents of the Atlantic provide the rhythm and the beat of the world. 
  The following day Moncton was to hold it's very first ever Tam-Tams drum circle modeled after the weekly Sunday events in Montreal. It was held in Riverfront Park. In total perhaps 25 people turned out over the course of the day. At its peak there were no more than 10 people drumming. About 1/3 were indigenous Mi'kmaq, the original inhabitants of Atlantic Canada. Another third were Acadian Francophones, the rest were Anglophones such as myself. It was quite inspiring that I was compelled to write a one sentence poem about it. I met people from outside the homeless and down out circles for the first time. I met a local resident who was into juggling and fencing. He said that he usually goes to Victoria Park in the early evenings to socialize. The following evening he was there.
  The rain returned for a couple of days. I returned to Victoria Park to find the same man. I saw a man walking on a tightrope attached to two trees and thought it was him. It was someone unfamiliar. I thought he might have the friend. I sat on the bench. He smiled and waved at me. He was a recent immigrant from Iran by way of Turkey. He had lived in Toronto for five years and was on a bicycle tour of The Maritimes. He had biked all the way from Toronto to Gaspe and had made his way down to Moncton. He went into a shop and had left his camera on the counter. He was on his way to Nova Scotia when he realized that he'd left his camera behind. Unfortunately, the shop had closed and wouldn't re-open until the following Monday. He had to wait a couple of days in Moncton. He didn't know where to camp out. I told him about the hostel and he checked in.
  The next day we returned to Riverfront Park for the Tams. No one else showed up until after 3 o'clock. During the day he met another cyclist doing a cross-country trip from St. John's to Victoria. The Iranian carried a didgeridoo. Apparently no one in Moncton had ever seen one before. At the hostel a circle gathered around with incredulous eyes. He was told to busk on Main Street as he could make quite a bit of money. At first, I simply thought that the uneducated residents of the hostel not knowing much about the world were unaccustomed to seeing a didgeridoo. However, when it was played during the drum circle a rather large group of people stopped with dropped jaws. I was quite surprised that no one in Moncton knew what a didgeridoo was. This was followed up by the appearance of a Black woman. She thought we were professional musicans holding a public concert. She was from Nigeria but had married a white Canadian in Victoria. She said that she had just moved to Moncton a few days prior. She had never seen or heard a didgeridoo. I was rather surprised that having lived in Victoria on the Pacific rim, that she was unfamiliar with the instrument. She was so impressed that she wanted to give us a $20 note. We mostly demurred but she insisted. Since no one else wanted it, I took it. I didn't have a penny to my name.
  A few moments later I saw the tidal bore. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world. Twice a day the tide comes in as a wave up the Petitcodiac River. We watched the tide come in. The Petitcodiac is a muddy river with a reddish-brown color to it. A wave of the same color came racing through. A man was on a surfboard riding the wave. I wonder how long he surfed on it. Did he ride the wave 10 KM from the bay up to Moncton? 
  Afterwards the Iranian, the white Torontonian woman and I went to a place called La Bicyclerie, a community bike shop. I noticed a very attractive Blonde woman working on the bikes. When she talked to my companions I took that as my entry. She explained how La Bicyclerie was a community bike shop intended to promote cycling as an alternative to cars. For $5 lifetime membership, I would be able to join various events. I immediately broke the $20 note and signed up. I can be such a fool for a halfway decent looking woman, especially when I hadn't had any sex in a year nor had any decent sexual release in two years. 
  My final week in Moncton had arrived. I gave my notice that I would leave on July 2nd. It was time to continue my travels. It was during the last week that I had really developed a social life and started to meet very interesting people. I was sad that I had to leave. The disadvantages of being a world traveler is that once one begins to settle in and meet new people, it's time to move on. 
 At La Bicyclerie, all members are required to do volunteer work. Also if one completeles 20-25 hours of volunteer work, then one can get a free bike. For Canada Day La Bicyclerie was offering bike valet service. To encourage cycling a part of the farmer's market was set aside for the bike valet. Canada Day festival attendees could bring their bikes. Instead of having to lock them up, they would leave them at the valet. We could give them a ticket with a number. I volunteered for that. 
  Since Canada Day was going to be my last night in Moncton, I felt entitled to enjoy a night out. The hostel made exceptions to the curfew for reasons of work. I had signed my name on the work list the day before. I explained that I was working at the bike valet and that I would return between 11 o'clock and midnight.
I worked the valet from Noon to 2 o'clock and had another shift from 10 to 11 o'clock that evening. 
  For the most part Canada Day was a boring spectacle. It was rather hot and most of the bands playing were Martimes country music. The headline act was Alan Frew who was the lead singer of Glass Tiger. In 1986 Glass Tiger had a big hit in the USA "Don't Forget Me (When I'm Gone)". It was released the first summer that I got into popular music. I initially liked it but when I was 14 I liked some pretty awful music. To my eternal embarrassment I used to be a huge fan of Huey Lewis and The News when I was 14 and 15. I had forgotten all about Glass Tiger until last summer when I was driven from Ottawa to Toronto when their big hit came on the radio.
  I actually missed the first couple of numbers of Frew's set. By the time I arrived at the show, he had just concluded "Human" by The Human League. Frew had just recorded a released an album of cover songs of 1980s pop hits. Of all the great songs to cover by The Human League, Frew chose the most boring and least interesting. His set was up and down. I wasn't impressed with his version of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" as Frew lacks the vocal range and talent of Gabriel or Youssou N'Dour. The low point was his cover of "Nothing Compares 2 U" which he introduced as being by Sinead O'Connor. I wasn't the only one who was offended. The temperature in the audience suddenly cooled. I folded my arms and had a look of contempt. Everyone in the audience knew that the song was written by Prince. Add to the fact that Sinead O'Connor released it in 1990 made it decidedly not an 80s song. To make matters worst, Frew's singing was quite poor. He must've been aware of the audience's reaction. He saved his set and reputation when after completing the song with a smattering of polite applause he said: "We miss you Prince." I along with everyone gave a most enthusiastic applause. The best of his set were two covers that he did. First he did "Live To Tell" by Madonna. He underestimated the musical intelligence of the audience by saying: "This is something you've all forgotten about." Please! The only reason why I respect Madonna is for that song. In my opinion, it's her best song I only like two songs by her. The other being "Papa Don't Preach". If it weren't for those two songs I would have nothing but contempt and derision for Madonna. I'd rather not go into a rant about her. Frew did a good job singing it. Seriously, it's Madonna's most serious song. It's a song about her disastrous marriage to Sean Penn which strong overtones of domestic violence and abuse. 
The best song of the evening by Frew was his outstanding cover of "Beds Are Burning" by Midnight Oil. That got everyone including myself dancing and singing along. Though I'm being a tough critic Frew did reveal two personal anecdotes which made me respect him. He revealed that he had suffered a stroke from last November. He was sure that his singing career was over but look at him now. He gave a very positive message that no matter how dark and bad life seems to be, there's always a chance to rebound and continue on. I was rather impressed that he was capable of going on a long tour following recording a full album after suffering a stroke. The second thing anecdote he told was his origins in Coatbridge, which is a rough suburb of Glasgow. He made a the following comparison for Canadian audiences. "If Glasgow is Hamilton, then Coatbridge is Wentworth prison." I knew exactly what he was referring two. I spent an ill-fated two weeks in the Drumchapel section of Glasgow, which is the worst slum in that city. Coatbridge can only be more horrible. Frew is quite fortunate that he arrived in Canada.
Sad Farewell 
  It was time to depart Moncton and head on to Nova Scotia. The church which runs the charity hostel also has a thrift shop. Each Wednesday the residents of the hostel are allowed to get clothes and other articles free of charge. I desperately needed a new sleeping bag. A very nice young Acadian woman who seemed to be part Mi'kmaq and/or Black gave me a very large and warm sleeping bag. She asked if I needed a pillow. I declined. Next I needed a tent. I went to the Salvation Army to get a voucher for a tent. When I went to the retail outlet, the tents were sold out. While I was doing the bicycle valet, I told two people that I was unable to get a tent. They suggested that I go to Wal-Mart. I replied that I didn't have any money for a tent. At the end of the valet shift one of them gave me a brand new tent. 
  I was so humbled by the endless acts of kindness and generosity displayed to me in New Brunswick. I didn't want to leave but I had to. One day while I was at the Roman Catholic church I met a very attractive redhead. I was told that she was mad and to avoid her. I've always had a thing for mad women. They're not only interesting but they're challenging. She liked me. I was one of the few people she was nice to. She had criminal charges hanging over her head. She lost the plot at the library and attacked someone. She was subsequently banned for 90 days from the library and was due in court by mid July. She faced the prospect of probation of 90 days in jail. On the last day we crossed paths. I told her that I was attracted to her and if she would give me a good-bye kiss. Her face was mortified at the proposition. Oh well. I tried.
  The day I was due to leave, three Acadian women volunteers who often provided cakes, ice cream, pizza and other delicious food from their own pockets organized a Canada Day party at the hostel. They ordered 10 boxes of pizza. At 13:30 I had to leave as I was being picked up by my Nova Scotian hosts. All three of them hugged me. Nearly half of the residents hugged me good-bye. I was told that I should return and would always be welcomed in Moncton. I had to hold back the tears.
Conclusion 
  Though I had expected to have a nice time in Moncton, I was unprepared for what I experienced. The free 30 day hostel, the abundance of food, the unnatural friendliness of the people. I didn't think anyplace existed like this in North America, nay the Western World. I think this stems from the early days of French-Indian cohabitation. The Seven Years War was an unmitigated disaster for the Acadians and Indians. In spite of the mass deportation of the Acadians and displacement of the Mi'kmaq, that spirit of cooperation has endured. Also one must consider that New Brunswick is one of the poorest provinces in Canada. People have no choice but to help each other survive. There still exists a pre-capitalist humanism. In fact, it was truly my first experience with genuine communism. Moncton has managed to stave off capitalist degeneration and while it's creeping in, it will take another decade before it succumbs to totalitarian capitalism.
  One must always remain sober and clear headed about reality. Moncton isn't Utopia. There are still racial and ethnic tensions between English-French and Mi'kmaq. There's also a degree of anti-Black racism and prejudice which I encountered. Moncton is a small town with all the attendant baggage. Small mindedness, backbiting, gossip and a rumor mill. Many people are struggling to survive. New Brunswick has both the highest taxes and the lowest wages in Canada. 
  Still, I had considered relocating to Moncton. I shall definitely return before the summer is over. This report will come as a surprise to many Canadians. New Brunswick is one of the most maligned provinces of Canada with Moncton ranking near the top of the most disliked cities in the country. I was warned by my friends in Montreal that I would hate it. This is the thing: throughout my travels cities and countries which most people like, I detest and vice versa. I absolutely hated Vancouver, Portland Oregon, San Francisco, California, Paris and Spain. These are the most raved and in my opinion overrated cities and countries in the world. Meanwhile I loved Seattle, Vienna, Belgrade, Serbia and Moncton. Once again, in nearly every facet of my personality remains in stark opposition to the majority opinion. There's a 99% probability that what the majority find favorable, I find unfavorable and vice versa. That's what makes me Der Kosmonaut.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Clarissa said...

Have you looked into astrocartography? It's fascinating. Under the Free Horoscope section of astro.com, look under the Interactive tab and you will see AstroClickTravel. It's not as detailed as a proper astrocartography reading, but it's good. Your Jupiter line runs right through Moncton! Your Sun line isn't far away either. I can see why you feel a spiritual home lies in that part of the world. Check it out. That's amazing you met someone from Kasai, again learning about a spiritual home although remotely.

That's a hard life you're living, glad you've made it through the long summer at least.

Monday, August 08, 2016  
Blogger Der Kosmonaut said...

Thanks for your comments Clarissa.
Yes I know about the astrocartography page at astro.com. I often consult it before I travel somewhere and I saw my Jupiter line running through Moncton. One's Natal Chart does determine how well one relates to certain parts of the globe. The Maritimes is definitely where I need to be at this time in my life.
Yes my life is a hard one but it always has been. I was "Born Under Punches" as David Byrne named his excellent Talking Heads song. But freedom is a hard thing to obtain and keep. I have a freedom very few have. Freedom comes with a price. The price I pay is a precarious existence tottering on the edge of the abyss. However, I chose to live this way.

Monday, August 08, 2016  

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