A new, and rather overdue link on the sidebar comes with this update.
The very real possibility of being marooned for several days with the ghost of relationships past has a way of dampening one's enthusiasm. The option of taking some alternate transportation out of the city, though? That's something. Turns out that Via rail trains stop in Riviere-du-Loup at sometime around midnight, except on tuesdays. Guess which day of the week it was. The station is open for something like an hour and a half in the middle of the night when the trains do run, and it's housed in a brick building that looks like it's recieved more attention from vandals than passengers. I don't have a picture of it, I don't think. You're not missing much. The bus station is inside a Petro Canada at another edge of town, and the express bus to Halifax leaves at 4AM. Actually rather boring.
Some of the walls about town had been enhanced with these murals. Not so boring.
Our first stop was the...I want to say "beach", but the reality is more along the lines of "rock". The coast of the St. Lawrence, at any rate. The road to the coast intersects with the highway(?) to Cacouna, and at that intersection stands a familiar ice cream store. I didn't take a picture of that, either. I intended to, and caption it something like "I'm in ur cottage town, invadin' ur memories", but then:
Mom: "Actually, it sounds like you aren't invading her memories, and that's your problem"
Me (despondently): "Yeah. Guess it is"
And so that notion was abandoned.
See? Rocks. Pretty rocks, though.
A few minutes later, and there was some brief respite from dark thoughts, in the form of a weird playground structure. Check out the whirly pole thing!
I'm still not quite sure what you're *actually* supposed to do with it, especially considering that if you monkey bar your way across to the top of the thing to use it like a helical fireman's pole (and I did), it isn't (as far as I can tell) supposed to be accessible that way. Didn't stop me, of course.
The park seemed to end not far past this metal curiousity, and the presence of homes on the waterfront coupled with an ignorance of Quebec property law discouraged us from continuing along the river. We did stop to look at cottages for sale ("Seven hours? too far!"/ "But they *are* halfway between Ottawa and Halifax so we could meet up during the year!"), and also this really nice garden:
And shortly thereafter, was this:
The usual ensuing conversation, only on our side in very rusty French. I was translating in my head at the time, so I don't remember the phrasing perfectly. They asked us our dog's name, and we replied easily enough. What was said back to us didn't quite parse, and after a beat came "parlez vous anglais?", and the conversation changed languages. Their response was that their dog's name was "Ruby" as well, but they were wondering how we spelled it. Theirs turned out to be R-U-B-I-S, incidentally. They asked us where we were from. Turns out they were from Ottawa as well, although they had moved to Aylmer (I think, my recollection is a little spotty) some years ago. I think they may have mentioned living in Orleans, but that could be my memory playing tricks on me after the fact. They were there because the area was special to them, but for what reason I cannot remember. Our car had broken down, and we might not have stopped there at all. She (not pictured), observed that this was indeed quite the coincidence, and that we were none of us yet privy to the meaning behind it. I wished again that there might actually be some. We parted ways, and we walked back to the car. We met up with them again in the parking lot. She said again that this meant something, but we knew not yet what.
If it did mean anything, I'm still none the wiser. I can tell you, though, that our stop in Riviere-du-Loup did mean something for sure: another waterfall:
That's it for coincidence, but I have *many* more photos, so don't miss Part III