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Jason Toews and fifi (the band)

Canada Trip, October 2011

Returning from a trip to the Maritime Provinces of Canada, we were only one block from the United States when an oncoming car loomed out of the darkness. Robin managed to say, “Hey… is that car-” and then this happened:

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Smoke and/or steam (I’m no mechanic) rising from the engine compartment encouraged us to exit our vehicle with some haste. Quasar, left behind for the moment, urinated copiously on the floormats to register his disapproval. We stood in the rain, thoroughly dazed, trying to make sense of what had just happened. The driver of the other car staggered toward us, eyes wide, shivering and manic. “OH MY GOD!” she shouted between racking sobs. “I THOUGHT YOU GUYS WERE TURNING! WEREN’T YOU TURNING? BECAUSE I WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN IN YOUR LANE EXCEPT I THOUGHT YOU WERE TURNING! OH MY GOD I’M IN SO MUCH TROUBLE! THIS IS A RENTAL CAR! OH MY GOD!” Dark red blood streamed from her nose, covering her chin and staining her white blouse. She wandered off into the rain like a murderous wraith, still shouting. “I NEED A CIGARETTE! DOESN’T ANYONE HAVE A CIGARETTE? I’M IN SO MUCH TROUBLE!”

Whenever we recall this vacation in the future, we’ll probably say, “Remember that time we went to Canada and that coked-up nutcase plowed into us and totaled the Prius? And the Mounties put us up in that motel, but they didn’t take pets, so we had to stay in the owner’s house? And we had to take a hundred-dollar cab ride to St. John and pick up the only U.S.-plated rental car in New Brunswick to drive home? That was CRAZY.”

Before it ended in crumpled steel and Kafka-esque bureaucracy, however, we saw some cool (abandoned) things.

First Cool Thing: During a lazy drive around Prince Edward Island, we stumbled across an (apparently) shuttered “Science Fun” theme park, complete with life-size (wooden) space shuttle. According to the park’s official site, it’s been closed since 2009. We didn’t have a lot of time, and I needed to pee, so I only took a few pictures.

Second Cool Thing: When we were originally mapping out our trip, I followed up a couple of internet leads and read about an abandoned satellite station that was pretty close to one of our destinations. Well… let’s say, no more than an hour out of our way. Approximately. We were running late for a once-a-day ferry, so I wasn’t able to fully document the site. Still, the few pictures I took are evocative.

Finally, our sincere thanks to RCMP Constable Roy, and the entire St. Stephen Fire Department, who were extremely helpful and friendly, and had neat accents.

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One Comment

  1. She was definitely on drugs, the Constable agreed. And they kindly dropped the ONE THOUSAND dollar cross-border drop-off fee after threatening us with it, but only because they wanted to get rid of an American car. And note to self: don’t be cheap and get the least expensive insurance plan – we didn’t have car rental coverage in case of accident, and boy did we regret that! Quasar was a little hurt that I left him in a car ‘about to blow’, but he has forgiven me. One of the firefighters who showed up was a vet, and she gave him a little exam that was adorable to watch, running her hands down his spine and turning his neck slowly from side to side. Anyway, I finally got to go along with Jason urban exploring, and now I am completely sure that it is not for me! While I love the evocative pictures he takes, actually being there is extremely creepy. Its hard to describe, but all that rot and decay unnerves me.

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