St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Day 10: Canadians and a Zydeco Band

Sunday –Day 10

Last night a couple parked across the road from us and set up their tent. The evening was nice with an almost full moon in the clear sky and temperatures still in the 50s after hitting 60 during the day.

After the neighbors were settled in, I strolled over and introduced myself. They were Martin and Donna from Nova Scotia, Canada. They invited us to sit down and visit.

“We are slowly coming back from having spent some of the winter in Mexico.” Of course, I had to know more so I ask them about it.

“We parked our van in McAllen Texas, and then took busses to travel around in Mexico. We had a travel guide, but stayed away from the normal tourist sites and the big cities. We like the smaller towns. We didn’t plan ahead to get a room—there were always rooms available at the hotels in town. Nice ones for low cost. “

“Weren’t you nervous about robbers?”

“No, it’s like in a big city—travel in the daytime and on the normal buses and you get along fine. The Mexican people are very nice and eager to help out. You don’t need to know Spanish to get along, although it is nice to be able to speak some. We pick a destination and take the bus and find a room and stay for as long as we like. There are a lot of Canadians, Americans and especially Europeans traveling around Mexico in he winter.”

We visited a little more before I asked, “so, how is the Canadian medical system for you?”

“Excellent!” We never have to pay for anything and we have always gotten treatment right away including for our parents when they got old. It does cost us from our Province sales tax. Each Province is required to provide health care for the people and has the choice of how to do it, but must cover a set of items. In Nova Scotia there is a 14% sales tax, 7% goes for our health care costs. We don’t pay for anything and are really pleased with the care we get, and our friends and relatives. When my mother fell and broke her arm, she was in the hospital for 6 weeks and scheduled to come home. When I told them that I couldn’t get things ready for another week, they kept her until I was ready. “

“There are some private pay options if you have money. You can pay to see a doctor on his private time and get some things that might be questionable to get done right away, so rich people don’t get too bothered—they can buy instant optional treatments. Any thing that is pressing, like my friend’s colon cancer is treated immediately—she had her diagnois on Wednesday her surgery on Monday and was back home by the end of the week—looks like she is cured, and she was 84 years old.”

Martin said “our son is in Boston working as a highway engineer (Martin was born in the USA and moved to Canada in the 1970s). He tells me about the problems getting health care in the US when he got layed off for a few months. He thought he would have to come back to Canada if he had any health problems or he would go broke.”

We made breakfast ourselves. Toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, but not grits. Excellent!

Decided to make a tourist day of it by going south to Lafayette and visiting the Cajun center and the nearby historic village.

At the Cajun center viewed two 15 minute movies. The first was on he Cajuns (Acadian) history from their move from France to Nova Scotia (Acadia) and the ongoing battles between British and French, their relocation south etc. The second was about the history of part of the bayou where floods made a local town disappear. Pretty good.

Then we went for a long walk between buildings on the reconstructed village next door. Lots of old buildings to look through and a live Zydeco band playing with people dancing. We are trying to distinguish between Zydeco, Creole and Cajun music and their histories. It appears that if the band is black and has a washboard instrument, it is Zydeco or Creole. If it is white and loaded with fiddles and accordians it is probably Cajun. Both have accordians as their main instrument. The music was very loud and lots of dancing--sort of waltzes and maybe 2-steps?

It got up to 70 degrees and felt almost uncomfortable! A few mosquitoes started finding their way in the camper.