Monday Morning Musings

Posted on August 13, 2018 under Monday Morning Musings with no comments yet

Walking trail. Montague, P.E.I.

 

“What’s the buzz;tell me what’s a happening,

What’s the buzz; tell me what’s a happening.”

What’s The Buzz? Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

Is there a more bucolic setting anywhere else in Canada that can match P.E.I.?

My brother and I took a short trip to “the Island” last week to catch a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar. This musical rock opera debuted on Broadway in 1971 and has been performed on some stage somewhere in the world for forty-seven years. I heard that there was an excellent local staging of the show a few years back here in Antigonish. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the live feed from southern India!

Starting with the ferry ride from Caribou to Wood Islands, one is forced to slow down. Once you reach the rich, red soil of the island, you are greeted with rolling hills and 80 kpm speed limits. It must be quite a (pleasant) shock to the system for visitors from large cities who white knuckle commute through 16 lanes of traffic traveling at 13okm and hour, when not stuck in gridlock. The only time you encounter any kind of a lineup in P.E.I. is at a Cow’s ice cream stand.

Our mini vacation started with a visit with old friends at Rollo Bay. For the first time ever, I traveled on the number 4 highway which is the coastal route heading across the eastern end of the island. The scenery is quite stunning with the ocean off to one’s right with fields of potato and corn at every turn in the road.

Knowing that we were a bit early to be arriving at our friends, we stopped in Montague. There’s a walking trail, an old rail bed, just as you cross the bridge near the mouth to the harbour. We meandered along the trail. After the recent heat wave, it was quite delicious walking through the trees with a lovely warm breeze blowing in our faces. We were hatless but the wind didn’t have any effect on my recent haircut!

We had a wonderful visit in Rollo Bay, one of many beautiful vistas dotting the island. Thanks to Irene and Colin for the hospitality.

On our trip into Charlottetown, we noticed black, menacing clouds in the distance. Upon our arrival near suppertime, we witnessed a stretch of road severely flooded. We checked into the Great George Hotel and were greeted by possibly the most friendly desk staff person imaginable. It is very obvious that Islanders understand the importance of hospitality and client service as tourism is extremely important to their economy.

Did I mention cookies? The Great George is pricey but on one’s birthday, one can indulge themselves. The desk clerk welcomed us to free cocktails in the lobby area and mentioned that there was an endless supply of fresh baked cookies on a table not far from where we were standing. On our way to our room, we sampled the cookies as we felt it would be rude to offend our hosts by not trying a few. We visited this table a few times during our short stay.

Our accommodations were first class. I had negotiated a preferred rate when booking the apartment style room, mentioning that we were both seniors. I also slipped in the fact that it was my birthday, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the reservations clerk. On the living room table, there was a box of truffles and in the fridge, there were four bottles of locally brewed craft beer. Only after we had hastily consumed the chocolates did my brother notice a card from the “associate concierge” wishing me a happy birthday. Very classy indeed.

We meandered a block away to dine at the Gahan House only to find out that a vicious hail storm had knocked out power to much of the downtown core an hour earlier, putting in jeopardy our dinner plans and the distinct possibility that Superstar might be cancelled.  We ended up at Peake’s Quay on the waterfront along with nearly every other tourist in Charlottetown, being one of the few restaurants with power. Considering the size of the crowd (100 tables x 4 per table), the service what quite remarkable and all delivered with a smile. Noticing an opportunity to milk the birthday thing, my brother mentioned this to our waiter which produced the desired effect. We shared a low calorie (fat chance) dessert, compliments of the management.

We were very relieved to learn that “the show would go on”, and made our way to Confederation Centre. I will not bore you with a lengthy song by song review of the rock opera. This is a must see if you’re a baby boomer. It was a world class performance. Lee Siegel, who plays Judas, is simply off the charts with his powerful voice. All the singers were exceptionally good and the orchestra was more than up to the task. Actually, they were fabulous.

Exiting the building, we stood with dozens of others and watched a screening of the history of Canada emblazoned on the wall of the Confederation Centre.

It was short trip but everything about it was first class. Great friends, great food, wonderful hospitality and one exceptional musical.

By the way, thanks for all the birthday wishes. None of us needs reminding that we’re getting older but connecting with friends near and far once a year is rather fun.

Have a great week.

P.S. Overheard at the R.K. MacDonald last week as I was waddling down the hallway with my guitar. A few of the staff were walking behind me. “He has a nice swing on his back porch.”!

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