After Cape Breton, we made our way back to the French couple who had hosted us just before we left. Before we left, we were gingerly trying to work out how to ask them if they would host us again because we’d had such a good time staying there. Dan drew the short straw and was about to ask them when they told us that we’d probably be tired after camping and that we should stay at theirs before our train. We asked them not to do anything special this time as they put so much effort into our last stay. They completely ignored that request.
We spent the evening with them, their next door neighbours again and another pair of couchsurfers – this time from Germany. It’s crazy how people can become so familiar to you in such a short space of time, because it felt like we’d known everyone there for much longer than two days. The guy neighbour gave Dan a signed picture of Bubbles from Trailer Park Boys which made his night, and the lady neighbour told us very candid stories about her time working in a sperm bank. One amazing story she told was when a short Indian man came up to her desk and produced two samples – twice what they’d asked of him and in half the time. I had an image in my head of a creepy wink and a smile to accompany that, but apparently he looked at her like a kid does when they hold up a picture of a stick figure – purely just after her approval.
That obviously broke the ice for the evening, so we brought up that we’d noticed there was a pole in the house. The best bit about this was that it wasn’t our female host that used it often, but the male. “It’s pole fitness”, he quickly corrected me, and before we’d even got to the mains (we had three courses again!), our male host was teaching Dan some moves on the pole. So the rest of us spent half an hour watching two men pole dancing. Unfortunately they moved so fast that I couldn’t get any photos of their moves, so I’ll just have to leave you with this image.
The conversations became a lot more serious after that as they started telling us about the Indigenous people in Canada. Again its not something I can impart my own opinion on as that would be really dumb of me to do after only two conversations about it. The Indigenous communities are going through a crisis of poor living conditions, low wages and depression. The young people especially are having a horrible time and teenage suicide has increased in recent years. The latest Canadian prime minister has stated that he will bring about a closing in the gap of living conditions, education and career outcomes between Indigenous communities and the rest of Canada. People seem to be mostly behind him, and I can see why with intentions like that.
From the outside, Canada has always looked to be a very peaceful country, and it truly has been as far as personal experience goes. Every time we open Google Maps on our phones, its not long before someone is asking us if we need directions. I’m at risk of becoming complacent, because I got annoyed the other day when someone bumped into me and only apologised once. It’s been a massive eye opener to find that there are tensions and conflict here as it’s always appeared to be a pioneer of how to be good to each other.
After a two second pause which signalled that this topic was over, the mood lightened again when the lady neighbour turned to me and asked bluntly “have you ever had sex in a pan?”. People have been very forward in their friendliness, so I was just starting to assume that she was asking about our sex lives, when she went into the kitchen and brought out a dessert. That dessert was aptly named, and I think everyone had seconds. Halifax and Cape Breton was beautiful enough for us to want a second visit anyway, but I’d love to come back to see those four in the future.