between the Nakvak and the Korok: an expedition to the Torngat mountains. Hiking through the Valley of the cirques, climbing Mont d'Iberville, fishing in the Nakvak Valley, Canada, Torngat Mountains, northern Québec, trek, Nakvak, Korok, icefield, caribou trail, summit, travelogue, trip, travel, hike




Thursday, November 27

There was a mostly empty center aisle so I moved there after eating and pulled up the armrest between 2 seats so I could stretch out a bit. I did manage to sleep some, too. But as dawn was breaking, we were stacked above London, eventually getting our chance to land at Heathrow. It was Thanksgiving Day in the US of A. Once I had cleared immigration and we had our bags, we took the express train into the city, and a taxi from the station to Rob's and Kay's. We were all pretty well fried from 30 hours of travel, but London was a welcome sight. Andy had intended to go to breakfast with us, but decided to head home immediately. So Rob, Kay and I set out to fulfill a fantasy that Rob and Andy had shared whilst we were on the trip, eating strictly vegetarian: a "fry up," which is a traditional English fried breakfast. So we got into Rob's VW beetle and drove to a restaurant that he had frequented in his firefighter days, decades before. It looked like it had been there for most of the 20th century, all tiled and still frequented by working men. You ordered and picked up at a counter, and there was a young woman very assertively calling the shots at the counter, passing orders to the kitchen, notifying customers when their orders were up.

Kay was selective, having just fried eggs and chips (French fries) but I followed Rob's lead. And soon we were sitting at one of the formica-topped tables , eating. On my plate were 2 fried eggs on a piece of deep fried bread (called a fried slice), pork & beans, canned tomatoes, ham, and sausage, with more toast on the side. Plus tea to drink. I knew this was stomach suicide after eating vegetarian for 3 weeks, but what the hell? It was a taste of England. Rob and I both ate it all.

Back at their place, Rob unpacked the things he had bought on the trip. I gave them the thangka. I think they liked it.

I was totally floored by Kay, by the fact that she had cheerfully agreed to Rob's journey, which started a few days after their wedding. And by the fact that she had handled so much and with so much grace while we were gone. We arrived back in London on a Thursday, and the following Monday they were moving to Scotland! There were countless details to be handled, arranged, etc., prior to the move, and Kay had accomplished them all. Rob spent some time on the phone to take care of a couple of things that he had to do, like renting a truck to move the stuff and having calls to his old telephone number forwarded to the new number in Scotland. But otherwise, there wasn't much for him to do except team up with Andy to load the truck on Monday and head for Scotland. Kay is one amazing woman.

Rob and I took the bus to Victoria Station and he got me oriented for my departure on the Gatwick Express the following day. Then we walked to a very old book binder shop and picked up a batik that they had framed for Rob and Kay. It was the size of a door, and exquisitely beautiful. They had bought it in Indonesia, and would find a way to mount it with a light behind it in their new house. Rob and I carried it back to the house on foot, drawing a lot of strange looks on the way. But walking it through the streets and across the river, watching the people we passed, I was reminded what a multicultural society they have in UK. Not without some friction, not without some regrettable history, but remarkable now. When we got to the house, their new bed frame for the new house had been delivered and was partly blocking the hall. There was a lot going on in their household. Yet they were unceasingly gracious to me.

It was a battle to stay awake and get my body clock readjusted. Rob had wanted to go out to a pub for a pint so I could have that experience, but he was down with a cold and a bit of stomach distress (wonder why). Still, he managed a walk to the local convenience store (Kay called it Pursebusters) to make sure that I would have oatmeal for tomorrow's breakfast. I had some quiet hours reading, finally finishing Cold Mountain. Later Kay and I walked to a real supermarket in the damp, bracing cold of the night, for some salad, cheese, and biscuits (crackers) for a light dinner. My stomach was pretty well clogged by breakfast, I must admit. And afterward, I asked them to turn on the telly, which they usually don't except for news. I wanted to see Eastenders. And once it was over, I headed for bed.

The next day


this travelogue is part of the subside travelzine
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