Thursday, July 18, 2013

Part 2: Interlude

Dancing in West Mabou

Somewhat creepy looking fox. Sadly, the foxes were habituated to wait for food from passing cars.  Can a rabid fox's mouth foam melt tent fabric? 

Our campsite for the night in PEI

Guess what? Bike parts wear out.  I rode a lot last year and that's been apparent this 
year with a number of items needing replacement

Good to know

Outside the Red Shoe Pub, owned and run by the Rankin family

Following on the heels of our week on the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, we spent a night camping with Dan and Addie on the coast in Prince Edward Island. It was nice to decompress a little after such a lovely experience, before moving on to our respective destinations. 

After spending such a pleasurable and relaxing week together it was sad to say goodbye to our friends, but they need to begin their trip homewards and we needed to make our way towards Cape Breton where we were to begin our cycling journey around the Cabot Trail. 

After Dan and Addie left we made some repairs to our bikes and prepared for part two of our journey as a Bald Eagle sat in a nearby tree. As I stated previously, I was feeling unexcited about our next chapter, having had such a wonderful time on the islands. It took some time for my mood to shift, but as the miles slipped away through Nova Scotia, I began to look forward to what was coming next.

Nancy and I have long enjoyed contra dancing and traditional music. We made it our plan to reach Mabou, where we spent our first night on Cape Breton. Mabou is at the heart of Cape Breton fiddling and dance, so we were pretty sure we'd be in friendly terrain. Gerry Holland, Ashley MacIsaac, Natalie MacMaster, the Rankins, and many others all hail from this region. 

After setting up camp we headed to the Red Shoe Pub for dinner, which was a delight, and then afterwords headed back to West Mabou for an evening of dancing. The local dance is billed as a square dance, but upon arrival we saw that it had very little in common with a typical American square dance. We learned that each region has it's own dance tradition and variation. West Mabou features a three-dance set, repeated throughout the evening. There is no caller and the dancers determine when the dance is over by clapping. The most delightful aspect of the dance is the the shuffle or step-dance that many of the dancers do while moving through the simple figures of the dance. In a sort of show-your-feathers kind of way, that's where the skills really shine. 

We joined in and had a great time. Mind you, the dance started at 10:00PM, so by 11:30 or so we were feeling like we'd had our fill. It was such a treat to find the dance and be welcomed into this this familiar, yet different dance community. 

After a contented night's camping we sorted ourselves out in preparation to begin our cycling tour of the island and headed to Baddeck, our point of departure. 

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