Postcards from the edge – 7

Why Postcards from the edge – it is not in homage to Carrie Fisher but a reference to a conversation with a fellow traveller who observed wistfully that he had travelled the world but only ever seen its edge.  This is one of the drawbacks of sea journeys, the ability to be everywhere and nowhere almost simultaneously.

I avoid conversation at breakfast.  There are three types on this ship:  Type 1 – the very old whose main conversation is operations, hospitals and medication;  Type 2 – the worldly wise who have been everywhere, know everything and are impressed by nothing; Type 3 – the miserable old sods who don’t want to talk – that’s me.  A true example of a Type 2 conversation (in a John Major voice) – We won’t be getting off at New York, been there before and didn’t like it.   This begs many questions, not least, why are you on this ship and which singular aspect of the rich tapestry that is New York put you off the whole.

Saint John

Saint John is a fine enough place with a long immigrant history like all of the large eastern seaboard ports .  It is also famous for Reversing Falls, a quite unusual natural phenomenon; the powerful rising tide forces the waters of the Saint John River to flow upstream through a rocky gorge.  Unfortunately, to fully appreciate what is happening you would have to stand there all day.

As we arrive at Halifax the sun is bright upon a shining sea:

Wait a minute, its stopped raining
Guys are swimming, guys are sailing
Playing baseball, gee that’s bedda
Mudder, Fadder kindly disregard this letter


  1. patrick · October 3, 2012

    The comment about travelling but only ever seeing the edge reminded me of an article I read recently about air travel and how it robs you of the sense of actually travelling somewhere:

    “The passenger terminal at Dover docks did not provide the most promising start, having all the charm of a 1970s coach station. But once on deck, with the white cliffs fading into the distance, I had a real sense of a proper trip starting, something that the palm-sweat-inducing jolt of take-off doesn’t provide. The sedate passage of the ship, the gradual emergence of the French coast, and the disembarkation in the open air, with a real town in clear sight, provided a sense of the continuities between places. In contrast, planes simply transport you from one anonymous, homogenous edgeland to another, between airports virtually identical in their black and yellow signage and multinational franchises. It’s the difference between travel – a movement between places in which the journey is part of the experience – and transit, the utilitarian linking of here and there, in which the destination becomes all that matters and the transfer simply something to put up with.”


    • northumbrianlight · October 4, 2012

      Good to hear from you Paddy – And then there are the airport cattle markets before take-off which make departing/arriving from/to Southampton so refreshing. Arrival and departure on ship is a real occasion – after six days at sea, gliding slowly up the Hudson before sunrise and passing the brightly lit towers of lower Manhattan is the experience of a lifetime.
      This morning we are heading west up the St Lawrence towards Quebec.

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