5/08/2006

View of Entry Island: Iles de la Madeleine

View of Entry Island Originally uploaded by mellowkitty.

Second day on les Iles de la Madeleine. I’ve been watching the lobster boats come back from their first day of emptying the traps—the traps first went into the water on Saturday. Tomorrow, I’ll eat my first boiled lobster. Les Iles are actually linked by sandbars. I’m on Havre-aux-Maisons, considered the most picturesque—probably because it has no commerce to speak of. All the major shops--including a Tim Hortons--is on Cap-aux-Meules. I did a bit of reconnaissance today, driving to Cap-aux-Meules to get a sense of where services were. There’s the Jean Coutu. Here’s the SAQ. There’s the local bar. I picked up a few brochures at the Tourist Centre. I plan to visit Entry Island, which I can see from the house I’m renting. Entry Island is home to about 100 English-speaking Anglicans, who all seem to be named Welsh – Arlie, Borden, Dazil, and Waldrin are a few of the more charming given names. Since the accent of the francophone population is so pronounced (it sounds a bit like Old English, which sounds a bit like Old French), I’m pretty sure that the accent used by the folks on Entry Island is just as pronounced. Recently, the Entry Islanders have voiced their concerns over Hydro-Quebec’s proposal to install wind generators on the island. The local paper reported a resident worrying that the monster windmills would overwhelm the silence the Island is noted for. “We would have to leave the Island,” he said. Of course, if they left the island, the need for electricity would be moot. But, that’s what fascinating about the community on Entry Island: it’s so small, it could disappear in a single season, yet it has endured for centuries. Other concerns on Les Iles revolve around housing. Les Iles is subject to gentrification, just like our cities are. There’s a huge problem with locals being booted out their rentals come June to make them available to vacationers. Indeed, the house I’m in is exclusively rented to “mainlanders”. A fisherman, who I’m told is leaving in June, currently leases the house behind me, owned by the same dudes who own my rental. I’m half suspicious, but haven’t confirmed, that he’s leaving to make way for someone willing to pay $1000.00 or more week for what he pays considerably less. Just like folks in the city, local residents are loath to make use of the Regie de Logements in order to protect their rights. Indeed, the community is so small here that no one locks their door. As a potential criminal, you are a captive audience, the only place to run is the sea. I’m fairly confident that if Eudore’s son stole my laptop, his neighbour Procule would find out about it, tell his wife Alma, who would mention something to the cashier at the local Co-op. The Surete Quebec would return my laptop the next day. I’d refuse to testify and Eudore’s son would decide to pursue Lettres at CEGEP du Limoilou, would return to Les Iles and open a restaurant specializing in seal sausages. You can really purchase seal sausages. No kidding.

2 comments:

Lisa said...

I bet seal sausages taste fishy. Ewwwwww.

Maggie said...

What's super funny is that they don't call it "seal" ("phoque" in French) on the menu...they call it "loup de mer" (sea wolf)...a mammal by any other name ;)