Visiting New Brunswick

I always mean to pre-plan a vacation, but I usually end up making last minute arrangements because John (my husband) and I can never agree on where we’re going or what we’re going to do. And so it was again this year.

At the last minute, we decided to visit the east coast. We decided against including Newfoundland, due to the cost of the ferry and the time it would take. We didn’t feel we would do it justice, so we’re saving it for a future trip all on its own.

It wasn’t a good start, with John getting a speeding ticket in Cobourg. We drove through Quebec, staying one night just outside Quebec City, at a place called Motel 541. It was off the beaten track and very reasonably-priced. But with no air conditioning – just the basics. The room however, was extremely clean and the sheets were of a high quality.

When we arrived in New Brunswick, construction abounded, with most of the highway being worked on, resulting in many delays. This was the first time our TomTom GPS let us down. I suppose it knew there had been road closures and had guided us to the detour. The highway was open though, so TomTom lead us around in a circle! John was not amused. We stopped in Grand Falls for lunch. This was the “town” I had visited years ago, and it has really grown!

I have to admit, I last visited New Brunswick over 30 years ago and things were much different. I can’t make jokes about New Brunswickers anymore. The quality of living has vastly improved, and we didn’t see as many houses that should have been condemned, as I did last time.

Because of the improvements in their telecommunications networks, many major companies have relocated their call centres to New Brunswick to take advantage of a bilingual work force. Hats off to Frank McKenna for what he’s done for the province! The only thing I worry about is that call centre jobs usually pay little more than minimum wage to the workers and, depending on the company and how they treat their staff, these jobs are usually very high-stress and can cause heath problems in many people; but I won’t go into that aspect any further. The standard of living in the province does seem to have improved significantly. The cost of housing there is also much cheaper than in Ontario. If you had a decent job, you could live well.

But just to prove they’re not any better than any other provincial government, they have dumb ideas as well. They one stupid thing I saw was the new super-highway coming south out of Grand Falls, NB. If you miss your exit to Perth-Andover (which I did because TomTom didn’t know it had moved), you CANNOT GET OFF FOR ANOTHER 40 KMS!!! Can you believe that? A 40 kms stretch of highway that you cannot get on or off of. So I went 40 kms out of my way, with gas the price it is!! Granted, it moves traffic through the province quicker, but guess what? It also prevents them from stopping a local businesses – motels, restaurants, gas stations, etc., all of which I saw closed and out of business on the old highway. From Perth-Andover to Florence, NB, no gas, no motels, no restaurants. All out of business because their local government built a super-highway.

In Perth-Andover, we stayed at the really quaint Castle Inn, once the home of the Lewis family. In a room full of antiques with a jacuzzi tub, I was surprised at how little I paid. One of the owners told me that business had not been well since the super highway was built. Since people could travel farther, and faster, they were canceling their reservations. Millions of dollars must have been spent to renovate this beautiful historical home and turn it into an Inn. I’m sure they thank you, Frank McKenna.

We drove down and took the Miramichi River route, up to Miramichi, and then drove down the coast to Shediac. Unfortunately, they were having a festival of some sort and all motels were busy. We ended up driving west 20 kms to Dieppe, which is a suburb of Moncton. There we stayed at a Super 8 hotel, with king sized beds and a jacuzzi tub. Very nice. In the morning, we had breakfast at one of our favourite restaurants, Cora’s, which just happened to be next door. Lucky us! While in Dieppe, I got an oil change at Mr. Lube (I didn’t want to worry about my warranty), and I was extremely impressed with the service and friendliness! I am going to write to the company and mention the person who serviced us, and let them know that I am now going to be a Mr. Lube customer!

Along the way, we felt we had to choose between PEI and Nova Scotia. John wanted to see the Cabot Trail the most, so off to Nova Scotia we went. Stay tuned!

Another Day, Another Frustration

Today was a difficult day! It started with me putting in a cancellation order to Bell Sympatico. While each of my computers keeps getting faster and faster, my service with them gets slower and slower. Everytime I said I wanted to cancel, they would tell me my service was 5Mbps with unlimited bandwidth and they’d talk me into trying to fix the problem. Well, today, after almost 2 years, I got an honest person on the phone, who told me my line would only permit 1.1 Mbps. Well I don’t even think it’s that. I even tried to download their internet checkup software. The screen said it would only take 2 mins on a high speed connection, the download manager said it would take 34 minutes. So, I’m paying hi-speed prices for a connection that’s pretty much the same speed as dial up. Stuff downloads at 8kb/s. I actually remember getting higher speeds on dial up.

So anyway, I took the plunge and switched to Rogers Express service – 7 Mbps. I have limits on my bandwith (60 GB) but I usually only download 2-3 GB per month anyway, so I should be okay. It will be nice to have REAL hi-speed – for the same price! I picked up the modem tonight and set it up. Works great! Now I need to connect the router and setup the rest of my network which will involve moving printers, etc. because I’m now looking a cable connection instead of a phone line. And I don’t watch a lot of TV, so cable locations are limited… for now.

So, that was a bad thing that turned good. The rest of the day was not as kind to me. I tried to install the new VPN software from work, which is mandatory for me since I telecommute a few days each week. I installed it on my laptop first and couldn’t get it to work, so then I installed it on a desktop, where it did work. It emphasized how slow my DSL connection was though – working that way was brutal. Well, thank God that’s almost over.

After all the upset, I got a migraine just before my husband got home. We helped a friend with their DSL setup (and yes, I did give them my opinion of Bell DSL) and then went to Newmarket to get the Rogers modem. We stopped at Wendy’s for dinner – the one on Yonge Street just north of Davis Drive (in case anyone wants to know). ALL of the tables were filthy except for the one that rocked as bad as a circus ride. I remembered why I never go to that Wendy’s anymore, but too late. I did get someone there to wash the tables, but geez!! why did I have to ask?? In the end, I couldn’t eat the burger, I was feeling so nauseous. I hate unpleasant days.

Maybe I’m just tired from a late night last night. I’ve started going to a comedy workshop to learn how to be a standup comic. Ha-ha!! Can you see me being funny????

But that’s a post for another day!

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This work by Suzette Leeming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.