Labrador City sparkles!
Seriously. There is so much iron ore dust covering everything that the ground, benches, sidewalks, and even the beach all sparkle. It's amazing. No wonder everyone is in a good mood around her. Who wouldn't when you live in a glittering city.
I had a few hours to kill before I was getting moved along to the airport, and since I was out of my room, I went for a wander down to the lake, then found a park to sit in and soak up the sun, and finally I went to Subway to get some food stuffs.
This last thing turned out to be a very bad idea.
So there I was sitting in the airport, playing my 3DS when I realize - I forgot to take travel medication. Crap! It was too late to put on the anti nausea patch. It would have kicked in after I had already landed. So I took two herbal Gravol pills and hoped for the best.
I got up quickly grabbed my bag and headed for the door. Except they were having trouble mounting the stairs on the plane - so I had to wait, standing in the aisle, ready to hurl at a moment's notice.
Finally I got outside, but my stomach didn't really care by this point. I went into the terminal (which had the most adorable tiny luggage carousel).
My bags came right as Pam Harris and her husband came over to say hi. Then I was off in their truck to Churchill Falls - a ten minute drive away. Mr Harris told me all about the Churchill Falls hydro electric plant. It was really interesting. I wanted to tell him that, but I was afraid to open my mouth in case I barfed.
I learned that Churchill Falls is the 8th largest hydroelectric producer in the world. That if you put all the reservoirs together, they make an area the size of New Brunswick. He told me how they pump the water down a thousand foot shaft, where it hits the turbines. The water is then fed back into the river. (Sadly, due to my schedule I wasn't able to take a tour of the plant. That would have been cool to see).
He also told me that they were adding a new section soon and once that was complete, Churchill Falls will be the second largest Hydroelectric project second only to one in China. Mr. Harris is super enthusiastic about his work.
So we finally arrived at the building that makes up the town. The town itself is owned by Nalcor. Every building, even the church, school, daycare, library, post office, and grocery story is owned by the company. The houses all look about the same and are rented out to the employees of Nalcor for $60.00 a month, utilities included. The main part of the town is all contained in one building (I did get a tour of that and took lots of video for my documentary I'll make when I get back home). The hotel, library, school, swimming pool, curling rink, post office, gymnasium, restaurant, bar, and grocery store are all in this one building. This is a good thing because in the winter (all 7 months of it) the weather can get down to -55. Pam told me what they make up for in housing the lose out on in groceries. It costs a lot to ship anything out here, and groceries are no exception.
She also told me how once you retire from working for Nalcor, you have to leave the town. So even if you grew up there, got a job right out of high school (which a lot of kids do since the company is really keen on giving the kids jobs), you would still have to go to live someplace else once you were too old to work. The place also clears out in the summer as the employees get one month of holidays and they take the kids and go to stay with relatives on the island. The place evidently becomes a ghost town. Not that I blame them - the flies are so bad the kids have to play in netted outfits. This was why they were so eager to go outside while I was there. It's warm and there aren't any bugs yet.
Anyway, back to my tale. We went into the big building and headed straight for the library to meet Christina Young - the head librarian. I chatted and smiled and tried to hold it together, even though my stomach was churning. Finally we were off to the hotel (down the hall) to check in. Pam helped me to my door. I shuffled my bags in side, and once I was sure I was alone I raced for the toilet and got to see my lunch all over again. Then I lay down for a couple of hours. Finally I felt good enough to head over to the restaurant (down the stairs and to the right).
Dinner was great (ribs and mash potatoes, with veggies). My stomach still hated me so I didn't finish but I got the rest wrapped up for later and ate it somewhere around 11:00 at night.
I had two groups. The first one was made of grade seven and a high school writing class. Because they were taught at a higher level, I decided to do my action scene class with them.
We had a blast creating an action packed scenario involving a girl from Jupiter, the last of her kind, having to battle an Italian evil villain. Jupiter girl wanted peace, the villain wanted the world! In the end justice prevailed, but it was pretty touch and go for a bit - especially when Jupiter girl was almost dissected by the villain as he attempted to use her DNA to create an army of Jupiter girls.
We talked about the ins and outs of writing a good action scene, such as how to very sentence lengths, how the scene is really like a regular story, just told on a smaller scale, and how one needs to be specific when describing the action (but with out slowing the pacing).
One of the kids from that group is working on her third novel. They have some really amazing teachers at this school and all the kids work on a pretty advanced level.
During the one hour break between sessions, Pam took me on a tour of the building. It was quite the maze. It's amazing how much you can pack into one building! I took mostly video but here are some pictures.
You know it's a good story when there's a military coup!
Pam told me a funny story about a lady who lived in one of the apartment buildings. She was baking bread and someone had left the front door open. A bear decided to let itself in to get the bread. She screamed of course, which startled the bear who then leaped out the window. There are bear traps around the community though and, like I said, lots of security including the wildlife officers.
Another cool thing. The lady at the counter, Shirley, wrote a little note on each of my tickets - "Have a great flight!" Churchill Falls is a really cool place.
I was still worried about flying because I was afraid of getting sick again. I had my motion sickness patch and I took some herbal Gravol, but still. I was worried - and my worry was making me nauseous. Not a good way to start.
I arrived a Goose Bay safe and sound. It is a much bigger airport. It has a restaurant in it, a tourist shop, and a few other things. The security guy called me a cab and I waited outside in the rain. But no cab came. Just when I was about to go inside and see if he could call again, one showed up on a whim. Lucky for me. I was getting kind of cold.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I get to visit two schools and Liz Dawson (my handler) is even taking me to her house for a traditional Labradorian lunch! I can't wait!
I would like to send out a great big thanks to Christine Young and Pam Harris (and her husband). You made my visit to Churchill Falls so rich and amazing!
And now it's just about midnight. Time to hit the hay. I have a lot to do tomorrow. But I'll leave you with on last ridiculous picture for your entertainment.