June 9, 2010

I have just arrived back in Prince Edward Island, after a circuitous route winding from Tokyo to Detroit, then Halifax. It was an “air miles” flight, which basically means that the airline can route you through Turkmenistan if it suits their purposes. My “Turkmenistan” was the fabled Motor City, which on short inspection appeared more lively than I would have expected, given the news reports on the dismal state of the automotive industry. The airport parking lot was chock full of late model cars, mostly American, and the couple of restaurants and stores that I visited seemed as crowded as their counterparts in New York, LA, or Tokyo for that matter.

Due to a scheduling conflict, my flight arrived in Detroit at about 5pm, and my outbound to Halifax left at 5:30. Naturally the first flight arrived late and (equally naturally) the second one departed right on time, so I got to spend the night in lovely Inkster, MI, adjacent to Detroit’s Metro Airport. Great hotel, though; I was upgraded to a suite, and it was all quite comfy, particularly after fourteen hours in an economy class airliner seat.

The following day, I arrived in Halifax, where my sister had left her pickup truck at the airport for me. My own cars are rather smaller than a full-size Chevy pickup, so much so that one of them would likely fit in the bed of the truck. So it was with some trepidation that I navigated out onto Nova Scotia Highway 102, driving on the right hand side of the road for the first time in nine months, and in a vehicle of Brobdignagian proportions as well. No worries, though; it all went very smoothly, and I traversed the forty-odd miles to her house in less than an hour, including a brief stop at a Taco Bell for a burrito, my first taste of Mexican (-ish) food in quite some time.

My sis took me to the PEI ferry shortly thereafter, and some friends picked me up at the Wood Islands terminal. The house was pretty much intact after the long Canadian winter, thanks to the ministrations of the same friends who picked me up, Scott and Marina MacLeod. The cars were both comatose, however, and it took a daylong hookup to the battery charger to get the Civic functional once again. The Mini is still asleep in the garage, but I plan to get it going directly. Its battery is buried somewhere under the back seat, so I’m told (I have had it for several years and have never once laid eyes on the battery), so I’ll have to do a bit of research on how to get it going after a long lay-up.

PEI is as gorgeous as I remember it. Purple lupins bloom alongside every rural highway, freshly painted lobster boats ply Cardigan bay in the early morning mist, and geometric furrows of red soil preview the onset of the planting season. It is chilly here by Tokyo standards, about 65 degrees in the daytime, and perhaps ten degrees cooler at night. That’s fine by me, though; it was pushing ninety degrees in crowded Tokyo when I left, and humid as well. This feels positively civilized by comparison.

A quick note: pics will follow as soon as possible, but my home internet service is defiant at the moment. More news on that as it develops.