Friday, December 9, 2016

Saint John, NB

--Sorry for the delay in getting this posted! I had it mostly finished in November but had to stop to work on an assignment and only remembered I never published it until today!--

The day began with us all struggling to wake up to our stupidly early alarm clocks. But we rallied and made it to the hotel breakfast by 8:30. The hotel's manager is Korean and he was excited to talk to Christine about things and events going on back in South Korea. I was able to pick up a couple words here and there, but sadly I've lost a lot of my ability with the language in the two years since my last Korean class.

After our conversation and breakfast, we left the hotel by 9 and headed for downtown Saint John. I attempted to parallel park for about two minutes before giving up and heading for the safety of a parking garage (which turned out to be the better plan since we didn't leave until the evening and would have had to worry about feeding in quarters all day long had we parked on the street).

We then walked to the historic (and happily indoors) City Market. Its been around since the 1830's and today hosts a number of food and craft vendors. It reminded me a bit of a small-scale Canton (a super fun shopping adventure in Texas) and I roamed the booths looking for some truly unique souvenirs (success!).

A view of the City Market, open year round!

Following our time at the market we perused the downtown area. We passed the King's Square Park that had a lovely memorial to fallen soldiers, still decorated with many red poppies in honor of Remembrance Day. We also looked in on some of the city's old churches (My friend Wakana has a keen interest in their architecture) and admired their unique and beautiful designs. In our walk, we also stumbled upon the old Loyalist House. Though usually open for tours, it was closed for the holiday weekend. Still, it was fascinating to see a structure that housed some of America's (and Canada's) first citizens.

Outside view of the Loyalist House

Next, we walked back to the Market Square. This is different from the City Market and houses many stores, restaurants and the New Brunswick Museum. We shopped for a while then had a quick lunch at Grannan's Seafood Restaurant where I had the fish 'n chips but wished I'd ordered the lobster rolls (my friend, Ruby, got them and they looked delicious).

It also had this adorable library we browsed through. I was irrationally tempted to sign up for a library card.

The last half of our day was then spent in the New Brunswick Museum. The facility houses numerous and diverse exhibits and I highly recommend it if you're ever in Saint John, NB. The first floor holds a display about the history of Saint John, from its founding to the present as well as an exhibit on the history of the various ship and seafaring exhibitions launched from NB. The second floor has probably the most popular of all the exhibits, the Hall of Great Whales. A number of whale skeletons are on display (including a 13 meter Right whale skeleton) as well as information about the historic whaling market and the more recent tourism market based around the animal.

There's also an immense exhibit that takes you through the many ages of geological time, fossils showcased along the way. Another room houses a display on the history of Nursing in Canada (made me think of a good family friend!). A temporary display detailed the culture of death and funerals in Canada, varying between cultures and religions (little creepy but very interesting). There's also a space entirely devoted to kids where they can be creative and get personally involved with the science and history of the museum. Finally, the third floor houses Canadian and international art. All in all, we spent about 3 hours at the museum but I could go back and spend another day, no problem!

Our day ended with another stroll through downtown Saint John. We stopped at a Mexican restaurant, Taco Pica's where I ordered the chimichangas (in honor of grandma's favorite dish!). All of my friends, being from East Asian countries, have little experience with Mexican cuisine, so I tried to explain some of the dishes they were considering ordering...I don't know how helpful I was but we all enjoyed our meals immensely (though I really missed the US tradition of free chips and salsa. I almost didn't know what to do with all that time between ordering and getting the meal that would normally be devoted to chips)!

A picture with this moose was inevitable after we stumbled upon him

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