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Angels, Beauty, and Inhumanity

Our group arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia late Sunday night. My birthday. Some hadn’t eaten on the flight. Shelly, our tour guide, had checked ahead and found a McDonald’s open ’til 11. Most other places were already closed or out of power due to Hurricane Fiona, which hit Halifax two days before our arrival.

Our bus driver, Bill, pulled off the highway to go to McDonald’s. As Shelly got to the door at 10 pm, she found the lobby locked. Someone inside came to the door and Shelly told them they’d said they were open ’til 11. They were–but only through the drive-through. Imagine getting a big touring bus through – into – breaking – the drive-through!

Frank VanderZwan, our wonderful tour leader, and a group stood around the front of McDonald’s, talking about what to do. A young local couple overheard them.

“Give me your orders. I’ll go through the drive-through and pick them up for you,” said Adrian. Note: this was an order for 26 people!

The Bible talks about angels in our midst. Sure seemed to us that Adrian and his partner were angels that night. They ordered and picked up the food, then didn’t want to accept payment for it, although Frank insisted. Their kindness made our weary, hungry travelers’ day!

What a great start to our tour of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and to the lovely people we met there. As we toured we saw lots of downed trees from the hurricane, and know that other areas were hit much harder–areas we had to avoid. Shelly worked hard every day to reschedule our itineraries based on safety and availability of power. She found wonderful and interesting alternatives to our planned itinerary.

According to, there were still 8000 without power in Nova Scotia and PEI two weeks after the hurricane (it’s now three weeks out).

But we had some highlights showing both God’s immense creation as well as man’s inhumanity to man.

The Hopewell Rocks are part of the Bay of Fundy, which has among the highest tides in the world. In the picture on the right I am looking down from the stairs leading to the ocean floor below. You can see the size of the rocks by the little humanoids walking around. We had to arrive early enough to get onto the sand before high tide, when that ocean floor is covered with water – a rise of 46 feet! One of the highest tides in the world.

If I recall correctly, the water rises to about the middle of the rock on the left. It fully fills the hole in the center rock. Notice the ‘bear’ on the right!

Most of us walked down the 99 steps (curiously, it’s 101 going up!) to listen to our guide tell about this phenomenon.

Fortunately, we didn’t have to climb back up, but walked along the ocean floor to a path leading to another parking lot where we met the bus.

Memorial church at Acadian Museum

We also visited the Acadian Museum, which showed how the Acadians (descendants of 17th and 18th century French settlers in parts of Canada) were mistreated. They were ethnically, geographically and administratively different from the other French colonies as well as what is now modern-day Quebec. Consequently, the Acadians developed a distinct history and culture. During the French and Indian War, the British suspected the Acadians of supporting France, although most remained neutral.

As a result, about 11,500 Acadians from the region were forcefully deported fromt he maritime region. About one third perished from disease and drowning. Most were deported to various British American colonies and placed into forced labor or servitude. It’s a tragic part of Canadian history and Canada is working to make reparations.

Our trip was educational in more ways than we expected. We were grateful for our tour leader, guide, driver, and local guides. Seems travel opens our eyes in new ways to things we may have been unaware of before.

What’s a memory from a trip you’ve taken that has stayed with you? Why? I’d love to hear.

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