Background to my trip:
Here I am. Literally flying high, I mean I’m at 32000 feet from the ground now, in my PIA flight to Toronto. Then after a four-hour stop I’ll be taken to Halifax. My last trip in August 2019 was to help my daughter and son-in-law welcome their daughter Nyra into this world. It was a wonderful trip and I’m sure many of my old website and Instagram followers enjoyed the trip. You too can enjoy them ‘Islamabad to Halifax’ here and ‘Life in Halifax and now going to Calgary’ here. This is my first blog post about Halifax. Here I am now during this thirteen-hour flight today. I thought I better make the most of it now.
Strong invitation from Canada:
Then, Nadiya got after me to go again to visit her before the expiry of my Canadian Visa. When I was ill she had stayed four months with me in Islamabad with her little toddler.
That little baby Nyra is now three-and-a-half years old, who constantly chats in Urdu, English and gibberish, (we often have video chats). She is looking out for me, and we have plans of knitting and crocheting clothes for her favorite toys, especially Minnie Mouse.
On checking, we found the flight rates were flying higher than the flights! Though, I can afford it, but Nadiya insisted on paying at least half the fare, then Waliya insisted on upgrading the tickets to Executive Class, which was another huge jump. So, I traveled in a grand style. Starting from the VIP lounge at Islamabad airport.
Halifax past stories:
There are three major historical events which took place in or near Halifax, making it known for these. Otherwise, not many people know anything about Halifax.
Nearest point for Titanic:
Anyhow, as I look forward to being in Halifax I can’t help but remember how the city is known for the fact that it was the nearest port – 500 miles – from Titanic the sinking ill-fated ship. Halifax and New York were the two nearest cities. So, the dead bodies were mostly brought to Halifax for burial. The injured and living were taken to New York which had good hospitals for those times.
So, as you drive around the city you see graveyards in Halifax with boards marking it as having the dead bodies from Titanic. As in their lifetimes, even in their dead form there was a class difference seen in the manner in which they were brought and buried. The richer class dead came in better coffins and more decorated graves, while the ‘poorer’ ones from the lower decks arrived in body bags and ended up in humble graves. Such is life. I don’t think we have changed much. So this happened on April 14th and 15th 1912, in North Atlantic ocean, on way to New York.
Explosion tragedy in Halifax harbor:
The second was the explosion which took place in Halifax. It happened on December 6th, 1919. When a Frensh ship was passing through the strait which is located in the harbor at the narrowest part. Due to this incident, it is now marked with three striped towers to commemorate the tragic incident that took place so long ago, to caution other ships to be more careful.
On that ill-fated day two ships coming from opposite sides were crossing each other; Some-how they moved too close to each other, so that they brushed their one side with the other. It might not have been a major tragedy but the fact that one of them was fully loaded with dynamite and ammunitions being taken for the First World War, to Europe. The resulting sparks ignited the ammunition and there was a huge explosion. It was so huge that the people standing on the sides staring at what was happening got hit by flying sparks of the ammunition. Around two thousand people died on the spot, (1792 confirmed dead,) and around five hundred were blinded by the great fire that erupted.
The people on the ship were French, and were trying to shout and tell the people on the shores to move away, but the English-speaking locals couldn’t understand what was being said in French. Many people in Halifax became blind and the nearby bridge would have bells on it to help the many blind people cross it safely. on their way to Dartmouth, the older city.
There is a museum with photographs of this incident that played havoc in this small port.
Swissair crash in 1998:
As if those two tragedies weren’t enough, a third one happened in modern times near Peggy’s Cove, 8 miles short of the shores. A Swissair plane carry 224 passengers crashed, killing all aboard. There is a memorial for them on the nearest shore on way to Peggy’s Cove.
As I’m ready to land at the Toronto airport, I’m really looking forward to being in Halifax.
Today this city of Halifax is beautiful like a jewel, welcoming the sailors coming from Europe and specially England. It houses the oldest building the province House built over two hundred years ago. Nadiya and I had been shown this building by Peter who worked there. I did share pics of it in one of my posts.
People of Halifax:
The people of Halifax are simple folks who are good souls unaffected by the over-smart, controlling and manipulative characters found mostly in the larger capitalist cities of the world. Salespersons in shops will always give you their honest opinion about whatever you ask. Usually, they will give you a suggestion or advice which maybe contrary to interests of the place, but of interest to you. They will give you time and attention, and are always there for you with a ready smile.
When we arrived, it was pretty crazy there.
Luckily, I did find both my suitcases, and my atm card worked too, so I was all set for Halifax in the West Jet plane, sitting next to a Canadian police officer.
I was hurriedly, made to close the zip of my huge jacket which Waliya had made me take for the trip. Yes, it was freezing cold outside the airport as we got into the car and drove off to their apartment.
Haaris and I loved the early morning Sehri breakfasts which invariably ended up with us chatting till the early hours. The wholesome iftaris were also great and they assured me that the laden table was only due to my presence! I learnt from Haaris to say the Maghrib prayer right after a bite of a date, and then to come and feast on the food. (I usually have the whole meal before the prayer.) I found this felt more comfortable.
Eid came within a couple of weeks:
Stay blessed my dear Readers, there is lots more to come!