In case of emergency dial 1-8, there’s no 9-1-1 in Saint Pierre. This morning we met our friend Joël for a private tour of the local fire hall, the only one on the island. We’d met Joël playing guitar beside his wife’s organic grocery shop on Saturday. He’s in a country band and had sung us something he’d written. Strangely, the only word we really understood was ‘cowboy.’ Fitting for us since we’re missing the Calgary Stampede.
And back to the fire hall. This station has the usual stuff, fire trucks, hoses, fireproof clothing, but these guys were most proud of two things. The big water pump that pumps 1000 gallons per minute, compatible with both saltwater and freshwater. And their old 1959 Ford fire truck, the only working fire truck of that year left in North America. It was actually retired last year, but it’s still considered a viable backup.
We only managed to shoot two models today, but that’s okay because one of them bought us ice cream. We thought we’d lined up a seasoned fisherman for our first shoot, but something must have been lost in translation because there was nobody home. Onward.
Our new ‘first’ model of the day was a runner named Gaston. He started running at 45 and is now in his 70s. From what we can tell, age isn’t slowing him down at all. We even saw him take stairs two at a time. He was very animated with lots of stories to share and spoke English well, which made the shoot fun and easy. We were even invited back for a drink later and upon our arrival back to Gaston’s we found this note on the door.
Another gem we had the opportunity of photographing today was a local artist named Patrick. Stamps are a big deal here, in fact they’re world famous for stamps, and many local artists have been commissioned to create them including Patrick and his daughter. Patrick has been creating illustrations for Saint Pierre and Miquelon stamps for over 25 years. His studio is an artists dream and to think, he just does this as a hobby. We were extremely fortunate to have met this man and seen some original drawings from his stamps. Upon our departure, Patrick generously gave us each a signed copy of his book, which is a history of his stamp art.
This is Saint Pierre hospitality. It seems to be everywhere, across the board. From the ladies at the tourist shop bending over backwards to organize our travels to the restaurant that gave us takeout in their personal Tupperware.
Demain nous partons pour Miquelon.