robertisenberg

Canadian Outback: 4

In Uncategorized on July 25, 2010 at 1:23 am

It’s unfair to say that “nobody” lives in Labrador. But compared to its southern neighbors, Labrador is practically empty: The province (which is governed by Newfoundland) is over twice as large as Pennsylvania. Now, imagine driving the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in all its stultifying boredom, except that it’s twice as long. Meanwhile, only about 24,000 people live in Labrador. This is almost the exact population of Squirrel Hill, an average-sized neighborhood in Pittsburgh.

And even fewer people are from Labrador. Many are immigrant or seasonal workers, who spray pesticides or fly helicopters or work on the gas-lines. Others are Innu — a Native American tribe — and they live farther north and only come down to Goose Bay for errands.

Since most of the land is undeveloped, we passed hundreds of miles of evergreen forest. Every time we stopped — mostly to change busted tires — we were swarmed by black flies. If you’ve never seen a black fly, imagine a gnat or a fruit-fly that can bite through your clothes. Now imagine several hundred of these circling your head, crawling into your head, getting sucked up your nose, crushing on your lip. It’s no wonder that few people live in Labrador: Within hours, any settler would go bat-shit insane.

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