There's something a little odd about some of the visitors we have from our sister provinces. Around this time of the year We'll be at a gas pump throwing our wallet into the gas tank, or perhaps at a Horton's feeding the addiction - and then we hear it... "Lard tunderin' Geeze ol Man". It is distinctive and immediately identifiable: Tourists from the Mainland.
Considering the great deal of natural beauty and uniqueness of this province it is unfortunate that most tourists do not get that experience. We speak about how areas of the province get neglected in tourism promotional material but sadly more tourists visit George Street than Gros Morne. Perhaps there is a little bit of appeal to the lowest common denominator when it comes to marketing the province. A visitor can travel coastal Labrador, or fish The Big Land for the best Lake Trout and Char in the world. They can do battle with the great Atlantic Salmon on the Exploits, Gander and Humber Rivers. They can visit fiords, and follow the footsteps of Maritime Archaic, Beothuk Indians, and Dorset Eskimo. They can surround their boots with living waters of capelin. Icebirds, whales, and seabirds, roughed coasts and friendly people raising their voices in song. They can do all of this and more; but most do not.
I'm speaking of that particular breed of tourist who treat the experience like they were sent here on a dare. They only hope to take from the experience a story of how inferior the Newfoundland and Labradorian is. Fortunately they represent a small few but when you find one you'll know it. He will be the one teasing the waitress by ordering cod lips, or squid burgers. He'll be speaking in a very poorly executed Newfoundland and Labrador dialect and possibly accompanied by a Beavis and Butthead counterpart chuckling like an old Evinrude outboard.
Still not sure if you've meet one? They are commonly seen taking each others photos in front of the sign pointing the way to Dildo, or having their photo taken dry-humping the silver ladies in front of the St. John's convention Centre. They are the ones who undergo the now infamous Screech-in and actually belief it entitles them to the claim of being an honorary Newfoundland and Labradorian; entitled to use the term Newfie, if only in jest.
From my own experience this particular brand of visitor comes from other parts of the dominion. I have spoken to Europeans and Americans who have none of these preconceptions and biases. Ah well, all in good fun I guess. For the record "Dildo" is the wooden pegs used to keep the oars of a dory in place, and the ladies hunched over in front of the Convention Centre is a statue of respect to the women who helped to build this land. And just between you and I... the dialect is entirely fabricated, we only speak like that when mainlanders are around. It's all part of the master plan, "Confuse and Conquer", our version of "Shock and Awe".
So welcome fellow Canadians to Newfoundland and Labrador! Lard Tunterin' Geeze Cocky I'll see ya on Garge Street, we'll have a Swally of Screech.