New Mexican Tourists

FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, October 18, 2001


It is a bit late in the season to see tourists, though we have been awash in hunters from all over the continent for the past two weeks, most of the travelers have long since settled in back home for the fall and winter. This morning I spotted this modest motor home on the Tisdale Mall parking lot and stopped to take a picture of it and its license plate.




The darkened windows prevented me from seeing the couple were actually having breakfast only feet away from me and the lady of the camper came out to talk to me as they had seen this curious guy photographing their motor home.




As you can see I didn't get the picture of the whole motor home as we engaged in a conversation and she invited me in to talk to her and her husband. Actually there were four travelers in the party but two of them, a red retriever and a shepherd cross are of the four legged woof woof variety. The older red retriever likes to travel but prefers to sleep beneath the table when the campers moving while the younger shepherd cross insists on riding in the front passenger seat in order to better observe the world and comment on passing crows, deer and the occasional coyote that cross their path.




The couple had made their way up through the Dakotas with Saskatchewan as their destination and have visited Moose Jaw and Saskatoon but for them most of their visit to the province has focused on the small towns and villages. They explained that they have found the folks so friendly and helpful that it just makes sense to make each night's stay in a small town or village.




The lady is an accomplished photographer and former elementary school teacher and she shared with me some of the remarkable images she had captured on this trip including some roaming buffalo in a US park but the highlight of their trip so far was a visit to the Ukrainian church in Saskatoon that serves both as a place of worship but also as a repository of Saskatchewan Ukrainian Greek Catholic heritage museum. Her photographs were stunning and clearly this culture from the old world had captured her interest.




Among her pictures was a smiling Moose Jaw policeman who was taking up a collection in the North Mall on behalf of New York police who had suffered such an enormous loss September 11.




From Tisdale their adventure will take them to Hudson Bay then into Manitoba, either North to the Interlake region or South to Dauphin and then back to the border. They were especially concerned about border crossings and had decided that it was best to cross only into North Dakota and that they best place to do that would be at the Peace Garden Park in South Western Manitoba, directly South of Brandon.




He had grown up in Pennsylvania while she was from New Mexico. They explained their anxiety about the recent turn of events in their land and how much their country has changed with people moving to the United States. For them, 80% of their neighbours are Spanish speaking and she explained that she herself was fluent in Spanish. She told me that the culture of the new comers brought with it many difficulties as women and children seem to adapt easily to American life but the men find it harder and seem to experience a lot of alcohol problems. She also explained that those who have lived in the US for more than a decade are adamant about being referred to as "Hispanic" and considered the term "Mexican" as a term of derision




But they were enjoying Canada, soaking up the local highlights of the communities they visited and looked forward to seeing the Northwestern portion of Manitoba.