July 4, 2010
Before you start scrolling down to see a picture of our body art, perhaps we should familiarize you with another definition of the word tattoo—"a display of military exercises offered as evening entertainment." No needles involved, and quite the opposite of a painful experience, our three and a half hours at The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo was a perfect way to celebrate July Fourth away from home.
The Nova Scotia Tattoo is the world's largest annual indoor show, featuring over 2,000 international performers. In addition to Mounties and military drill teams and bands, there are gymnasts, acrobats, singers, clowns, and dancers. This year, the Tattoo celebrates the Canadian Navy's hundred year anniversary, so there are lots of numbers with a nautical theme.
It is hard to pick a favorite act, but we particularly enjoyed a team of precision bicyclists—they piled more people on a bicycle than we believed was humanly possible. Here is a photo of their dramatic unicycle parade. Just when we thought the largest possible unicycle had joined the group, they added another. . . and another.
There were bagpipers, fife and drum bands, marching bands, and a navy demonstration team that did precision maneuvers with ladders. A German military team did some amazing gun juggling. We watched an Army and a Navy team compete on an obstacle course. Civilians did traditional jigs and step dances, and later tap danced dressed like sailors. In the finale, all the performers took the floor, all the musicians played and the choirs sang—over 500 voices and instruments strong. They played both the
The show began at 2:30 and ended at 6 p.m., with just one intermission. We wouldn't have believed that we could sit through a program that long without being bored, until we actually did it. We wouldn't cut a thing.
Another title for today's blog could be "Pageantry and Tragedy."
That is because in the morning we visited the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, which seems dedicated to documenting marine disasters. With over 10,000 shipwrecks off the
The museum's claim to fame is "the world's largest collection of wooden artifacts from the Titanic." The reason it has this large collection is that when the Titanic sank, the Carpathia famously picked up her survivors, but the sad task of collecting the dead was left to the transatlantic cable repair ships of
Another tragic disaster the museum documents is the Halifax Explosion of 1917. On December 6, 1917, the French ship Mont Blanc was in Halifax Harbor loaded with TNT, other explosives and benzene waiting to convoy to Europe in support of the War effort when the Imo collided with her. A fire began, quickly spread, and when it got to the cargo it generated the biggest man-made explosion in world history at the time, an explosion only surpassed since then by the atomic bombs dropped on
We were touched most by a disaster caused by intentional acts, rather than an accident, which makes it all the more tragic. We learned that half of
I wish I could close this little summary of the museum on a bright spot, but there are precious few of them, because this museum understands that we are captivated by catastrophe at sea, and it feeds us an all you can eat feast of it. At least we are living on land now—if we had visited the museum during our years living afloat, I would be feeling plenty of trepidation about getting around the coast of