Travel: Beam me down Scotty

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The Independent Travel
This week's random co-ordinates chosen by the computer are:

49 30' N 56 57' W

FIRST REACTION

It's really foggy, there's a distant roaring noise, and a faint but unmistakable fishy whiff.

COUNTRY AND REGION

I'm 10 km north of Main Topsail Mountain on the island of Newfoundland (pronounced "new-fun-LAND") in eastern Canada.

NATURE OF THE TERRAIN

Standing on top of a hill, all around is rugged, weather-beaten, rolling plateau. Large bare rock-strewn regions are broken only by pine forests and the odd lake and river. I think I can make out a road in the distance.

ALTITUDE

About 725m.

POSSIBLE HAZARDS

Being trampled by stampeding caribou and being an involuntary blood donor to swarms of insatiable blackflies and mosquitoes.

USEFUL LANGUAGES

The people, who are mainly of Irish and English origin, speak English with distinct lilting inflections and some unusual slang such as "screech" (rum) and "shooneen" (coward).

TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER

Old friend and golf partner Jean Chretien.

LIKELY WEATHER CONDITIONS

Wet. Rain, fog, snow, hail and just about any other kind of precipitation you care to mention. The influences of prevailing southerly winds and the ocean help ensure that the island's weather is typically mild and moist all year round.

REASONS FOR HANGING AROUND

To walk the streets of St John's - the oldest city in North America; enjoy traditional Celtic music and satirical theatre at the folk festivals; hike the fjords and checkout the wildlife in the Gros Morne National Park, and visit a 1,000-year-old Viking settlement.

GETTING THE HELL OUT OF THERE

Easy. If you can't catch and ride a caribou, simply walk the 15 km to the Trans-Canada Highway and hitch a lift in a huge American camping wagon to the airport in St John's.

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