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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

Not The Usual Pesach

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

The Samuels are known for our exotic Pesach trips. Hawaii, Dubai, Costa Rica, Mount Zion National Park in an RV, West Virginia in cabins. We do not go on the organized retreats. Gavin’s quote, “Why would I pay money to hear someone complain why the food was better last year?”

Pesach is our annual escape…This year we were going to have a family reunion with my brother in Australia. My parents and younger brother were going to come from South Africa. It’s been a very long time since we all were together. I pulled out, as it was just too hard to go now with work commitments – we would have had to take a 21 hour flight to a different time zone, and would have been away for two weeks. So on short notice, we needed plan B.

Nova Scotia, the Cabott Trail, was on our too do list. We could use frequent flyer miles and it was an easy commute, same time zone, etc. We knew we would be sacrificing a warm Pesach but cabins, fireplaces, bbq’s and remote hiking trails have their own appeal.

We googled Chabad in Halifax and booked seders. We love checking out Jewish communities and have had Shabbat in Chabad Bangkok, Shanghai and many far out places. After the first two days, the plan is we would leave for the mountains.

We had seven bags of luggage and lots of food. The plane was a small commuter jet and it was delayed because the plane was too heavy (thanks Samuels family) and they had to off loading bags in favor of increased fuel capacity as they were expecting turbulent weather conditions in Halifax. And yes turbulent it was…. I held the air sick bag close. Caily giggled in delight at each bounce.

The customs officer nearly choked when we declared 12 bottles of wine (limit 4) and meat and dairy products. We were whisked off for inspection. Nothing was taken away and they did not even charge us duty on the wine. Victory–we had all our food.

Gavin and I were each pushing a luggage cart and Meron was pushing Caily in the stroller. We had to cross the road to the Avis car hire. There was such a strong wind tunnel, it toppled the stroller, knocked Meron off his feet and sent all our jackets resting on the stroller flying in the air to land in puddles. Welcome to Halifax.

Gavin booked us at the Westin using points and they had indicated we could upgrade the room to a suite on arrival. Haha, no rooms available. Just a very, very, very small hotel room. Even the bellman was perplexed at how five people and all the bags could be accommodated. Guess what? There was a major convention in town and NO rooms available. I was ready to cry when Slovie, my teacher and mentors words came to me. I could hear her asking, “What message are we teaching our kids?” With a brave face, we did our best to unpack. Temira and Meron were such good sports, trying to console us that it could be worse–we could have to sleep in the rain. I spoke to three separate managers and finally one found us a suite.

The next day we packed up, moved and unpacked. There was a knock on the door and the manager came to tell us there was a big confusion and we cannot stay in the room. The best he could do was two connecting rooms. He also offered to provide our entire stay on the house. So we packed and unpacked again.

TG it was sunny on Monday and we took a beautiful drive, had great Seders and enjoyed exploring the Halifax waterfront parks and historical areas. The kids loved the Maritime museum with the Titanic exhibit. Halifax was the closest city and rescue point for the Titanic. The immigration museum was very moving. We also enjoyed the Jewish community. So far so good….just not your usual style vacation…

Metroimmas, are you having an interesting/unexpected Pesach so far? Share your adventures here…

Originally published: April 21, 2011


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