“What brings you to North Sydney, Mr. Farfour?”
Shona McIsaac has the most charismatic voice of any hostess on Island Television. She’s been interviewing celebrity tourists for the daytime lifestyle show “Northside Today” for the last five years on a voluntary basis.
Farfour likes the affable glee in Ms. McIsaac’s Irish eyes. “I’m still waiting for my flight to Beirut, and I’m not supposed to leave Canada for a few weeks,” he says beaming from ear to shiny ear. “I really like the people here in Cape Breton. They remind me a lot of my friends back home in Palestine. Do people call women lassies over here?”
“Oh no. They only use that word in Scotland, not in Nova Scotia. Though there are some people here who still speak Gaelic out in the countryside. I guess the English couldn’t get rid of them all . Haha
But back to you and your exciting trip, Mr. Farfour… I hear that you’ll be traveling with a family of Borat Jews. How in the world did you meet up with them?” She smiles and holds out a large, furry mike.
Farfour has been advised in an email from his lawyers that he ought to keep away from political discussions.
“Well, Ms. McIsaac… (his smile is back) they’re Muslim just like me, and it’ll be a blast praying together on the ferry.
Just then, a faux-wood-paneled Caravan arrives carrying one of the two families of local Borat Jews.
“Farfour! Farfour! How ‘s she goin’? The kids have been right excited knowing we were gonna be traveling with the one and only Farfour!” says the father of the family – Omar Kazhaki. Four years earlier, he was a television writer from Staten Island. Then – like many other Borat Jews – he converted to Islam and changed his name to sound Kazakh after reading about the phenomenon in People magazine while waiting in line at his unemployment office.
“You must be Omar, bye. And these boys must be Abdallah and Marat. And… oh. Aren’t you the sweetest little dear. Julia. is it? I watched your gymnastics routine and your school pageant on Island Television.”
Farfour looks at his swatch. “Hey, it’s almost five o’clock and the ferry leaves in a half hour. Where’s your sister at?”
Omar silently points to another faux-wood-paneled Caravan arriving behind Farfour.
Omar’s older sister Gyuzyal is driving, while her husband, Yerzhan sits in the backseat with their twin sons who are only two and need to be attended to every few minutes.
Farfour walks over to greet them along with Omar and the kids.
Gyuzyal immediately asks: “Hey, Omar. Where’s Nikole? Did she fly up alone on Monday so she doesn’t get sea sickness like she said she was gonna?”
Omar replies: “Yeah, when it’s her own health, my wife will gladly send the rest of the world to hell. But other than that, everything’s nice, al hamdulilah.” He knocks on the faux wood of the van.
They all laugh as a reflex, and then join Farfour and the kids and shuffle into the ferry terminal to buy their tickets and get their vans weighed.
Farfour likes to talk while waiting in line. “So why are you guys going to Newfoundland? Is it your first time there? Are you excited about going to see the new Sacha Baron Cohen Museum of Jewish Humor in Gander?”
Gyuzyal answers: “We decided to look around for somewhere else to live. Seems like the entire Anglosphere called the big witch-hunt on Muslims – it’s no friggin’ place for Borat Jews likes us. The Wasps say we’re radical Muslims. The Jews call us traitors right to our faces. The comedy writer’s guild called us flakes and lice in a full-age advertisement in the New York friggin’ Times. Upstate New York was hell those last years. North Sydney’s nice and everything, but it’s too small for us . We want our kids to get away from all the Hollywood shit here on the mainland.”
Farfour looks at them, “This isn’t really the mainland. But is that why you’re moving to St. John’s? For the culture?”
“Yeah. Dat and for the freedom. They gots the great sense of humor down there, and that friggin’ comedy guild has no influence down there neither,” answers Gyuzyal while changing the twin’s diapers on a folding IKEA Loorstenoll table. “
Down home in Newfoundland, people makes their own jokes, and hopefully there, our ethnic group won’t always be the friggin’ butt.”
“Hey, byes!” shouts enthusiastic Yerzhan as he gets back with their tickets. “Youse is gonna be taking the HMS Demi Moore that leaves in two hours so we got time to do some last-minute shopping at the Galilee Shopping Centre. More, more, more! Haha!”
Farfour grabs Yerzhan by the collar and speaks softly but with some force: “We’re not going to that mall. We’re getting on the boat. We don’t have time for More, more, more. Do I make myself clear?”
The younger children are frightened by Farfour’s sudden change of mood and aggressive eyes. But then their mom talks to them about the evils of shopping and gives them each a Quran-themed pacifier.
After Farfour finally sets a wrinkled Yerzhan back onto the floor, the whole gang gets onto the ratpack-dedicated ship and heads off to Newfoundland.