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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Traveling in Canada

Traveling to another country is always an adventure. There are new cultures, customs and experiences that are different from your own, and that can be very exciting.  It can also be an eye opening experience. It may come as a surprise, as it did to me, that some of these backward countries have extremely low standards for how they treat American guests of honor into their humble country, at least, much lower than I had expected.

I expected to be greeted with a kind smile, a warm hello, and a pair of fluffy white slippers and the terry robe to match. What did I get instead? The customs agent humorlessly telling me that they didn’t supply the pens with which to fill out the customs forms, and if I didn’t find a pen, I would be stuck there in the terminal; a fate worse then hell itself. Once I found a pen (given to me by a very nice American named Warren), I was able to get it filled out and turned in. Again, without a smile, the border guard, I guess, asked me exactly what I was doing Canada, then didn't wait for my answer before stamping my passport and sending me on my way. You know what, Mr. Guard? It's nice when people actually listen and care how you are, so I take back my "have a nice day."

As an American, I often feel the need to impart my infinite wisdom onto the poor citizens of whatever community I visit. This week, I am visiting Toronto, Canada. I feel it is my civic duty to make sure that they stop serving their Freedom Fries without fry sauce (a delicious mixture of ketchup and mayonnaise) or that they pronounce words like “about” and “sorry” the right way. It just feels off, here, like the bizarro world. Gas here is $1.40, which I thought was amazing, until I found out that it was for a litre. And seeing a speed limit of 60 in a school zone was entertaining, but again, kilometers. Who are these pretentious Canucks trying to fool, anyhow? I half expected my driver to suddenly merge onto the left side of the road!

I still can’t shake the feeling that I traded my hard earned American dollars for monopoly money at the Currency Exchange station. And not even the number of money I gave them! I coughed up a hundred bucks, and what do I get handed back? I fist full of colorful dollars with some old lady on them, all of which look like someone had printed them out at home. I was a little put off by the colors, and then I counted it. 79 bucks?! I handed you $100! You trying to screw me?! One time, a few years ago, I got handed a stack of counterfeit $50 bills, and at least those bills looked legit. These weren’t even freaking green!

After I calmed down, and realized that these Canadians were not to be reasoned with (after all, it is only $21, nothing to lose my head about), I decided to head to dinner. When the bill came, I could not believe they expected me to pay so much for a steak, especially one without my favorite sauce! These Canadians, where the hell do they get off???

Canadians, at their core, are nothing more than a simple people trying to make it in this crazy world. It may take some squinting, but I can look past the blatant disregard for my personal pleasure while traveling in their primeval existence they call a country. Instead, I choose to see a wonderful land of snow and ice, a place where, despite not knowing the value of a dollar, they sure can make the hell out of a steak.


  1. You sure see a different place than I have every time I have visited Canada! Love it there!!!


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