Monday, August 12, 2013

10 days on the Road: Random Observations

It is true. Every word of it.  People from "down east" are the friendliest people in Canada. I'm certain also that with this fuzzy friendly warmth one enjoys little privacy at the same time.  We would be having a meal and planning out the next leg of the journey, only to be overheard and joined in our conversation whether or not we had asked for any advice. It is endearing and alarming at the same time.

We went to a McDonalds in Vermont to have a coffee. Every person in the building was morbidly obese except one really old man and a little boy who looked to be about 2. Those Big Macs looked so tiny being consumed by such large people. My body image and self esteem skyrocketed for about 15 minutes.

Americans, as it turns out, are pretty nice people. I have come to realize that it is not their fault that they are so ignorant about anything outside their own borders. I realize now that it is really the big American machine that I don't like: "We're the world's super power and we don't really have to care about anyone or anything else". That trickles down to everyone who lives there but has not had the benefit of an education about anything beyond who and what they are.  Sort of like brainwashing. It is actually quite sad. And while bigotry and hatred manage to exist everywhere, it is easy to see why it can be so prevalent in the absence of education. Just smile, wave the flag, sing God Bless America and DON'T ASK ANY QUESTIONS! All that said, it is too easy to mistake a $20 for a $1 because their money is all the same colo(u)r! It was fun, but I'm glad to be on my own side of the sandbox again.

Everybody thinks Quebec drivers are the worst.  I beg to differ.  When one is barrelling at crazy speeds along the highway on two wheels with nothing beyond a millimetre of leather for protection it is also true that one becomes hyper-aware of the actions of those on four wheels with whom we must share the road. Ten days, three States, four Provinces and 5,000 kilometres later and the verdict is in: Ontarians are the most selfish and narcissistic drivers I have seen on the roads anywhere. In the States, the Eastern Provinces and even Quebec for the most part, everyone drives in the right lane on a two lane highway, and they use the passing lane for... get this... PASSING! It is a thing of beauty to watch how smoothly traffic flows.  Return to Ontario and everything changes.  On a two lane highway, EVERYBODY sits in the passing lane, including the blissfully oblivious moron who is doing 90 in a 100 zone.  Everybody behind him is road raging and getting angry, riding up his tail perilously close, flashing high beams and I can feel the temperature rising on the pavement. Finally giving up, everyone screeches into the empty right lane, racing up a few car lengths and cutting someone off to get back in the passing lane. It is the whackiest phenomenon I have witnessed.  I think "Canada's Worst Driver" should focus on Ontario.  When there was road word and one lane was closed in Nova Scotia, everyone merged nicely, each one let one in and the delay was minimal. The same lane closure in Ontario has idiots racing up the shoulder to cut in, because god knows they had somewhere important to be that HAD to be more important than where everyone else was going.

The Cabot Trail is a completely disappointing experience on the back of someone else's motorcycle.  Now, I guess I should be grateful that I was able to see this stunning little corner of the earth, but I did not have the opportunity to experience it. Unless you're a motorcycle rider this probably won't make sense, but half of the joy of the journey is experiencing the curves and turns. As I sat on back and mostly looked at my own reflection on the back of a big black helmet, I imagined how awesome the riding must have been, but I didn't experience it.  All that way, and I did not get to ride the Cabot Trail. This will count as one of the biggest disappointments of 2013.  On the bright side, fresh lobster and crab was an amazing experience! Repairs to re-build a clutch are, apparently, universally expensive.

Restaurants are over rated. I love eating out when I've been cooking all week, but I couldn't eat out every day.  I like my food the way I like it. When I want it. In the quantity I want it.  And, I don't care if I don't have french fries for the foreseeable future. Talk about an over rated food group!

Waterproof and water resistant sound very similar.  They are not at all.

For all the beauty I witnessed in three States and four Provinces, it occurs to me that Ontario, when seen with the fresh eyes of someone who has been gone for over a week, is about as beautiful as any place I've been. However, Bradford is as dumpy looking as the day I left. What's with our downtown? Can't anyone afford a few cans of paint?

I'm glad to be home. Until I am restless again.....

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