Oh, Canada — deuxième partie

When last we spoke, I was writing my column from a hotel room in St. Stephen, New Brunswick, Canada. I shared anecdotes of previous trips to the land of the Maple Leaf, and can now report on one more week in the great north.

We arrived in Canada on New Brunswick Day, when mostly everything was closed. We managed to find a restaurant to grab some dinner. It was a small seafood diner that was slammed with people. Evidently the owners weren’t expecting such a crowd and had only two young people on duty. They did yeoman’s work, yet many patrons didn’t agree and let them know. I suspect they were Americans.

On the way out I told the two young people I thought they did a great job, and tipped them accordingly. The young man said, “That means a lot. Thank you.”

I must say that compared with my other excursions to Canada, this trip went fairly smoothly — just a few quirks .

We arrived at our home for the following four days in Halifax, on the 10th floor of a beautiful, old 12-story hotel, right on the wharf.

I used the huge luggage dolly to bring up our bags, and Danny and I promised to return it to the lobby.

We waited at the elevator for the return trip and the doors opened to an aloof couple who saw us and either didn’t like the looks of the dolly, Danny or me, or any combination thereof and immediately closed the doors and made their descent. Probably Americans.

Later in the week, Emilie and Danny were waiting for the elevator; the door opened and the couple saw them and closed the door. Probably — you get the picture. Then again, Danny seems to be the common denominator here.

I really got into my role of being in Canada, where the beautiful people there do tend to say “eh,” and “ooooo” for their words with the letter O. So much so, that I had a poor waitress at an Irish pub asking me if she talked like that. She didn’t and I told her so. In fact, in typical Massachusetts jargon, I told her she was a wicked good hostess.

I later told that to one of our waiters in an British pub, and also told him my meal of mussels and poutine was wicked good. He said he told the chef, and the chef wasn’t sure if that was good or bad. It was good.

We also had dinner at a Japanese sushi bar for some sashimi and other eats. There was no parking around, so Danny and I dropped the women off and went to search for a parking spot. After several orbits of the block I saw one, but saw another a bit closer and rolled the dice. By the time I got to the closer one, the car in front of me pulled in.

Back into orbit. We found a spot close to it, and then Danny pointed out that across the street was a parking lot with tons of space for only $3. Wicked bad.

While at the sushi bar the chef came out from behind his station, motioned us over to the front window and we watched and listened as dynamite was blown at the construction site across the street. Very cool, except for the woman who was on her way in and let out a scream when the TNT blew. We all had a good laugh.

Canada is a land of washrooms, not bathrooms; meters, not miles; and liters, not ounces. But we adapted. 

There were no catastrophes as in prior trips. I even fared better at customs. We chatted with the customs agent and figured there would be no problems — until he said, “I have to ask you a question.” The four of us thought the worst, and he said, “Why are you wearing that shirt?”

I had a Boston Bruins T-shirt on. “I’m from Massachusetts,” was the obvious reply. He said, “I’m a Buffalo Sabres fan,” a team that has never won a Stanley Cup. I looked down and sadly said, “Some day.”

He got a great charge out of that and waved us back into the U.S. Phew!

I’m back in the office after a 15-hour day returning from Halifax. We were in the U.S. not two minutes when we were greeted with massive Maine mountain thunderstorms for the next 90 miles. That and everything north of Bangor is off the electronic grid. There was no cell phone service, people, or gas stations. Just deer, birds, thunder, lightning, and asphalt.

I half expected to report on more Canadian calamities, but the vacation was fun, relaxing and much-needed. I already miss being asked, “Hoooos it goin’, eh?”


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