Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Observations From the Road - Part One

Hello my loyal blogladites, I'm on the road in a foreign country today. The United States of America. Perhaps your very own country, but slightly different in mystical ways to Canada where I hail from. Let me recount the little differences I've seen, at least in this neck of the woods.

Expresso shacks. I've seen a couple of these back home, but here, in what Americans fondly refer to as the Pacific Northwest, they are ubiquitous. (Ed. note: I've always wanted to use that word so I hope I'm using it correctly). What they are is little shacks that you can drive up to and buy an espresso. I went for a mocha myself and I walked up. Seems you can do that with the shacks, but don't try walking up to a Taco Bell drive-thru (a story for another time).

Restrooms are where you go to use a toilet. We generally call them washrooms. Wonder whose got that right? Are they more for washing or for resting? Seems we're both politely ignoring the real use of these rooms.

What's the deal on grits? I mean I'm not anywhere near the south of the US of A and they're offering me grits for breakfast. These definitely seem to stop at the border. On the other hand vinegar seems to have difficulty going south through the border so you can put it on your fries like we do in Canada.

No exit or dead end is replaced here by "No Outlet". Salt water taffy abounds. If we did have it in Canada I think it would be toffee and not taffy. You can buy beer in the grocery store here and that's good or at the very least convenient.

One thing that's the same on both sides of the border: Right in the heart of the touristy area, near the t-shirt shops, there is always a place to buy fudge!


  1. Yes, there are differences aplenty. So it always strikes me as odd when a fellow Western Canadian will tell me that we have more in common with Seattle than we do with Toronto. I don't buy it. There are way more differences than what you mentioned. This might be a good start to list them. I'll start with one. Last Friday I was on a flight from Seattle to Los Angeles. I was sitting beside a woman from Seattle. She was ordering food for her family and was telling the flight attendant, while pointing at various members of her clan, "Breakfast sandwich, breakfast sandwich, breakfast sandwich, breakfast sandwich... And I believe I saw a service man on board."

    At this point, being the paranoid flier I am, I was thinking, "Oh my God, there's a service man on board?! What does that even mean?" But that's just me. I knew full well it wasn't a plumber or a handyman and it meant someone in the military. The flight attendand said, "Yes, we'll take care of him." Turns out Seattle lady was going to buy the army dude his breakfast. I don't think we'd ever see that in Canada. We don't venerate people in the military like that. We don't spit on them, either, I should point out, but it was completely foreign to me that someone would treat them like charity cases just because they chose a life in the military.

  2. On a recent layover in the "twin-cities" of Minneapolis-Saint Paul, I was struck by the number of "Service men" that were walking around the airport. We just dont see that many military prople walking around in Canada. At first I thought that they were on security duty, fighting terrorism from within the airport, but I then realized that they were all new recruits with new cloths, boots and duffle bags. Either they were all going to their basic training, or were all looking for a free breakfast sandwich! Whatever the reason, I did notice that people were very nice to them, thanking them, and generally treating them like heros. Yet another difference between our two countries.
    Cheers from the prairies.