11.05.2008

Cross Border Musings

I think we're all glad the election is over...even if we hoped for a different outcome...and in that vein, as I drove back home from my "home and native land", a few things struck me about each country and I wanted to share them with you. I always tell Mark that I can tell when I am in Canada and no longer in the US. The main reason is that there are no billboards for hotels, casinos, pro-life causes, lawyers or anything else along our highways, just speed limits, "Welcome to Wherever" signs (in French and English of course), the occasional dead animal and litter.
The US Custom guards always ask the oddest questions. When we were travelling home last Christmas, the only question the agent posed to us was, "Do you have any Mandarin oranges?", to which we replied no (even though I had really, really wanted to bring some home with me - thanks a lot no citrus over the border rule!!)
A small town is a small town no matter what country you are in. From random signs (We love Canadians - which I found an odd sign since it was in a Canadian town...?) that only locals get, to wild turkeys roaming alongside the highway in Morris...small towns retain their "smalltownness" everywhere you go.
For some odd reason it seems Americans don't know what a washroom is... at least the Americans I have come across anyway. Every time I ask where the washroom is I get met with a blank stare and a "what?"...until I say bathroom or restroom...why is that?
North Dakota has an absurd amount of country music radio stations...does any one place really need more than one? In my opinion there doesn't need to be any, but I know some people like that sort of music, so one should do just fine. ND seems to have about 39575 country stations - way too many.
ND also has a great speed limit...75mph. I don't think anyone passed me for the entire 4 or so hours I drove through that state, and I was doing just shy of 80. Once I crossed into MN and the limit drops to 70 (I do just under 75) I think every other car on the road passed me!! I guess Minnesotans must love to speed.
Gas is still ridiculously expensive in Canada. Expensive enough that I fill up just before crossing the border and not again until I come home...thank you Manvel, ND for having a gas station so that I didn't have to park my car on the side of the highway and walk to Grand Forks with a 5 month old in her car seat!!
Sometimes when you visit stores or restaurants in other countries, they change to suit their locations, but it is nice to know that, like the church, Wal-Mart is the same where ever you go...always retaining that little bit of trashiness that brings you the comfort of knowing you are at Wal-Mart.
For some reason Canadian cable channels feel it is necessary to carry US channels in Canada, so I was privy to 3 different states (MN, MI and WA) and their political ads. Canada had an election last month (albeit to the lowest voter turnout in many, many years) that was called on September 7 and was held October 14th. Started and ended in just over a month...now that's the way to hold an election!
And whether or not Canadian cuisine exists (find me one person who has dined on the exquisite poutine and they will tell you it does!!) there is nothing like being able to go to Safeway and pick up all the Habitant pea soup, pierogies, Canadian mint bars, and caffeine free Mountain Dew!! O Canada!! How I love thee!

1 comment:

shana said...

Your going to the North boarder and I'm going to the South boarder. When I came back from Mexico City, the airport customs guy told my husband and I that NO ONE stays in Mexico City for 2 weeks! What were you doing there??!!

We didn't have our visas yet, so we couldn't tell him looking for an Apt. I thought the guy was a jerk.

The food you listed looked interesting and I bet the poutine is a staple.