I've mentioned my infatuation with Vancouver before, I think. It's a few hours' drive from Seattle, an easy road trip; the surrounding mountains and water are familiar, and then the Canadianness is just foreign enough. A geological age or so ago, Vancouver marked my first trip off of U. S. soil. I was 19 (Canadian drinking age!); I drove up with Dave Wong in an illegally rented car that smelled of dog and orange soda. (We weren't old enough to rent it ourselves; his older sister drove it jerkily off the Rent-A-Wreck lot and he climbed behind the wheel, like, around the corner.) Of course we hadn't made hotel reservations; we ended up spending the night in a budget hotel somewhere right on the border between Gastown and Chinatown, an area informally known, at least to me, as "Junkietown." It was summer, and hot; through the open room window, we could hear what sounded like a cheap Foley-artist soundtrack of sirens and bottles shattering, the occasional piercing scream. Luckily enough we were not murdered in our beds, and the episode has receeded enough in memory to be hilarious to me now. Babes in the primeval woods, seriously.
Anyway. Here are some ways in which I know I am in Canada:
- Two people already have mentioned Boxing Day plans to me. It's a real thing, here, just like in Merry Olde England!
- The little girl, maybe nine-ish, I saw coming out of a Kitsilano ski shop this afternoon, ecstatically sporting a brand-new helmet and set of ski goggles. Her father followed behind, carrying the box they'd come in. Yes, this is the frozen north!
- The television commercial in which a teen saves the day for his big brother's hockey team (filling in for the gooooalie, who bloooow ooot his knee). After the game, where do they celebrate? Tim Horton's! If only one of them said "eh," it would be an advertising...wait for it...hat trick.
This being Vancouver, the Amsterdam of North America, here are two more things that made me giggle:
- The sign outside a garden shop, announcing their Winter Pot Sale (accompanied by ceramic containers of winter pansies and purple-and-white kale. Simmer down, Cheech.)
- The non-dairy beverage alternative I spotted in the grocery store, next to the soy and almond milks: Hemp Bliss. I just bet. You know what would go great with this chocolate Hemp Bliss? Four more chocolate Hemp Blisses, dude!