Saturday, July 17, 2004

See Canada Next...

My arrival in Canada, the first time I visited, was inauspicious. I got
there with US$20 in my pocket and a backpack on my back to find the
woman who was supposed to meet me...not there.

After wandering for an hour or so through the airport in Toronto,
wondering what the hell I was going to do, I heard an overhead page
calling my name. When I went to the ticket counter I was confronted
with two guys in coveralls and wool caps who offered to take me to the
hospital. Turns out the woman who was supposed to pick me up had
wrecked her car just short of the airport, and these guys had stopped
to help. They were working and so had to hurry, but they figured that
the hospital wasn't too far out of their way.

So I went with them. Their names were Chris and Pete. Strangely, I
remember that and very little about the hospital. I certainly remember
what they drove: a refrigerated container truck hauling fish. I sat on
a milk crate between the bucket seats in the front and breathed fish
fumes the entire way to Guelph, or wherever the hell the hospital was.

The trip improved, I suppose, but just barely.

So this time I'm heading to Banff, Alberta. There's a wealth of
information on Banff all over the Web--everything except how to
pronounce the name without sounding like an idiot. Pal Joey, who
invited me, promises aboriginal dances and spa days and hiking and
caves and fine dining. "There's not a lot of shopping, though" she
said, as though shopping were something I'd want to be doing in a town
with caves and hot springs and ptarmigans. And elk and bears,
apparently. Erp.

I arrive at oh-dark-thirty p.m. and have an hour's wait before I have
to catch the Airporter in to town. It's a two-hour drive, so I'll get
there sometime just after midnight. If I miss that one, I *think*
there's another shuttle that leaves later, but I'm unsure. I may have
to see what sort of overnight accomodations Calgary International can

Or just look for a fish truck.

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