Monday, December 22, 2008

I am Canadian.

I know talking about the weather isn't always the most exciting thing in the world, usually it's a topic reserved for strangers and little known acquaintances, but I'm from Canada and that's how we roll in the great White North, so, you want to hear something fun?

Josh digging us out

My fair home of Bruce County was recently hit with 15cm of snow - and the best part is that all of that snow came down between midnight and morning - last night. Last night when my brothers and I were driving home from Ottawa. Last night when they decided the roads were so bad they closed them all down and pulled all the snow ploughs off the roads. Oh, and did I mention that the 15 cm was in addition to the unholy amount of snow that fell during the day? So my brothers and I had been on the road for 5 1/2 hours with no problems when we hit the storm - or rather the storm smacked into us. Have you ever driven in a serious snowstorm? Have you ever driven 20 km/hr because you can't see the line in the middle of the road, or driven over a snow drift that fights back and throws up a blinding amount of snow at your windshield making everything go eerily black? Have you ever had the pleasure of having your car stuck in the middle of the highway in snow that goes up to your knees? You know how you get out of that? Nice Bruce County strangers show up and shackle your car to their truck and drag you out ... or if it isn't quite so bad you get out and push as hard as you can. So after being caught in the snow twice, driving with the windows down to judge if we were in the middle of the road because good luck with those mean snow banks we finally gave up in Walkerton (about 50km from home) .... we'd had enough .... and ... well we had no choice because every road out of town was closed. "Alright" we thought "we'll just find a motel and some pizza, go to bed and in the morning get the hell out of dodge" ... only problem was that all 2 of the town's motels were fully booked up - which left us with one option - the option every Canadian knows always exists - Tim Hortons. While my brothers stayed in the car and drank their beers I sat inside the Walkerton Tim Hortons from 11:30pm - 5am drinking chocolate milk with the waitresses.

When we finally ventured back onto the highway we were lucky enough to end up being a snow plough ... the first plough to make it out since the storm hit. How do I know this? Time Hortons. You don't set out anywhere in Canada at such an ungodly hour to battle the elements without a double double close at hand .. and the nice ladies at the Tim Horton's told me "Joe's back on the road" right after they‘d served him.

We followed the eerie red lights of the enormous truck as it effortlessly brushed the snow out of its way stopping every so often to slowly backed up and clear another side for oncoming traffic, or to make sure it didn't crush the barely visible cars hidden under piles of snow in the ditch ... but our luck ran out again in Paisley as "Joe" turned around and began to retrace his steeps and we found ourselves stranded yet again in a much smaller town, a town so small it didn’t have a Tim Hortons.

I’m not sure if lucky is the proper term to use here, but the great thing about being from a small town is you know a lot of people in your town and most of the surrounding towns as well. A good friend, the kind that wouldn’t kill you for showing up at 6am with your two brothers, recently moved to Paisley so we stopped by her house.

Awkward does not begin to describe the next few hours. Unknown to me, the wonderful friend had left the province, and in her place was someone I barely knew and her boyfriend. Having nowhere to go, we had no choice so me and the boys took the couch, while a practical strangers not so quietly cuddled up on the other side. Two hours later I awoke with a kink in my neck and absolute certainty we had to get out of there right away. This time we had the sun on our side, road closures be damned we sped past the big "closed road", an idle threat as miraculously the road had been cleaned, and finally made it home - 17 hours after we left Ottawa.

Canada, I hate you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

An Airplane over a Bog

As you may have gathered from the past few posts ...  I am alive! Ms. Rubysuitcase and I crossed America and lived to tell the tale. As expected I had an amazing time is quirky Savannah, was a little frightened during the gorgeous ocean drive to Key West, fell in love with New Orleans all over again, bought the red cowboy boots in Austin, stumbled around with zombies in Tucson, was in total awe of the Grand Canyon, was the angel among devils in Las Vegas, should have gotten a tattoo in San Diego, will not tell you what I did in Tijuana, and got a nasty case of bed bugs in West Hollywood. Now that I'm home and things have died down a bit I'm prone to some nasty cases of nostalgia and start practically every sentence with "This one time in [insert city name]" so much so that most people are getting tired of me.
But you want a hear a story .... don't you?

Unlike some rather lovely boys I knew who were stuck riding the Greyhound for 22 hours between Miami and New Orleans, I had a plane ticket (a plane ticket that was cheaper than their bus ticket). Little Ms.Know-it-all that I am I knew that neither the state of Mississippi or Alabama had any hostels, which sadly meant I had to skip them because who wants to be couped up in a cheap motel all by themself for so long? So when the day came I hopped on my plane and off it went up into the sky and it didn't come back down until NOLA was nearby.
I spent the entire flight getting more and more excited as my plane got closer and closer to its destination and then as we started our descent I suddenly had a thought - I had had an amazing time in New Orleans last year ... would I be spending this week here chasing last year's ghosts trying to have as much fun as they did?

There was no reason to worry. As soon as I arrived at the hostel I ran into the Swedish boys I'd met in Charleston and Miami, and then I ran into Nora who I'd met the last time I was in NOLA and who was positively convinced we needed to go see a band that night. Two fabulous Estonian girls and an extra Swed rounded out our pose and we headed out. 

After much dancing, drinking, and more dancing I have to admit my memory of the night is a bit fuzzy, but it was exactly what you want from any city - great music, cheap drinks, and fabulous people .

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Note to the Cold

Dear Winter,
Go fuck yourself.