Monday, October 05, 2009

Oh, Canada

Before I get to the play-by-play of our vacation, I wanted to share with you some observations we made while on our trip.

So I’m going to pretty much make fun of stuff today, m’kay?

Some Fun Facts about Canada:

1. Everything closes super early. “Extended hours” on several stores were only until 5pm. Restaurants start closing about 8pm. And the mall? The mall isn’t open past 6pm except on Friday & Saturday night. What’s a person to DO in Vancouver after dark? Apparently not much.

We fit right in, as we are old and were ready to go to bed early anyway. Except that we were up and ready by 7 or 8 (which was 9 or 10 our time) and pretty much nothing opened until 10am. The time difference killed us for the first few days since the west coast is 2 hours behind our normal time zone.

2. Canada uses the metric system. That’s right, the metric system. Remember, everything’s a factor of 10? That’s all well and good, except when you try to work the thermostat. Because this is what I was faced with when we checked into our hotel: DSC04834If it weren’t for the beloved Internet, I wouldn’t have figured out that when it was 17 degrees (Celsius) in our room, that meant it was actually about 64 (Fahrenheit). No wonder I was freezing. But it still took me a while to get it set properly, as the black dots on the adjustment knob weren’t particularly helpful.

It was also a bit disturbing to hear the weatherman talk about it being a balmy 20 degrees the next day – then we remembered that was probably about 72 and relaxed a bit.

3. Apparently, Pepsi owns Canada. Every place we ate had Pepsi products and no Coke products. I would have been extremely unhappy except that I could get 7Up everywhere! Even fountain 7Up, which, if you are a 7Up fan, you know is extremely rare, and the best of all 7Ups.

4. We were surprised at the demographic in Vancouver. There were a lot of Oriental people. Which isn’t a bad thing, we just didn’t expect that. Lots of signs are written in Mandarin/Chinese. I guess we’re used to seeing things in Spanish, so it was very different.

Apparently, Vancouver is also a popular vacation destination for Oriental people. We were definitely outnumbered at the airport, and were pretty surprised to see most folks pushing around carts of luggage. Not just one or two suitcases per person. No, these people came to stay. And they brought everything they own. Those checked-bag fees must kill them!

5. Canada pretty much has their own version of regular American stuff. For instance, Pepsi cans (no Coke, remember) had different logos and designs. They were also measured in milliliters instead of ounces. Dang metric system.

There was also some pretty interesting candy. We were in a drugstore one day and spent forever looking at the candy at the check-out counter. The poor girl working there probably thought we were nuts.

Did you know they have Smarties that come in a BOX? I told Husband I thought it was impossible to eat Smarties that didn’t come out of a roll, and that I didn’t believe they tasted the same. I don’t think he agreed.

There were also some products from Nestle we’d never seen before. We bought an Aero bar, just to see what it was. I was willing to sacrifice for the sake of culture and eat some chocolate. I figured it probably had rice krispies inside. You know what it had in it? Air bubbles. Tiny air bubbles. It was like the Swiss cheese of chocolate. It was good chocolate, though.

6. Continuing on with Canadian versions of American stuff, they had their own versions of our TV networks, too. ABC, CBS, VH1 and CMT still had the same name, same logo. But they had completely different shows. They even had their own version of ESPN, but it was called TSN. And they didn’t show the college football Husband was hoping for, either. But as we were only 3 hours from Seattle, we were able to watch some American TV while we were there. It kept us from completely losing ourselves to Canada, I suppose.

7. Vancouver seems to be pretty “green” or at least they’re trying to be. There were lots of public recycling bins and things like that. Probably part of it is that they are preparing for the 2010 Olympics. There were some fun signs, this being one of them: DSC04830So in this area, there’s no skateboarding, no bicycling. But you should definitely pick up after your dog. But only in this area.

We saw more “health food” stuff than I expected to see in a large, urban city. But this is the picture of irony, a natural food store next to a cigar store: I think I’m the only one who found this amusing.

There are a few more stories I’d like to tell…but I’ve got to get the pictures up first, before I become a hunted woman. They’re coming, I promise!

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1 comment:

  1. I have a useful little tool in my cheap phone for converting measurements, etc.

    It does do temperature too.