Randomness happens all the time, particularly when you go out of town. Because nothing is the norm, nothing is familiar, so everything is a random happening. Especially if someone else makes out the itinerary for you. Great fun, but effin' exhausting!
I went to Canada!
Winnipeg, Manitoba to be exact, the heart of the Canadian Midwest. For some reasons there are comparisons made between Detroit and Winnipeg so they tell me, but for the life of me, I don't see the similarities.
Winnipeg is a beautiful city, rich history, clean, great architecture, great fishing, beautiful rivers, and great restaurants. After our guided tour with a friend that obviously loves his city, I fell in love with the "Peg" too.
Every time we said we were from Detroit, the Canadian response was overwhelmingly positive. Usually when traveling in the states or even in my own home state of Michigan, I don't tell people we are from Detroit. The response is negative and about stereotypes. But instead in Winnipeg, I heard how they love Detroit, Motown, the Detroit sports teams, and the car industry. That was a nice surprise.
Our trip began with a drive under the Detroit River to get to Windsor. We have two choices in Detroit for border crossings, one is the bridge and the other is the tunnel. The last time I went through using the tunnel was back in 1979 and there was water running down the walls. Yikes! Happily in 2010, I can report not a sign of water.
As an American citizen, I'm used to hearing a lot of fear mongering on my side of the border. Border problems, a grueling customs search, ready to show "my papers", the illegal alien problems, immigration problems, bad people trying to sneak over and plotting to do harm to our country problems. So with passport, birth certificate, driver's license and even my voter's registration card in hand, and feeling every bit like an intruder trying to sneak into another country, I approached the Canadian border with apprehension and was ready for anything.
You know what I got? Welcome to Canada! Have a great trip and a really nice day. Oh, Canada.
Windsor airport - small and petite, no fluff, no muss, one small terminal. What, no wait at the counter? No long lines at security? No color coded alerts. Oh, Canada. Are you trying to lull me into a false sense of security or something?
The airline we flew touted their slogan, we never over or double book - be confident that you'll always have your seat. What? Are they treating me like a valued customer, with respect for me and the money I spent with their airline? Are they honoring our implied contractual agreement and putting me on a plane, that is well maintained, on time, and has a seat for everyone? Oh yeah, and each person gets two check in two pieces of luggage and can take two overheads and best of all at no extra charge.
"Memories, light the corner of my mind...." Sorry, got distracted.
With a lay-over in our flight itinerary, we had to take off twice, Windsor to Calgary, then Calgary to Winnipeg. We flew right over Winnipeg on our way to Calgary and waved to it from high above. I know, I know. We flew a three and a half hour flight to Calgary just to get on another plane to fly back an hour to Winnipeg. Next time, we're getting a direct flight.
The amazing thing was when we got onto our planes, no one was pushing or shoving. No one was more important than anyone else. Everyone waited with patience and courtesy. And when the plane stopped and passengers made ready to disembark, each row was allowed to empty before the next row.
How orderly, how courteous.
Those Canadians waited their turn and didn't fill the aisle to be the first one out. They thanked each other, helped each other with the overhead luggage and waited patiently for their turn. What was this? Courtesy begot courtesy. Patience begot patience. I felt like a sentient, logical, common sense human being.
Oh, Canada - can I move here? What? Temperatures can get to be -26 Celsius in the winter. On second thought, never mind. I will admire you from afar.
So when I got home, on the last leg of our journey, and the plane landed in Windsor, everyone promptly jumped from their seats and herded into the aisle, pushing and shoving to be the first out the plane door. Queenmaker was trapped standing patiently, awaiting his turn to exit. But he was blocked time and time again until all the important cattle herded out the door. He looked at me in surprise. "What happened to all the manners?"
"Honey, those were US citizens, not Canadians."
Memories light the corner of my mind.
Misty water color memories
Of the way we were.
Scattered picture of the smiles we left behind,
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were.
Can it be that it was all so simple then,
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had a chance to do it all again,
Tell me? would we? could we?
Visit Keely for more great Canadian hospitality and friendly, down home blogging.