Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Detroit Jerkwad and Canadian Yellow trees - Day One of our trip to Canada

I'm sitting at a computer in a fancy hotel so I've got to try and make this brief, but I've got to blog about our first day here in Canada.

We flew in to Dearborn, a Detroit suburb this morning and quickly became acquainted with the residents of the city. We had "Dennis" the menace from Hertz driving the bus to take us to the rental car office. He started off nice enough, picking up our bags and what not, but like a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde persona, he switched personalities as soon as he started driving. He developed a surly attitude and talked outloud to no one in particular. It began as soon as he started rolling.

A National Rental bus pulled in front of him and Dennis said rather caustically, "Yeah that's right National. Don't use your side mirror." and then pointed at the driver who must have finally looked in his side mirror once he was in front of us.

Dennis the Menace then proceeded to stop on top of everyone's bumper and then once we were on home base, he yelled "Come on Anthony!" at a fellow Hertz employee crossing the pedestrain crosswalk.

I think the bus may have still been rolling when I jumped off.

Detroit and surrounding suburbia consisted of endless walls of graffitti, trash on the side of the roads and in the trees, battered houses with broken windows, , run down factories and junkyards piled with cars and scrap. It was dirty and depressing.

As soon as we hit the Michigan/Canada border we started using our "Canadian Accents", which meant we ended every sentence with the word "eh". (ie. Look at Lake Huron. It's beautiful eh?")
When we hit the traffic jam that lead to customs, Dan commented "We better not make fun of the Canadians and say 'oot', 'eh' or sing the South Park Blame Canada song, eh?"

We inched up the long line of cars with passports in hand, anxiously waiting our turn and reading the signs that sternly told us to stay in our lane and not to throw objects off the bridge. When it was finally our turn, we pulled up to a somber young man wearing a bullet proof vest. He asked our citzenship, destination, whether or not we owned the vehicle, had guns, firearms, mace or over 10k in cash.

"You're free to go." He said.

"Wait. You dont' want to see our passports?" Dan asked, sounding faintly disappointed.

The man did not crack a smile and in a serious tone of voice, replied, "No. I believe you."

We pulled away and Dan remarked "After all the trouble for these passports."

"I wanted a stamp." I pouted.

"We're not going to get a stamp for Canada." He said with an air of superiority. "You need to go someplace like Africa to get a stamp."

"How do you know?"

"I just know these things."

"Well," I said, feeling somehow that he was outdoing me and not wanting to be outdone, "I know TWO people who went to Africa and I'm going to ask them."

I know. This was a dumb conversation, but there it is.

Enroute to the hotel I pointed out all the "canadian" birds - Hawk, Crow, Cardinal, Pigeon, Starling. And commented on the trees with yellow branches and the other trees that contained branches and twigs that were thickly packed together. What were these trees and what did they look like in bloom?

The road signs also seemed polite. "Please refrain from using air brakes." and "Maximum speed 100km"

That is all I have for now. I feel guilty taking as much time as I have typing all of this up on a public computer.

And I have a husband who has suddenly reverted to a 15 year old, standing behind me, wiggling my chair and poking my back.

Tomorrow we're off to Niagra Falls.

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