There is something disorienting about being in another country. The language is different. The food is different. The money is different.
I expected Canada to be well...not disorienting...
I was wrong.
We drive on the same side of the road. We speak the same language. The monetary denominations are the same.
Yet, there was something a quarter turn off. I felt it the minute we left the glorious, industrial Detroit and entered the picturesque city of Windsor, Ontario.
Was it the lack of billboards?
The enormous fields of solar panels and windmills?
|Sure, there are windmills in Illinois, just not armies of them. Here is a picture of several at rest. My feeling is that the Overlords are giving them the day off...|
Was it the blue and pink plastic bills in my purse?
Perhaps it was the fact that we got our change from the gas station attendant in 'loonies'?
It didn't help that the first thing I saw advertised on the television was something called a 'poutine'. This can only be described as a boat full of french fries and cheese curds covered with brown gravy ...at McDonalds. I have eaten cheese curds while on vacation in Wisconsin. But my McDonalds doesn't serve ANYTHING with gravy on it.
Stupid American McDonalds.
And there it is.
I wasn't looking at a commercial for an AMERICAN McDonalds. This was Canada. And for all the similarities, I was in a foreign country.
Nothing brings this realization to the fore more profoundly than when it comes time to cross that border and return home.
We drove through Port Huron for our re-entry, assuming that on a Monday morning the border entry at Detroit proper would be jam packed. I have no idea if this is true. The beauty of Port Huron negated the extra hour of drive time. (recall the hour:butt time ratio from last week). It seems the border guards are counting on this distraction to confuse you.
|The Canadia border of Lake Huron. Seriously. Beautiful.|
|Sorry, Canada. Picturesque lighthouse and old timey water tower trumps flags and a suspicious looking windowless 'welcome' center.|
On the very first question – 'Where are you from?' - Bart answered 'St Louis...um well really, across the river in Illinois'... the guard raised his eyebrows and leaned out the window of his booth.
On the second question – 'Why did you go to Canada?' - answered with 'to see a Scott Kirby concert' the guard looked confused. 'Oh. He doesn't play in Illinois?'
I was beginning to feel as though Mike the Necromancer of Monty Python and the Holy Grail was preparing to vanquish us from the bridge for failing to answer him his questions three.
And the final question– 'Did you buy anything to bring back from Canada?' answered with 'five pounds of Tim Horton coffee' pegged us for what we clearly appeared to be...
comfortable mid-size crossover vehicle,
classic rock on the radio,
sparkling water in the drink console...
We may as well have pulled the bathtub off our roof rack and settled in as the Poster Children of Viagra Smugglers.
"Please roll down your back window, sir," the guard ordered as he left his booth and stuck his head through our back passenger window where he was met with a clear plastic bag filled with exactly five pounds of Tim Horton's coffee which they DO NOT sell in Illinois. Not yet anyway.*
He stepped away from our car shaking his head. "Have a nice trip folks. Welcome back to the United States."
I have now successfully transported coffee not only out of, but also back into the United States.
We were home free. Back in the land of billboards and french fries covered in grease and nothing more. I was feeling pretty relaxed until I caught sight of a highway sign for 21mile. We were on the north edge of Detroit.
A good friend and occasional traveling companion, Crapmonkey warned me about the dangers of Detroit. 'Stay away from 3 mile!' she warned, 'or 8 mile...or whatever street that Eminem guy is from.'
It should be noted here that both Crapmonkey and I are well over 40. Our knowledge of 'the hood', while pretty extensive, has only been garnered from work. And movies. I had no intention of venturing into Mr. Inem's part of town.
|Does this make 12 mile 4x worse than 3mile???? YO!|
We made it through Detroit unscathed. Although we did pass numerous signs for TUNNEL TO CANADA. And it was incredibly tempting....
But that would have meant another border...
|Ho! To go!|
*It seems that Tim Horton coffee will be making its debut here on the Coast of Illinois somewhere in the next 4 years. This does involve the buy out of Dunkin Donuts which I suppose is just another example of an American business selling out to foreign interests. But jeez. Their coffee is just so darn good, eh?!
Just stumbled upon the Coast of Illinois? Curious about the beginning of this international journey? The click HERE for part one and THERE for part two!
And come back next week for my companion piece 'Packing for a Weekend Getaway or Stop Lying to Me Pintrest!'