Due North

Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
Trip End Mar 15, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, February 23, 2007

After checking out the funky space age library made with an all glass and steel exterior I moseyed on over to Kerry park for one last city wide view, otherwise known as the "Fraiser View". The day was a little cloudy obscuring the mountains that usually make up the background behind the city but the view was still recognizable as the 'picture' of Seattle I had before arriving.

I was headed to my last country (sniff) on my journey today, Canada. Hoofing over to the Greyhound station I got a ticket to Vancouver somehow getting into a conversation with the girl behind the counter saying how she would love to travel the world but not on her own. She said she would need someone to share it with and although I can understand her feelings, knowing a few times along the way when it would have been good to have had someone to reminisce about it down the pub when it's all over, but I would still not change from solo travel. The freedom and independence it gives combined with the greater number of people you get to know through almost being forced to talk to them with no one else to rely on just makes traveling so much more fulfilling.

Anyway, onwards to Canada arriving at the border customs thinking this should be relatively smooth being a fellow (partly) English speaking member of the commonwealth and known for their friendliness. Oh dear.

Not waiting long in line with those ahead of me passing through quick I walked up to the customs guy and handed over my passport not expecting the barrage of questions to follow and to still be standing here 20 minutes later. "Where are you going today? For what purpose? How long do you plan to be in Canada? What are your travel plans? Do you have friends here? Do you have a return plane ticket? What is your occupation? How much money do you have access to?"

Up to this point things seemed pretty normal, if thorough, until while flicking through my passport he found the Cambodian visas.

Customs: "What where you doing in Cambodia?"
At this point memories of late nights in Phnom Penh, Angkor temple exploring and endless beach lounging in Sihanoukville sprung to mind all while trying to hide a smile breaking out across my face.
Me: "Traveling"
Customs: "What do you mean by traveling?"
Me: "Huh, what do you mean by traveling?"
Customs: "What where you doing in all these countries?"
Me: "Traveling, you know going from place to place and seeing what's in between."

I knew he was only doing is job and held my passport and that you really shouldn't mess around with someone who has the power to really give you a bad day but I just couldn't understand the problem. He then walked off with my passport conferring with a colleague for a few minutes before coming back and starting the same questions over again. "Where are you going in Canada?" "Do you have friends here?" "What did you have for breakfast?". Knew I should have shaved this morning.

Finally getting the stamp and thanking him while looking for the sniper probably aiming at me on exiting I re-boarded the bus and headed northwards at last to Vancouver.

Driving into the city at night I had just one last hurdle to overcome in trying to find the hostel with a map about as helpful as a Cambodian visa at the Canadian border. Stumbling upon it at last I almost wished I hadn't, it was a shit hole. Total dive would maybe be too good a description for it but for one night and only $10 it would do. The owner went on about not wanting fussy people here with him coming across all pretentious about traveling throughout Asia as I felt like saying, yeah I've been there too but even that sweat box prison cell of a room in Bangkok was still cleaner than this and cheaper.

Certain days traveling solo are better than others.
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