Toot, toot! Choof, choof! Off we go!

Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Manitoba,
Thursday, May 3, 2007

Jasper is a two-bank town - and at 11.00am, one is closed.

The other's ATM spits out my VISA card forcing me inside to withdraw cash. In true Canadian style, the bank staff are happy to see me and each teller has a bowl of mints on her counter. These are FREE for customers - no bank charges involved.

And on Fridays they have chocolates! Amazing.
Due to it's late departure from Vancouver, 'The Canadian' is an hour late leaving Jasper. It stretches for about 20 cars, including 3 diesels, 2 dining cars, an activities car and three lounge cars with dome observation decks.

My carriage has the delightful French-Canadian Jean-Robin as our steward. He shows me the workings of my little bedroom and sounds just like Gabriel Gate.

The train picks up speed as it rolls out of the Rockies, leaving the snow, aspen, spruce and fir trees behind for birch groves and ice-fringed lakes, then open farmlands of crops and the cattle of Alberta province. This is regularly punctuated with signs of extensive timber and wrecked car industries.

The dining car is next door to mine - a definite advantage at 80km/hour. It serves adequate meals, although not up to Rocky Mountaineer standard. Thai chicken salad and maple syrup icecream for lunch. "The Devil Wears Prada" is the entertainment after lunch and I then explore the rear observation car where I meet Ann-Marie from Warwick, Queensland - a chatty primary teacher on long-service leave.
Jean-Robin assembles my fold-down bed - surprisingly comfortable - and I snuggled under a thick eiderdown, expecting no trouble sleeping.

Unfortunately, it is at least 1.00am before I nod off. At 5.30am I see the Saskatchwen/Manitoba border sign whiz pass my window...
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