Canada Allrighty

Trip Start May 24, 2005
Trip End Aug 20, 2005

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Thursday, July 21, 2005

Canada Allrighty! The Canadians are lovely people an over here in the west they finish almost all of their sentences with "Allrighty" or "Yeaah" So my quick visit to Canada was to take a tour of the Canadian Rockies. The tour was Moose Tour which caters to backpackers on budget. Where everybody piles onto a mini bus, where we have picnic lunches and stay at hostels. The hostel were of varying facilities e.g. from places with cafes and Internet access to places without running water and to quote one Oz girl "Oh MY GOD a drop dunny" otherwise known as a hole in the ground with a shed. Which lead to an interesting question, if you were on the toilet and bear came, would you try to jump over the bear or would you hide down the toilet? :-) But saying that the place with the drop dunny was lovely, there was no TV or phones but huge communal couches, board games, where I found I lost at the "Game of Life" :-),plenty of books and magazines. They also had a very relaxed cashier i.e. "hey man if you can pay me the dollar that would be great but if you can't pay me the dollar that also great" that coupled with the fact that you had to walk around indoors in your socks, gave the place a very mellow feel, which was wonderful.
Well what can I say about British Columbia /Alberta that they have really big mountains, really big, from 10,000 ft to 14,000 ft. Yet again the sense of space is enormous in this country. The scenery is spectacular with ice caps, glaciers, soaring mountains and deafening waterfalls. Some of the wildlife is big too! You are constantly reminded that you are in Bear country and that they are wild! There was the usual cautionary tales from our driver of a mother who saw a bear and decided to smear her six year old daughter's hand in honey so the bear could lick if off. Unfortunately the bear bit instead of licked and she lost her arm.
I meet some of the nicest people on the tour who were chatty, friendly and considerate. The people were mix of English, Irish, Ozzies, Kiwis, French, Germans and Swiss. All of them were well travelled and well able to tell stories. As a group we were nice to each other and always made sure everybody made it back onto the bus. At one event we went Kayaking on a lake, where we were taught the correct way to paddle and how to do a "wet exit". I am not fond of water to say the least but if you're in kayak you should know how to rescue yourself and others. So my wet exit was like this. I decided to tip over my kayak by leaning to one side, which happen rather quicker than expected. So there I am, sideways, surround by dark cold water. I then pulled my feet free and the life jacket pulled me to the surface. So after some panting and splashing I grab my kayak (paddle long since gone, which I should have held onto but hey I am used to being up that creek without a paddle :-) and work my way down to the end. I leaned on the end a couple of times, so I could lift the kayak out of the water and drain the water out. Then I twisted the kayak around so it was the right way up. I sort of hopped/splashed/swam to the centre of the kayak. Then I had to grab the edge of the hole/seat of the kayak, where I jumped, wriggled, kicked and finally belly flopped onto my kayak. I have to say not the prettiest of sights or my most graceful moment but if felt damn good to be back in my wobbly kayak. One of the nicest things was the group were very supportive of each other and we all cheered and clapped every wet exit and soggy entrance. Even when just paddling about everybody checked to see that everyone was doing ok, this is great.
So folks that is all for the moment just to say that one of the local delicacies is "poutain" which is chips with cheese and covered in gravy, very satisfying after a few pints. Oh and the freight trains here are incredibly long 100+ wagons with a couple of engines, so you definitely do not wish to get caught at a level crossing with one of those boys doing 25 mph.
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