O Canada IIPosted: November 30, 2012
I’ve been in Canada for about six weeks now, and have some new observations on my adopted home.
Canadians are still (based upon my experience) generous and courteous people, who will often go out of their way to help you. However, I have found lots of rude people, just like anywhere else. It happens particularly often on the C-Train, or local transit rail system. Going to work during morning rush hour, it is often impossible to get on the trains, because some bozo insists on standing in the doorways, instead of moving down the aisles to let more people on. I feel like saying to them “Hey, don’t you know you’re letting your countrymen down?” Clearly not, as most people are pretty good at that kind of thing. There must be a special bus of these people, that decants one stop up from me, to put them in my way. Paranoid? Me? But of course! Some segments of the city have a clear substance abuse problem, though if I didn’t get on and off the train in a particular part of town, it wouldn’t be so obvious. I did have one guy walking along behind me, wringing his hands and saying “Kill him. Kill him” while looking at me. That wasn’t too friendly.
Weather-wise, it has become a lot colder, and looks as though winter, which apparently lasts for about eight months, has sunk its teeth into Calgary. Funnily enough, it might be about -14C, but unless the wind blows, it doesn’t feel much different from when I was growing up as a kid in Midlothian with bad winters in the 80s. However, when the wind blows, then the temperature really drops, becoming painful on exposed skin, and doing bad things to your nose. It’s definitely not a place I would want to be caught withough gloves or a warm jacket. As I write this, the last few days of November are passing, and the Bow River, running through the centre of Calgary, is beginning to freeze over. The large plates of ice are still fragile at this point, and when they break up, it looks like a plate tectonic map of the world. At least, I think so! As the train leaves downtown, it rises up, and gives a beautiful view of the Rockies, sometimes lit up by the rising sun. Calgarians tend to be a bit nonchalant about these big lumps of rock out to the west, but I think they’re lucky to live in such a beautiful place.
The city itself has a distinct character, but it’s hard to pin down exactly what it is. There is an interesting mix of old and new buildings, and a wide range of ethnic food opportunities. I had Vietnamese food for lunch today, and that is becoming a firm favourite, along with Vietnamese coffee with condensed milk. Canada seems to be founded largely on immigrants, and is certainly richer for the influx of various groups of people. Pubs and bars are another thing that reminds me of the differences between here and the UK. I was recently in a pub in Eau Claire, the Barley Mill, and it had all of the best bits of a British pub, but with a uniquely Canadian atmosphere. Not too loud, even though it was full of people at the weekend, sports on TV but not too obtrusive. Good Canadian beers, and decent food. It was also not so brightly lit that you felt under the spotlight. Drinking here is different, in that you don’t pay until the end of the evening, and they serve you at the table. Now that is civilisation!
So, in summary, do I still like it here? Yes. Do I like the people? Certainly. Calgary has a super-abundance of pretty girls and I love it. The non-pretty and non-girl population is generally amiable. Am I happy here? Definitely. Barring disasters, I can see this being home for an awful long time. I’m beginning to understand why so many people apply for citizenship. More from Moose-land when it happens. This is the Loose Moose signing off, for sure 🙂