So after spending last week in popular tropical vacation destination, Detroit, Michigan and its surrounding areas, we have crossed the border into Canada. We’re spending the next ten days here and I’ve shut my cellphone off so as not to incur any insane charges. I called Sprint to ask how much a phonecall from Canada would be and the customer service representative informed me that she would be happy to change my plan to International Roaming for only $1,000,000. I decided to stick with my American plan and shut the phone off while I’m here. I think it was a wise choice since Sprint seems to charge me extra money simply for thinking words like “Canada”.
Canada has always been a near and dear friend, a place that welcomed me with open arms while I attended college at the nearby University at Buffalo. It was a place where the American dollar was actually worth something and more importantly, a place where you could drink legally at age 19. Any bad day in Buffalo was made a little bit better by getting in the car in the dead of winter and crossing the Rainbow Bridge to the Land of Universal Healthcare.
I remember being lectured at Freshman Orientation by the head of the Honors Program, Dr. Josephine Capuana. “Josie” as she was called by her peers, would eyeball us intensely with a threatening glare and speak about the dangers of going into Canada to drink. She incorporated curse words into the speech, for dramatic effect and probably shock value, as she fulminated against the decision to cross the border to get “shit-faced drunk”.
“You have no rights at the border!” Josie Capuana bellowed, the veins bulging out of her neck. “They can search your belongings, they can search your car, they can search you…internally.” I doubt this speech prevented any single freshman from going over to Canada though maybe some of us thought twice about smuggling drugs in our various orifices. Either way, we all found it highly amusing and it came up in conversation throughout my college career. “Josie says don’t go to Canada,” I would tell my friends and in unison we would shout, “TO GET SHIT-FACED DRUNK!”
For the record, I have never been shit-faced drunk. Also, though the Honors Department told me that majoring in musical theatre wasn’t a worthwhile academic goal, it did provide me with blog material. And for that, I am grateful.
We made it into Canada pretty easily and by easily I mean that the Americans didn’t sign all of Margot’s paperwork, requiring us to go through customs and then park at a warehouse on the Canadian side so the van could be searched. We then waited for Margot to go meet with a broker, go BACK to the States to have the paperwork signed and then re-enter Canada with all the paperwork intact. If this was not completed in a “timely fashion”, we were informed that we would be fined $1,000. Everything worked out in the end and it only cost us two hours of waiting in a van playing Madlibs.
The itinerary we were given lists the hotels that we are staying at and the cost so that we are prepared in advance. The hotels in Canada are higher in price than any of the American hotels we’ve stayed at and we were assured that it was alright because hey! It’s in Canadian dollars! Awesome.
Now, when I was in college, way back before leggings were reintroduced to society, if something cost $10 Canadian, you could rest-assured that it was the equivalent of no more than $6 or $7 dollars. The exchange rate was pretty decent and I was eager to come here, knowing that I would be spending a lot less money. But then we crossed the border. And I kid you not, I looked up and saw a sign that read “MONEY EXCHANGE HERE. 10 CENTS FOR EVERY AMERICAN DOLLAR. “
I’m sorry, I must be going blind, what did that say? TEN CENTS FOR EVERY DOLLAR!??!!? WHAHAAHAHAHAHA!?!? And I dissolved into a mixture of hysterical laughter and tears, not quite processing the information. Margot had to spell it out for me.
Margot: So, if you spend ten Canadian dollars, it’s only nine American.
Me: *sputtering* But…but…that’s impossible! That’s….like…NOTHING!
Margot: Well, yes. Kind of.
Me: KILL THE QUEEN!
Sooo, who can I blame this on? I don’t really want to blame Canada because they have health insurance for everyone! And maple syrup! And cute immigration officers! So. Can I blame our economy? Our God-fearing president? WHO WHO? I need someone to blame because I feel incredibly old saying “Back when I was young, the exchange rate was SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS.” But sadly, it’s true.
So, we’re in Canada. I keep reminding my castmates not to drink the water but for some reason, they aren’t listening. The saddest part of all is that I will be spending Thanksgiving here in this foreign, foreign land. Is nothing sacred? I can’t even celebrate America’s greatest holiday, where we remember that we kicked people off their land and onto the Trail of Tears. Where’s my sweet potatoes!? Where’s my aunt being moody in the corner?! WHERE’S THE MAIZE!?
Not here, folks. Not in Canada. Here they use the Metric system, which caused me to run very slowly on the treadmill yesterday as I tried to figure out exactly how to convert kilometers to miles. When the machine prompted me to enter my weight in kilograms I entered the maximum, 136 kgs because I had no idea. Apparently, 136 kilograms is the equivalent of 299.2 pounds. That could be why, after a 40 minute run, according to the treadmill, I burned over 750 calories! Weighing 299.2 pounds rocks!