Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The End of All Things

Well, as the song goes 'Save the best til last'.

This was certainly the case with my last few days in Canada and traveling as a whole. We frequented the theatre to see Cyrano De Bergerac (mum and felt that if Cyrano had just told Roxane he loved her, it all would have worked out splendidly and she wouldn't have wasted her life in a convent, Dave thinks we don't get romance) and then had the most wondeful meal I ever had. Seriously. We went to this converted church and had a slap-up 3 courser. Every portion was small, but perfectly formed. The gastromical delights were astromical. I cannot actually describe to you how marvellous this meal was, but orgasm in a plate sums it up in the best and in the most word economical way.

After that we made another small journey to Fenelon Falls, Barbara's home town and location of their lake house. They called it a cottage, but trust me it was a house. A majestic 2 storey lakeside property with a small path to the lake and private deck. There was also a habitable boat house and small (purple!) boat. Most excitingly of all, Dave had erected a Scottish flag and I lay on the sun soaked deck, saluting the flag feeling very patriotic. Our weather wasn't too fantastic, but I managed a swim and we went on a jaunt on the afore-mentioned boat (I discovered I do not have sea legs) and when the rain did fall, we went for trips to nearby towns buying shoes and fresh vegetables. It was altogether a wonderful couple of days and I will look back upon them with great fondness.

Then the epic journey home began. It started with a 2 hour drive to the aiport and a slight panic when yet again they said I didn't have a seat on the plane, but actually did. Mum and I then said a fond farewell to Dave who had kindly been our taxi once again. Unfortunately, as always I then picked the wrong security queue and accidently 'volunteered' us to go through an experimental secuirity process which I can only describe as standing in a photo booth and getting a hair dryer blown in our faces. Quite how that detects bombs and the like, I am unsure. Anyway, there was some amusement had when the girls in front of us, that we had assumed were Polish/Russian because of how they spoke, turned out to be in fact incredible thick accented Glasweigens. I mean no wonder tourists in Scotland have trouble, these girls were incomprensible, like howling dogs on crack.

Anyway, the plane was on time and the 7 hours over the sea went slowly and without sleep, but it went. We then arrived in London with another 2 hour wait and then our final flight to Aberdeen. After a brief sit down with Grandpa, we then drove back. To illustrate how tired mum was I'll tell you this- she let me drive.

By the time we got to Dingwall we were both exhausted and it was about 5pm Scottish time, 11am Canadian with no sleep. However, the day wasn't over yet. I then met mum's new fancy man and was shown around her new house at the bottom of the hill (under renovation at present, not habitable). I also met one of the fancy man's dogs. Yes, one. He has five labradors. Indeed. After much sitting on by the dog, we returned to my childhood home and decided to have a take-away as by this stage, eating out or cooking were way beyond either of our abilities and in fact the capacity for rational thought was over. I stumbled to bed around 9pm with every intention of watching the some of the highly anticipated last season of Battestar Galactica (if anyone tells me who the last cyclon is, I will end you), but managed 10 minutes before I lapsed into a dreamless coma.

And that's it. Travels over, new life to now begin. However, before I can even think about my move I have to socialise solidly for a week and a half before I'm actually going to be in Dingwall long enough to form a sentence, let alone form a exit plan and job getting strategy. I will say this, after several notes of interest, I have decided to continue the blog. I will open it on a new page (or whatever its called) with a new name yet to be decided. So those of you who wish can continue following me, instead of around the world, around the interview table. I'll keep you posted (literally).

All there remains to say is this -to quote my favourite fictional character Samwise Gamgee (and in fact the final sentence from the Lord of the Rings)-

Well, I'm back.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Swansong with Shakespeare

So this is an unexpected pleasure. I wasn't sure I'd get another entry until I returned to the motherland.

Unfortunately, poor mum's flight was delayed by a couple of hours which meant instead of pacing around Toronto for some of the day, I paced around all day. However, Dave, mum's university friend who has been living here with his wife for 30 odd years had offered to pick her up. Dave and Barbara actually live a couple of hours away in a place called Stratford (more on that later), but he happened to be in town for a talk so offered to be a taxi service. Due to the delay of course this meant a lot of hanging about so we ate and talked about the theatre until mum's eventual arrival in the late evening.

It was quite odd seeing her as I, of course, haven't since before Christmas. Mum is not a natural traveller and that combined with the delay, she was quite wiped out, but much better than I had anticipated. Fortunately, I had managed, by sheer fluke, booked us the most marvellous hotel in Toronto, which apart from a view of a strip bar, was absolutely beautiful and most high class. The next day mum didn't feel too jet lagged so we decided to visit a place called Casa Loma- a massive castle like house built by an eccentric business man in the early 20th century that eventually bancrupted him and he had to give it to the state. Now, it was a lovely place with secret tunnels, grand fire places, magnificent garden and the like. Unfortunately it was filled with masses of small children on school trips. I think there were about 5 different trips all with about 50 kids each, all far too young to appreciate the aesthetics of the place, who proceeded to run around screaming, falling over and generally being vile and getting in my way. It was most disconcerting. We left there pretty quick as I just couldn't cope. We later when to a shoe museum which was far more civilised and had, well, lots of shoes so I was happy.

The next day we did a most untouristy thing and went to see the 6th Harry Potter which I very much enjoyed and was most amused to be sitting along from a chap who looked like a hippie version of Dumbledore and who kept bellowing wth laughter. After that we went shopping along the posh shops not buying anything. We popped into Tiffany's, but quickly scampered out as they kept trying to give us assistance and we became terrified they would discover we were in no way going to purchase anything.

After our time in Toronto we went to Niagara Falls via the Greyhound bus. Mum found coach travel very exciting which shows how little she goes out. On arrival at Niagara, I was very much reminded of Las Vegas. For those of you who recall, Vegas was not my favourite place. Well, the falls appeared to be much in the same vein. Masses of wax work museums, arcades, giant inflatable things and worst of children. Our hotel this time was not so nice, but bearable and we managed to find the one nice restuarant in town and had huge steaks and tiny puddings. We also had a pint of beer and mother who is not used to drinking became all affectionate and began to tell me how much she loved me. I then took her home.

The next day it was beautiful and sunny so we made our way past all the fast food places, tacky shops and children and got to the falls. Now, much like many hyped things (see Milford Sound) the falls were nice, but I didn't fall to my knees and bask in their ultimate glory. However, we walked along beside them and took the obligatory photos. We were then at a slight loss at what to do as it appeared if you don't want to spend your day haunted wax work museums, there wasn't much to do. However, I got the map out and discovered there was a cemetary not too far from our hotel. My mum and I are very morbid and we love a good graveyard so we ambled along there and spent the better part of the afternoon having a nosey at the names and design of the stones (FYI lots of Italians in Niagara). We also saw about a thousand variously coloured squirrlels and one chipmunk so that was exciting.

On the way home, a most curious thing happened. We were waiting for the green man when a police car drove past and bizarrely, his torch fell out of the window and rolled on the ground in front of us. I picked it up, but the police car kept going and wondered what to do I recalled we had seen a police station on our way to the cemetery so we dutifully walked back, torch in hand, but when we got there it was shut (4pm and shut!). So at a loss at what to do, we left the torch by the front door and walked away. A few minutes later as we just got out of shouting distance, we looked back and saw a police car pull up beside the station. A policeman got out and in a rather comical nature, looked about his person and in the front seat. This can only have been torch cop. I can only hope he found his lost item by the door. I expect if he did he must of wondered how and earth it had got there. I hoped this good karma would cause something nice to happen to us, but unfortunately it did not.

The next day, Dave again being a very kind taxi service picked us up from Niagara to take us to his home in Stratford. As we joined the highway, we were talking nineteen to the dozen and suddenly, police sirens and lights started flashing all around us! Dave had been accidently speeding and was being chased by the police! However, he did not in "Police Camera Action" or "Police Stop" programme try to make a rapid get away. Instead he pulled up and got his ticket (from a very nice policeman I might had, very polite). I wondered if I mentioned the torch story that he might let us off from the ticket, however I thought that might be testing things somewhat.

We made it without further incident to Stratford after that, which is a beautiful medium sized town, famed for its Shakespeare festival every year (in which Dave is a key organiser and his wife Barbara a participant). Dave and Barbara have a lovely home in a deeply quiet area and live with a 18 year old insanely fluffy and affectionate cat called Freebie. We went for dinner that evening and I had two glasses of wine and felt deeply drunk so I dread to think what I'll be like at my reunion the first weekend I'm home with all those hard core alcoholic doctor friends of mine. Anyway, today mum and I spent a lovely morning in another cemetary (lots of Scots in this one) followed by a shop in the wee quaint town which had a Scottish shop (but it didn't sell Irun Bru) . I forced mum to buy a dress and then she forced me to buy one to make it even. Our indulgence was then completed by consuming masses of chocolate cake and now we are quite sleepy.

The next few days are to be thus- dinners out, a theatre outing and then a trip to Dave and Barbara's cottage by the lake. From the photos I've seen it looks a most majestic affair and I promise to take lots of pictures.

And then I'll be heading on home. It seems bizarre to think in 5 days, I'll not only be back in Scotland, but back to Dingwall to spend my last few days in the family home as mum has sold up and will be in her new house by September. However, another new start is quite fitting I think. I am about to start another new journey in Edinburgh and in search of a new job and new life path. This year was supposed to be a period for thinking of these things, but to be honest I am no further forward in deciding what to do than when I left. However, this does not disturb me, instead I think it has given me preparation time to start thinking about things. If that makes any sense, and I suspect it does not.

Anyway, I'll see you all very soon with an empty bank account and a full photo album. I am very much looking forward to coming home and am ready for the motherland. The question is, is she ready for me?

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Final Countdown

Dah dee dah dah, dah dah dah da dah, dah dee dah da dee dah dah da The Final Countdown!

Does anyone actually know the rest of the words or in fact any other words at all of that song? Thank-you "Europe" for that classic one hit wonder. Yes, indeed in less than 12 days I shall be home, but I am getting ahead of myself, lets return to Quebec City...

Indeed, my last few entries have been a diatribe of whining and for that, I apologise. After being very melancholy in Quebec City, my final day there turned out to be quite pleasant. The sun shone and I wandered around looking at slightly old buildings with touch more enthusiasm. The next day I got my trains to Ottawa (I required a change in Montreal, oddly the price of getting these two trains was cheaper than the single trip from Montreal to Quebec City, odd indeed) and the only thing of note was a slightly peculiar Canadian man who asked if he could lift my rucksack. Not in chivalrous "let me carry that for you my good lady" but in a "how heavy is that" way. This wouldn't have been quite as peculiar if he hadn't had been sitting on the train station floor elastic banding 4 bamboo canes together to form a walking stick and (even though it was clear that English was his first language) that he insisting on speaking every other sentence in French even after I told him in my best accent "Je ne comprend pas, parlez vous Anglais?".

Anyway, I reached Ottawa and got a taxi to the hotel. I don't usually get taxis, not just for the cost, I just don't like them very much, all those interperosal skills you have to perform in a small enclosed space wth a stranger. But the train station was quite far away and there was no other means of getting to my destination. The taxi driver spoke English as a second language, I couldn't tell what his first language was and thus where he was from, but he could not grasp the concept that I wasn't English. I tried to explain to him where Scotland was and I got blank looks and he continued to say things such as "there's the English embassy". I bit my tongue and tried not to say "BRITISH Embassy". However, this isn't something too surprising, I have encountered it before many times. However, as I looked around Ottawa I noted that it is quite a Scottish place. A great deal of the street names are "MacDonald" "Elgin" and the like. Also on the main street across from the Parliament buildind there is a St Andrews Church with a massive Scottish flag outside so I actually became more offended in retrospect at the taxi drver for not seeming to even realise Scotland was a country.

This seemingly cultural naivety has continued in every destination in Canada in terms of getting ny name wrong. Oddly enough though, unlike other destinations where it is the receptionists who have, despite my 'Christie is my surname' spiel, made the error, it appears to be the booking service. In every hostel and hotel I have been at, the receptionist has listened to my Christie speach, but it is the computer that has me booked in as Christie Morag. Do the people reading the online boooking form, look at my name entry and go "hmm she has typed her name in backwards and again on the credit card page, I will correct it for her, silly girl" I just don't know. How do people called Craig Simon or Andrew Scott etc cope with this stuff. It's driving me batty.

Anyway, I arrived at my hotel and was delighted (despite the name error) to find it was a fabulous suite room with a little kitchenette with about ten towels and 8 pillows. Surfice to say I did spend a considerable amount of time in my suite watching "Law and Order" but I did venture out occasionally to see the city and found it to be a most pleasant place. The main attraction is the parliament building which is very impressive (Holyrood really should have taken note) and even better was that inbetween two of the buildings there was a stray cat sanctuary that sheltered and fed the homeless feline population (and a racoon). It seemed a very clean and safe place, though doubtless to say I'm sure it has its underbelly, but as capital cities go, it was one of the nicest I've been too.

The days quickly passed by and I was on a bus again for my final destination of Toronto, where I am now. Unfortunately for Canada's largest city, it is not making the best impression. There has been a bin men strike for three weeks and its beginning to show (and smell) on every street corner. It's a shame because, apart from that from what I've seen, it appears to be a well laid out tourist friendly place.

The exciting news is that tomorrow evening my mother should be here to enjoy the stench with me. I say 'should' be because every other holiday my mother attempts to go on, there is always some drama. I wouldn't be at all surpised if evil monkeys hijacked her plane and forced it to land in Alaska. So fingers crossed until she has actually arrived on Candian soil.

I suspect this may be my penultimate entry. Once mum arrives, it'll be a few days in Toronto followed by Niagara Falls and finally a few days in a family friend's log cabin in the wilds somewhere so I'm not sure when I'll get the chance to write again. I promise to do a "I'm back!" entry to give this blog some closure and a well rounded finish (I did a prologue at the beginning, it seems literally correct to do an epilogue). I'm really looking forward to it too, after the generally good times had by all in NYC with Anthony, I anticipate such times ahead for Toronto. A fitting way to finish my adventures; to go home with, rather than to, my mother!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Moaning in Montreal and Quitting in Quebec.

As the title suggests, Montreal did not do much to lift my spirit. Well, that's not strictly true, it was a pleasant enough city, but my shear determination to remain solitary prevailed. I spent much of Montreal dodging the rain as the thunder storm that followed me around the east coast of the US had also followed me here.

Montreal is a French Canadian city, but it is incredibly Anglicised so any attempts I made to speak in my bastardised school girl French were quickly thwarted by the person I was speaking to replying to my feeble attempts in word perfect English. So I gave up and much like in Holland, just spoke in English without attempting any further embarrassing dialogue.

Now, what did I do? Right, well I went to see their world famous Notre Dame (oh what an imaginative name for a church) and had to pay to see it which immediately put my back up. It's main claim to fame though was that Celine Dion got married there a few years ago so that really should have put me off. I was underwhelmed. After all my exploits, its got to be a great big church with bells on to impress me. However, Montreal had a trick up its sleeve in terms of fabulous churches go. One morning as I dragged myself from bed thinking what to do that day (my enthusiasm is so refreshing, is it not?) two of the girls in the room were discussing this giant church dedicated to Saint Joseph. Now for those of you not familiar with the Catholic faith, Saint Joseph was Jesus' step-father (essentially) and he is the patron Saint of Canada. After hearing that it was very large and shiney, my interest was piqued and later that day I went for a look see.

Well, this is how its done. The church itself was a massive , huge, enormous affair right on top of a hill. There were so many steps leading up to the main entrance there was actually a free shuttle bus to the door. In the middle of the stone steps there was a section of metal staircase roped off. This was so the dedicated , faithful few could ascend the staircase on their knees- ouch. If that wasn't fabulous enough, the church was actually split into two levels. The lower level had a statue of Saint Joseph surrounded by what can only have been about a thousand candles and round the back of him was the tomb of a priest they are trying desperately to get cannonized (it never said what he did anywhere so I can't tell you if I reckon he was worthy, because I am of course the leading expert on such matters). People were all over this priest's tomb, praying and crying. It was all very dramatic. Then came the inners of the main Cathedral. Now in my experience 'new' Cathedrals i.e. not the ones built in Italy in the 17th Century, tend to try and emulate their superior European sisters, but fail (much like the Notre Dame). However, this cathedral had said 'to hell with that' or perhaps something more Christian, and instead had a very modern concrete type design. Instead of marble or bronze statues, it had these bizarre elongated wooden pillar like effigies all around the walls. It was curious and I absolutely loved it. If I lived in Montreal and a Catholic I would definitely go this church on a Sunday. It rocked. You know, as far as churches go.

Sorry, that's a bit of rant, but it really was nice. Another unique thing about Montreal is it has an underground shopping centre. It is so big you can get a map to help you round. I did not get a map and got hopelessly lost. It is multi-layered and goes on forever. So much so that the damn shops get repeated after a while and that was my down fall. I kept ending up at the bottom of a going down escalator when I wanted to go up. It took me about 45 minutes to eventually make my escape. It was very traumatic. And I didn't buy anything.

Nothing particularly dramartic (like being accosted at breakfast by overly keen Germans) occurred in Montreal and I'm struggling to remember what I actually did there. The answer to that is not very much, just my usual reading, seeing stuff, chatting to folk type affairs. It was a nice city, but not as nice as I had anticipated. In my brain, I assumed Canada would be a better, shiney, cleaner, safer cousin of the USA. This idea was mainly brought about by the fact that they don't allow guns here so for some reason I thought by crossing the border all the 'bad people' would suddenly cease to exist. But of course, like any major city, there are poor areas and homeless people. They don't magically disappear just because you can't buy a gun in a supermarket (although there were fewer homeless people). Not to say Montreal was a dirty, sewage strewn brothel, it just wasn't the Disney fairyland I was expecting.

Anyway, after that I caught the train. Now this is when I really should have learned to read my guide book before I go somewhere. You'd think after all this time, I would know better, but there is no fool like an old fool. Quebec City was my next stop. I thought "ah old, French CITY' That'll be a nice, sizable place to go visit for 4 days. The name lies. If Quebec is a city then so is Dingwall. It is so small. There is nothing to do. Okay, there are a couple of museums, a large old battlefield and a wall. So that was day one. Days 2 and 3 have been a struggle. Tomorrow, mercifully is my final day here and fingers crossed there might actually be some sun. I'm very good at wasting time, but wasting time in a place where it is pouring with rain and there are no English book shops, theatres or cinemas is a real struggle as unlike Montreal, Quebec is majorly French. In addition to that, everyone in the hostel appears to be either a teenager from a school trip or a small child on a family holiday. I've never been in such a 'family' orientated hostel. I got booted off the TV by two small French children who wanted to watch a French cartoon, the content of which appeared to be a bunch of robots in Ancient Egypt raiding a pyramid. And when I said 'J'appelle Morag' in my bestest French, the little f**ker corrected my pronunciation.

So, not feeling Quebec City love. But then I didn't feel Montreal love or Boston love, so perhaps rather than the places, it is my mind. I am longing for the mother country now, these final few weeks are beginning to take their toll. I feel especially antisocial, taking my book everywhere in the vain hope people won't speak to me, not taking part in hostel activities in case, horror of horrors, someone might like me and ask me to do something with them. So how am I remedying this unhealthy pattern of behaviour? Am I forcing myself to smile and make polite conversation in the kitchen? Hell no, when I go to Ottawa at the weekend I've treated myself to a bargain hotel (thanks so I can wallow in complete solitude before heading on to Toronto to meet my mother. Ah, I predict a Law and Order marathon in my future and eating crisps in bed! I know what living is!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Boston Blues

After the excitement of New York and seeing Anthony, despite thinking myself a strong independent woman, I found myself very melancholy when I reached Boston. This possiblity was not helped by the fact I spent the entire jounery cramped next to rather large woman with a medium sized baby on her knee. The creature did not cry which was fortunate, but did keep tryign to suck on my jumper and dribbled on me.

After the trauma of that, it is no wonder that my enjoyment of Boston was limited. Which is not to say Boston is not a nice place, far from it. But alas, my heart so renewed after my time with Anthony, fell into sight-seeing apathy and I found myself very unenthusiastic. Despite this I did try and force myself to have fun and did the touristy things, but with a heavy heart. I wandered the freedom trail throught the city and learned estentially, the Brits are complete bastards. I went to Harvard and looked at pretty buildings and pretended I was in Dawson`s Creek or some other such marvellous programme. I went to the rather fabulous Isablla Stewart Gardner museum which actually did pique my interest so I will tell you a little more about ut.

Now, the background is I have recently been reading a couple of books on art crime, both theft and forgery ( I am like soooo intellectual) and in the theft book it mentioned the museum. the museum was bequethed to the state by the lady, Isabella, after countless years of collecting and under strict instructions NOTHING was to be changed about the lay out. She had designed the house herself, a rich lady of the early 20th centruy and its crowning glory was the the central open air courtyard and more importantly to the art world, one of the rare Vermeers and the ONLY seascape by Rembrante (known). In 1994, three masked thieves broke in, tied up the security guards and stole 300 million dollars worth of art and amongst other things, the two aforementoned paintings. On their way out they told the guards `you`ll be hearing from us`. But no one ever has and none of the haul has been seen since.

Knowing this, I was interested in seeing the museum and was most delighted by its layout. Because Isabella (who by the way also made the clause, if your name was Isabella- same spelling- you could get in for free, what a lady!) had said nothing can be changed, where the Vermeer and the Rembrante should be are just two empty frames. Very haunting looking upon those hollowed spaces, imagining where the pictures are now. Have they been destroyed? Are they in a rich`s man house adorning the walls? What has become of them!?

Anyway, so that was fun.

A bit out of sequence I realise, but I also want to tell you about anther thing that may have made me a tad grumpy during my time in Boston, the tale of the early morning German. In the hostel I was at, there was a free breakfast served in the rather cramped kitchen. I like breakfast, I feel it is an important meal and hey it was free, so my 2nd morning there I wandered down, bleary eyed, grumpy, but craving a cup of tea. Now as I mentioned- grumpy plus it was morning so extra grumpy. All I wanted was my cereal and my cup of tea and to be left in peace. This was not to be. A rather unattractive, young chap started talking to me. The usual `where are you from stuff` nothing suspect. Being the polite perosn I am (ha ha) I responded appropriateyl, but I think not overly so. He then makes the delightful statement Ì like Scottish people`then launches into a story about some he knows. I find when the entire nation is swept up into this braod umbrella of niceness, the person saying the statement is usually an arsehole. That observation turned out to be true once again. During his diatribe about getting drunk with some Scots, he somehow manages to slip in he`s a lawyer (wow I am sooooooooo impressed), then he slips in `what are you doing today`then quite unexpectedly asks if I played sports. Em, no. Do I play an instrument. Em, no. Then he suddenly says òh you must do something like that, you look so fantastic`. Right mate. Its 9am, I`m depressed, I recently cut my own hair whilst drunk and I`m wearing baby blue jeans I bought on impulse in Gap. I do not look good.

I told him that I do nothing of interest and mainly I just sit about and try to cease to exist and quickly made my excuses and went to go clean my cup and he followed me. Despite him telling me he has already been to Harvard (I had told him I had planned to go there today) he says `I am going there, we should go together`. I look at him incredulously. This ugly, pompous German lawyer and think there is possibly nothing else in this world I would rather not do than spend time with him. I do not say this instead I try and palm him off this some crap about using the internet. He persists. I then just say `no I`d ratherr go by myself`. His little ugly face falls and he quickly washes his cup and walks away. I am suddenly hit with an immense feeling of regret and guilt (though not enough to go out with him). This stays with me the whole day, this feeling that I`ve broken his little German heart and even though I was mightily relieved not to have spent the day with an ugly pompus German who tries to pick up girls at breakfast (I mean not even a bar!) , I still feel bad. Of course for the next two days he is the only person I keep consistently seeing around the hostel and subsequently find myself peering around corners to check he`s not there. There is no better way to deal with guilt than to hide from it. You can quote me on that.

Anyway so that was Boston.

Fortunately, like all things, the time there ended and I found myself on another bus, this time to Montreal and fortunately with no slobbery babies. However, on the bus were two elderly siblings, Betty and Billy from none other than Aberdeen! And proper Aberdonians they were too. Billy was a retired science teacher from Aberdeen Grammer and was delighted to hear that my mother was a High School girl- although he told me since it went comprehensive it was been decided `mixed`. Billy was a great old boy, one of those fantastic old men wo doesn`t listen to a word you say, but instead rattles off stories about people you don`t know like they were your family and tells you terrific antedotes about his health prolems. Fantastic. Betty herself is a keen marathon runner, I tell you, you would not think that to look at her, I was most impressed. Apparently, she did the Boston marathon the year that 2/3rds (or something like that) of the participants collapsed due to the heat, but she managed to finish. They were great crack and I was sorry when they got off the bus in Vermont.

The rest of the journey was decided uneventful although I did get a bit of a grilling from the border control man (in a French accent) `you are travelling alone ??`like I was smuggling a child in my rucksack or something- trust me nothing could be snuck in, there is no room left for anything else!

So here I am finally in Canada, my last destination. My swan song country. My last hurrah. I am looking forward to exploring here, my fear of being shot dead is much less than in the US. Although, I am looking forward to being home where the keyboards are not French and I can actually find the apostrophe key and not have to use some weird dash thing, apologises people.