Saturday, 10 November 2007
|2004 - Not quite like the US|
Well, I'm home from Canada. No, it's not quite just like the US. That's what you would expect, of course...
I wound up driving 858 kilometers, or about 533 miles. The majority of that was on the Trans-Canada Highway. It's not like a US Interstate, once you get outside Calgary; it's more like a US highway: four lanes, grade crossings, the occasional on/off-ramp, and there was one honest-to-goodness railroad crossing at grade on the part I drove on. The speed limit was 110 km/h, or just under 70 MPH, so I locked it on cruise at the speed limit and settled back to enjoy the drive. I'll note that locking it on cruise at 110 seemed a bit weird to me until I did the conversion. Alberta makes extensive use of red light and radar enforcement by automated camera, an additional incentive to keep the speed down.
I wound up using all of the Canadian money I got while I was there, and returned with a measly 46 cents in Canadian change. Despite the surging Canadian dollar, prices were still higher numerically than comparable stuff would have been in the US. The biggest disparity was in the price of fuel: the 40.2 liters of regular I bought for C$40 turned out to be US$4.14/gallon. Yipe. Good thing I wasn't paying it.
I tried hard not to use my cellphone, and left the iPhone's data roaming turned off the entire time I was there to avoid astronomical bills. Even so, I suspect there'll be a nasty surprise on my cellphone bill next month.
Yes, melissasutton, I got you an Alberta postcard. I couldn't find a Medicine Hat card, though.
The people were friendly, and I'd have been surprised if it had been any other way. The accents were a bit strong at times, and I found myself asking people to repeat themselves a lot - which irritated me (not at them, at myself). Yes, Canadians do say "eh?" a lot; don't let them tell you any different.
Customs and Immigration was a non-issue. Once again, I saw how friendly foreign Immigration officers can be; the Canadian officer was very helpful, and let me in even though I didn't have the documentation I should have (a letter from my employer saying why I was going and for how long). He even gave me advice on driving in Alberta.
I'm glad to be home. Even though it's not too different, it's not the US, and I'm just more comfortable in a place I know.
current mood: tired
You must not have been on I70. 4 lanes... The only place it might be more is central Denver.
I admit, I haven't taken it any east of the Kansas border though.
There are lots of 4-lane Interstates; I-90 past Fairmont is (as it is pretty much all the way through Minnesota, plus or minus a few miles through Austin). It's the grade crossings and such that make it different.
Ahh. We do generally run those over or under the interstates here. Are there stoplights along it? If no, then it'd be sort of a hybrid. The US highways here have lots of stoplights. :(
I can send you a postcard from the Hat eh.
Just let me know
Glad you got home safe.