Saturday morning I left Kansas City, headed for Cleveland. Sunday was Cleveland to Montréal. Google estimated this would take 22 hours if we didn’t stop.
Well we did stop.
All told, excluding hotel time, we took 34 hours. This is not actually a bad thing, as we played about 14 different pinball machines, drove through downtown Chicago and Toronto (which were NOT in Google’s directions), and had a total blast. I’ll talk more about pinball in a later post.
This one is to share the observations upon crossing the border.
For one, crossing the border was eerily easy. Handed a guy my passport, answered a few questions about why I was coming in to the country, and declared there were no weapons, tasers, or bear traps (?).
After waiting an hour to cross bridge and border, we stopped at a rest stop for the usual reasons. Approaching the vending machine full of American Coca-cola branded products, I noticed a slight difference from home: there was no bill slot. But the price showed $2, which I assumed was Canadian. What an oversight! Someone’s gotta bring 8 quarters with them to buy a drink from your machine?
My hands went searching through my pockets impulsively, nevertheless. I happened upon some Canadian coins I had brought from home. Behold! A weird $2 coin! It all made sense in a flash.
The dollar and two dollar coins confuse me briefly. When I paid cash at a convenience store later, I was expecting a couple singles, he hands me coins, and I just stare at my hand for a second, wondering what it is I’m expecting. Then a second later I remember there’s big coins here. Real big. Worth whole dollars.
And no pennies!!!
Lastly, let’s talk about the units. If I see something in kilometers, I can quickly convert. If I see a temperature, I can quickly convert. But ratios are not kind when they start stacking.
Two times when I went to buy something, I realized how much I expect to have the ability to gauge if something is relatively expensive. Because once the soda bottle was $2 (Canadian), for 500 mL, I had no idea how that stacked up.
And when I paid 89 cents a liter for diesel, in Canadian cents, it’s like:
Uh… 4 liters to a gallon or so, USD are about 3/4ths CAD, uh… That’s expensive? I think?
Lastly lastly, now that I’m in Quebec, the prevalence of French is a blast. English is on a lot of signs and printed goods, but it’s second. And on the highway there was no English anywhere.