For various reasons, this Thanksgiving we decided to celebrate the quintessential American holiday by going to Canada. These reasons had a lot more to do with both Mike and I having four days off in a row than anything intentionally ironic, but I’m always up for some unintentional irony. Plus, it seemed likely that traffic wouldn’t be too bad if we traveled on Thanksgiving Day itself, when everyone else in America who doesn’t work at Walmart was due to be sleeping off a food coma. (We got that one right, actually, although we did miscalculate about the ease of feeding ourselves on the road.)
You’d think that if we were going to Canada, we would go to Montreal, being as how it’s the closest large Canadian city to us. And you would be right, except that I speak passable French, and so does most of the population of Quebec, and it is Mike’s stated opinion that if we went to French-speaking Canada I would be obnoxious and speak French to them. The second part of this statement is probably true. We are in polite disagreement about the first. So instead, we went to Toronto. (My revenge was had when we turned on the TV and the first channel we landed on was in French.)
If you lay out a map of North America, Toronto and Massachusetts look reasonably close to each other. This is, in point of fact, a visual illusion which I blame largely on Texas. Toronto and Massachusetts are not close to each other.
When people talk about “small East Coast states”, they’re thinking of places like Rhode Island and Delaware, which are genuinely teeny. (Though Rhode Island is still large enough for some thought experiments.) The further south and west you go, the larger they get – and we were driving across the entirety of upstate New York. Again, contrary to popular expectation, there is a lot of upstate New York, at least if you’re measuring in units of land. Or cows.
I was weirdly excited about crossing the border, because I’d never crossed a land border before – I’ve been to a few countries, but in each situation either a) they were islands or b) I’d arrived and/or departed by train. (I have taken the Eurostar from England to France, but that’s certainly not a land border.) When you come from somewhere like New Zealand – where going overseas is a very literal term – the idea of one bit of land belonging to one country and one, contiguous bit to another is very…non-intuitive. In the event, it was pleasantly dull, which is exactly how I like my border crossings, but the sight of a toll-booth like thing officially demarcating two separate political entities was pretty much as bizarre as I’d expected it to be.
And so we entered the Other English-Speaking Country. When I get the rest of the photos sorted out, we can move on to my primary thesis re: Canada, namely, that it is Very Big (Arrogant Worms, 1997).