A Traffic Jam With a View


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North America » Canada » British Columbia » Whistler
August 24th 2018
Published: August 25th 2018
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Russian PastriesRussian PastriesRussian Pastries

The Piroshky, Piroshky bakery.
It was our last day in Seattle today, but before we left we went for a late breakfast / early lunch at the Russian pastry shop. Being that bit later there was a queue outside, which was almost as long as the queue at the Starbucks next door. The reason for the long queue at the Starbucks is that it is ‘the’ original Starbucks, dating back to the 1970s and a place where people are obviously keen to order some coffee.

Today we were driving to Whistler in Canada, which should take about four hours. There was a bit of convoluted driving in Seattle (not as much as when we went to Everett), but once we got on the Interstate 5 it was just a matter of just keep going until we reach the border.

The border was a lot busier than when we last crossed between the US and Canada from Maine to Quebec. There were signs notifying us of a 25 minute wait, but there were several check-points and it was actually a lot quicker than that. There was also a lot less questioning than last time, when they seemed to want to know our entire life
StarbucksStarbucksStarbucks

The original Starbucks shop.
history (see Sharing Our Entire Life History). This time, he seemed to be more interested in the car than he was in us. Unlike last time, he never asked us if we had any guns. Given that we were coming from Washington State, it was also surprising that he didn’t ask us whether we had any drugs.

The first difference that we noticed when we got into Canada is that they are obliged to use French as well as English (behind the English of course). The second difference is that all the distances and speeds are now in km rather than miles, which caused us a bit of a panic as the car’s speedo only showed mph. However, after a bit of playing with the car’s settings we managed to change it all over to Km/h. Phew.

We drove round the edge of Vancouver (we’ll be back there later) and then on to Whistler. Vancouver looks like it is in a stunning setting, surrounded by mountains, however the scenery got more and more spectacular as we headed north towards Whistler. Once we got to Whistler, there was a nine mile traffic jam, which we were not expecting, although it was no hardship
Cannabis ShopCannabis ShopCannabis Shop

At least in California they pretended it was for medical reasons.
- basically more time to enjoy the scenery.

The French also seemed to have been replaced by some other unrecognisable language, which we are assuming is the local Inuit language. We must try and find out.

We stopped at a Canadian supermarket to stock up on some groceries. The boy who was at the till to pack our bags was clearly expecting a tip. The thing that we hate most about America (having to tip everybody for everything) is obviously at least as bad here.

We also filled up with petrol. Luckily, we realised that the green, red and black pumps do not mean the same as they do in the UK. Green is diesel. Black is petrol, with three options for the grade of petrol. Red is some sort of premium petrol. We also needed to decide in advance how much we wanted, which, given that we were not completely familiar with the cost and the currency, did result in some serious, indecisive and confused debate. We left with just over half a tank. I didn’t pay myself a tip.

Petrol is about the only thing that seems cheap out here at the moment.
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Entering Canada and British Columbia - the best place on Earth, apparently.

Beside the road, called the Sea to Sky Highway, there were a number of places called ‘chain-up areas’. It is compulsory to have the right tires and/or snow chains from 1 October to 31 March. It is hard to believe that this whole country is completely covered in snow for at least six months of the year. We struggle enough when it’s just one day and then we’re glad to see the back of it.

Our accommodation is an apartment rather than a hotel room, which is fantastic as it means we have separate rooms, a lounge and a little kitchen (hence the additional groceries earlier, although my wife has made it quite clear that there will be no cooking). There are also some bar-b-qs that we could rent - but probably not. A takeaway may be an option to save the cost of eating out every night.

The apartments are beside what, in the winter, would be a ski-run, so we walked down that to the Upper Village for something to eat.

Now that we are no longer in the states, our son found it extremely frustrating that he could not have any alcohol, given the
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The traffic jam into Whistler and signs with a language that we don’t think is French.
21 year minimum drinking age. In Canada, he is able to have a beer again, as the minimum age in British Columbia is 19 (the different states are a mix of 18 and 19).

We got some drinks from the bar whilst we were waiting for a table. We paid by card and the card machine gave us no option but to leave a tip.

It was a considerably harder walk (climb) back to the apartment, not helped by the fact that it was pitch-black.

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