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Published: September 5th 2019
We’re definitely still in Canada. It’s twenty one degrees outside and the hotel receptionist and a Canadian guest are complaining about the “boiling” heat.
We head out for a farewell breakfast with Emma and Michael. We’ve noticed that they seem to go for large food servings here in Canada. I’m not that hungry so I try to order the smallest item on the menu, which I hope is a fried egg on a small piece of toast. It comes out as two fried eggs surrounded by a sea of fried potatoes, a bunch of grapes, half a pineapple, and a piece of rockmelon. There’s no room on the plate for the two large pieces of toast drowned in butter, so that lot comes out separately. At least some of it’s healthy, and if it has to include things I didn’t really want at least some of them are potatoes; I‘m partial to a good potato, and Canadian fried potatoes are right up there with the very best. Issy isn‘t that hungry either, but there’s also no sparing her. She gets a pile of semi-healthy looking goodies served in a bowl that we would normally sit in the middle of the dining table if we were having a dinner party.
We reflect on our impressions of Canada. If we had to summarise it would be unbelievably polite people, stunning mountain scenery, very large vehicles, enormous food helpings, and excellent fried potatoes. It’s a bit sad that two of the five are related to food. While we’re on the subject of sad, we come to the inevitable moment when we need to say goodbye to Emma. This is very emotional, although that said we feel an awful lot happier about her being here now that we’ve seen her environment, and spent time with Michael and his parents. We know they will all look after her very well.
We set off on the long drive back to Calgary airport. We can see now why Michael suggested we take the road along the foothills when we drove from Banff to Lethbridge. The main highway is long, flat and straight, and right up there with the road from Melbourne to Geelong on our newly compiled list of the world’s most boring thoroughfares.
We arrive in Vancouver and start the arduous process of entering the US of A. We put our passports and fingerprints into a machine, and it takes our photos. We then stand in a queue so a burly and very serious looking gent from the ominously named Department of Homeland Security can repeat the process. This is very intimidating. We think we’ve finished, but he calls me back. He then tells me to go, before calling me back again. He then tells me that he’s only fooling with me. I think the American sense of humour may take some getting used to. Unless something really strange has happened we’re still in Vancouver Airport, but we pass a sign with four very large military style flags hanging limply next to it telling us that we’ve entered the United States. The only things missing are a military band playing the Star Spangled Banner and a life size cardboard cutout of the Donald. I think I need to get all this out of my system before we get to Honolulu. I read somewhere that only a little over 30% of Hawaiians voted for the Donald; I wonder if I’ll be able to tell who they are just by looking at them. Hopefully at least a few of them will have seen the light by now.
I thought Melbourne’s airport was a bit dated, but Honolulu makes it look like they knocked it up last weekend. I came to Honolulu with my mother nearly fifty years ago and I reckon the airport looks the same now as it did then. Even the ATM looks like something out of the 1970s. Did they have ATMs in the 1970s? The baggage carousel looks like it’s been designed specifically to destroy suitcases. They slide onto it at breakneck speed down a precipitously steep ramp before coming to a sudden stop as they smash into a wall. Good luck to anyone who’s packed anything breakable.
We met up with our eldest son Scott who arrived here early this morning, and will be spending the week here in Hawaii with us. It’s great to see him again after nearly three months.
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