Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Travel's on Greyhound and other fun!

Hello blog readers,

it is I, your semi sane and always inquisitive friend, and I have news for you. I have made it back, all in one piece with more wear and no tear. The trip was fantastic. The people I met were sweet and a very interesting bunch, and there are stories to be told.

The stories include rants, and so I want to begin with one...two..or three:

"Made in China"

the above says it all, almost everything in all the 'knick-knack' shops was made in China. All the stuff that looks local and handmade is deceiving, because every time my heart would jump and my thoughts center on "finally something made by local artists that I can afford", I would flip the thing over and there it would be. The engraving/sticker signaling it was made by the ever productive hands of China.

Now I'm no cheapo when it comes to local crafts, but then again I also do not have $400-4000 dollars to drop on an original photograph of a bear. This then became part of my impromptu trip-goal: find local arts and crafts that I can afford. The end of which centered on bringing back local beer (Bear Paw), local soap (Canmore Soap Co.), and chocolate (Le Chocolatier). The most local of course was the beer, local water...honey...and yeast, but lets face it most of the ingredients were not local for any of the other items...just the services rendered to make them were.

Although not a huge deal, I wish I could of had something entirely made from and by locals. Sometimes those are the things that speak the most about the character of the place. Alas, I was lucky enough and a local artist after hearing my pleas for local art, gifted me with a mug...for this I want to thank Miss Marzena Pustelnik, the ceramic artist-extraordinaire who heard my loud cries (between that of an annoyed cat and angry bear) and kindly graced me with one of her pieces. I will be in close contact with Miss Marzena and will post some of her very cool ceramic art, so keep tuned for a special post on ceramics and their uses (beer making among some). Now on to other observations (part rants).

Thanks to the Greyhound trip I now realize that large provincial cities are remarkably similar in all aspects of commerce. From Winners to Shoppers Drug Mart to Wal-Mart, there is little local character and the grids of city planning make each less of a unique experience and more of the 'show me what I know, and I will ignore what I don't". This makes me sad. Sad because character is important to where you travel, and may be one reason why Europe sees so much traffic, as does Montreal and other "historical" centers. Again thoughts to ponder.

To add to the Greyhound theme, I now know how they stay afloat. With ever bus ride, the smart people of this bus carrier, realized they could make an extra buck by tugging along a courier service, and since they go to lots of small places, stops between Calgary and Winnipeg were all Greyhound Courier service centers. This made for welcome breaks in scenery, as well as a sore butt (but when you sell a girl a ticket for $113 CND to go from Calgary to Toronto, somehow you have to make your ends meet...and to that end I solute you Greyhound, for making travel dirt cheap if purchased 21 days in advance).

There are lots of other observations, like the fact that I can tell each provinces' landscape apart , or that some people can talk for 2.5 days and their voice doesn't even get hoarse. This last one blew my mind, as well as the ability of strangers to tell you the most intimate of life's situations without apprehension. Oh the things you learn while traveling on a Greyhound. Also if you plan on doing this, bring stretchy shoes. Sitting for long periods makes your feet swell; not the size of watermelons (not quite at least) but good sizable cobs of corn.

I have more, and if you or anyone you know plans on visiting any city within Greyhound bus service limits, I highly suggest you do it at least once in your life, and no Greyhound is not aware of my love of their services. Although I do hope someday they will grace me with bus-service that borders on star-trek like shuttle service coupled with five-star dinners :)
(a girl can dream...and should..coincidentally while on overnight trips on buses this may prove to be difficult).

Signing off,

look forward to a post on religion, girls, and boobs.

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