Seven days, a train strike, a carload of cranky Barcelonans, a hellish security lineup at CDG airport, and some turbulence later, we are back in Vancouver. And just in time for Canada Day. How does one celebrate Canada's 140 years of being a country? Glad you asked. Put on an outfit like this:And then drink until you can't stand, eh? I'm not one for festive headgear (maple leaf tuque? so not fierce), so I spent my Canada Day on a ferry headed for Vancouver Island to see Jay's family in Victoria. The day was pretty quiet, with the occasional "happy Canada Day, eh?" bellowed across the street. Our national celebration ended as it usually does: with the police hammering on our door at 2:30 in the morning. Seems someone else in the building had a little too much Canada Day cheer and they wanted a key to the apartment to "check whether the guy is dead or something". Turns out he wasn't dead, he had just gotten drunk, cranked his music and then left the apartment in the middle of the night, to the eternal gratitude of his neighbours.
I'll let you in on a little secret that no one outside of Canada knows. We have a reputation globally as a nation of boy scouts and cuddly do-gooders. The Ned Flanders of the international community, if you will. We've got that charming accent, we tend to look pretty peaceful compared to our neighbours to the south, our national animal is the beaver, and an elderly lady with a predilection for Corgies is our figurehead. And generally, we are a pretty peaceful, easy-going bunch. Until we've had a two-four of Kokanee (or our hockey team loses the play-offs), that is. Our most frequently occuring crime is common assault, and Canada Day is a pretty good illustration of the Jekyll and Hyde aspect of Canadian temperament. Put a drink in us and we turn into brawlers. In Victoria, a quiet place that has been called the city of the "newlywed and nearly dead", thirty three transit buses pulled in to police road checkpoints for help with drunken, fighting Canadians on board. And yet, only 30 people were arrested in BC's capital on Sunday. Maybe our reputation lives on because we manage to escape arrest most of the time? In any case, all is back to normal, and everyone is mild-mannered, relaxed and tending to their igloos again. In some ways it is indeed good to be home again.