Oh! Canada?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 Road Junkies 1 Comments

Calais, ME to Saint John, NB
When we last visited Canada, about 12 years ago, we had a bit of difficulty at customs because we had not thought to bring our passports.  We drove in from Detroit, thinking all we needed were our U.S. driver's licenses.  Today's entry was much easier, but still we were asked more questions than in some other countries we have visited.

Because Canada is such a close neighbor, we discovered that we had allowed ourselves to falsely assume it's just like the U.S.  English is our common language, right?  It wasn't long at all before we determined that we needed some translation!
This sight took a bit of mental adjustment.  Speed limit 110?  (It's equivalent to 68 miles per hour.)  Much to our surprise, we discovered after entering Canada today that the speedometer in our van has only miles, not kilometers. 
Every other vehicle we've owned had both, and we never noticed in the four and a half years we've owned our Honda that the speedometer displays only miles.  Thus the need for the conversion chart posted on the dashboard.

At dinner tonight in a Saint John restaurant, Dianne asked the server if the chef would prepare a "vegetable plate" for her.  It wasn't on the menu, but this is something we've done many times and have never had any problem.  What usually happens is the server indicates what is available that might not be listed as side dishes on the menu, and a beautiful plate of cooked vegetables arrives at the table. 

When tonight's server asked whether she wanted some ranch dressing to dip the veggies in, Dianne realized that she and this nice gentleman had a failure to communicate.  Apologizing for her erroneous assumption, she explained to the server that she is American.  "This is an entirely different country," he replied cheerfully. 

So Dianne ordered a vegetable tart from the menu.  The menu indicated that the tart came with a roquette salad.  Roquette?  Reluctant to further demonstrate her ignorance of all things Canadian, she bit her tongue and didn't even ask, hoping it would be something she could eat.  Was it ever!  Roquette is the French word for what we Yanks call arugula, Dianne's favorite salad green.

Back in the hotel room, we found one more need for translation.  The room was a bit chilly, so we checked the thermostat setting--20 degrees!  Our conversion chart told us that the setting was what we would call 68.  Tomorrow's forecast calls for a high of 17 and a low of 6.  Brrrrr!   And we didn't even bring our down coats!

Now, where did we put that Canadian-American dictionary??