“This is one of those adventures we’ll tell our children about,” we said after finding our car at the impound lot in Vancouver, BC.
Yesterday was my first time in Canada with two wonderful friends, Ivy and Leeza. I won’t soon forget it that day in Vancouver. It poured the whole time, but we (meaning Leeza) jumped in puddles. Our car was towed, but we got a tour of the city by taxi. We never found Stanley Park, but we did play frisbee at Robson Park. We didn’t have a picnic in the sun, but we had a party with chocolate and bananagrams in the back of our car. A taxi ride, an impound lot, a very large gift to the Canadian government, and yet so many laughs and unforgettable memories.
While eating chocolate and playing bananagrams, Ivy, Leeza, and I created a list of advice for you in case you travel to the great nation of hockey and maple syrup.
1. Stay calm when drilled by customs workers at the border. They don’t really care what your mom is doing if you took the car for the day, but they have to ask anyway. And they don’t care how you know each other, but they ask the same questions every time.
2. BYON (Bring Your Own Napkin) to any restaurant. You may spill ketchup on your pants or eat a juicy burger only to realize they do not provide napkins.
3. Read all parking meters very carefully. You may return to the place you parked your car and come to the startling conclusion that all cars on the block have disappeared, including yours.
4. Standing on the side of the road, looking confused is a perfectly good way to pick up a cab.
5. “I’m not from here,” is a good excuse whenever in distress. This phrase can be used often.
Example 1: When GreenPeace asks how you feel about the oil tankers on the coast, respond, “I don’t know. I’m not from here.”
Example 2: When the towing company gives you directions for how to get to the impound lot, say “I’m not from here.” You will be given ample information on how to tackle the city during rush hour.
6. No bathroom is too dirty after coffee, 2 glasses of water, and a pint of beer. Don’t be picky.
7. Know the basic traffic laws. A blinking green light means go. A blinking green arrow means you can turn left. A solid green light means yield to oncoming traffic when turning left.
8. Become undignified, if only for a little while. Find a field for frolicking and/or frisbee, even if it’s raining.
9. Don’t jump in puddles without a change of pants. You will be soggy for the rest of the day.
10. Playing Bananagrams is an adequate way to pass time no matter what country you’re in.
And after 4 years, I can finally cross this one off my list.