NOTES FROM...THE LAND BETWEEN

EVIL

From Book 3, Verse 1: “…. and one day, from the darkness of hell, Evil rose to the earth and was welcomed by Stupidity. To avoid being recognized, they wore the National Car uniform and together they went to manage the office at Albany airport.

DISSUASION

The association against childhood obesity presented the poster for the new ad campaign, with a gigantic sandwich captioned “One moment on your lips, forever on your hips.

SURPRISES

If while traveling down any street in Canada you see a moving point on the horizon, it’s probably just a bear or, more likely, a moose. It doesn’t happen often, but it can …. it could also be another car.

MENU Take your time when you read restaurant menus. Demand a clear explanation of that insidious phrase “seasoned and caramelized with …”. Fried calamari topped with caramelized sugar are edible only if you’re really starving.
QUEBEC Without even blushing, most of the people from Quebec display the worst defects of the French and do everything in their power to conceal the good qualities of the Canadians.
CAMPING

If during his lifetime a camper has been on his best behavior, not annoying bears, not hitting a moose on the road at night, thoroughly quenching his campfire in the evening, and politely putting up with flies and mosquitoes, when he passes away he will be welcomed by Yogi and Boo-Boo, who will accompany him to the forests of the Val-d’Or at the northern end of Quebec (Canada). Instead, if he has been bad, he can choose between the outskirts of Kabul (Afghanistan) or Tora Bora (also Afghanistan).

FRIENDS

When I travel I use the fantastic world of the Internet to stay in touch with my friends, and so through our e-mail exchanges I discover surprising sides of their personality. They can be “affectionate” or “thoughtful”, “surprising”, “loquacious”, “indifferent” but the some are “sadistic”. The latter species, fortunately limited, is made up of those who describe in great detail what they will be having for dinner, generating uncontrollable side effects: a sudden but futile stimulation of my taste buds, excessive salivation and an untamable rebellion of the gastric juices, forced to deal with the continuous “novelties” of Canadian cooking.

PRAIRIE

The first colonists to reach Manitoba were pleasantly surprised by such flat terrain. It is said that a man with good eyesight could see an Indian on horseback a day away, so he had all the time he needed to finish plowing the field, lead the mules to the barn, have supper and then play with his children before going to bed. The following morning, after breakfast he could sit and smoke his pipe on the porch and then calmly load his rifle just in time to kill the exhausted Indian as he was about to leap into the horse pen. And ever since then, all the natives of North America are insulted when they are referred to as “the people of the great plains”.

METEOROLOGICAL MYSTERIES

For some mysterious and incomprehensible meteorological reason, regardless of where hurricanes, cyclones, storms (both summer and winter) and even ordinary downpours come from, as soon as they are in sight of Saskatchewan they swoop down on this region and wreak havoc, favoring farm buildings, and then go off on their merry way.

NO TURNING BACK

If, when you’re simply trying to be friendly, you turn to a guy who’s on his fifth beer and is facing the long winter ahead and ask him to explain the difference between a moose and a caribou … just resign yourself. There’s no turning back.

SCALE OF VALUES Dust is better than mud, mud is better than rain, rain is better than snow, snow is better than ice. But what tops the Canadian hit parade is the unbeatable frozen dust.
OBVIOUS

If the lack of an alternative is what creates a monopoly that, in turn, conditions price dynamics, don’t be surprised if in that muddy Indian camp better known as Fort Liard, at the only motel/emporium/drug store/service station in a 250-mile radius, a less-than-friendly native offers you a room for 200 dollars and a bed for 150. Choose your bed: no Indian will ever be willing to sleep next to a paleface … they still don’t trust them.

GOOD INTENTIONS On the road from Yellowknife, suddenly the road signs stop saying “interstate” and starting using the more pompous “highway”. Only when you’ve arrived at Fort Nelson after trekking for more than 350 miles can you understand that this was merely a preventive statement.
PRECAUTIONS

Always be wary of hoteliers: they are greedy people who care little about anyone. Before accepting a room that has been praised to the heavens, check that:
A)     if it’s on the top floor, it isn’t under the elevator motor
B)     if it’s on the ground floor, that it’s far from the fire escape, which tends to be used by loud children playing tag or drunken truck drivers dragging a recalcitrant one-night stand into their room
C)     on the other floors, you’re far from the ubiquitous and ever-popular icemaker, and that the Internet connection works.

In any case, put up with the children, as their parents are big and tall, but, above all, don’t step into a truck driver’s business negotiations.
   
   

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Contatti: francescodemarzio@hotmail.com