This summer, I was fortunate enough to spend a week in Canada, mostly for business, but planning some touristy type adventures also. I had contacted the Tourism bureau of Niagara Falls to secure an interview for tmhradio.com.
I found that the dates I had booked fell on a Canadian holiday. I did not stop and think that I would be coming back through Niagara Falls on my way back home, but decided that I could advise them of that later on. The gentleman I talked to offered a Helicopter Media tour which I snapped up very quickly. He told me he would send all of the particulars in an email.
The day came to leave and I had not yet received anything about the Helicopter tour but I had the phone number and would just give him a call because I thought, if it were a holiday, then the office would certainly be open. I was on my way up through Canada via Detroit when I found that there was no phone service available on my phone. I could wait until I arrived and make arrangements then.
Little did I realize that from the time I neared London, Ontario until I got to Niagara Falls, a trip which should take a little less than an hour, I traveled for almost 4 hours. The traffic was bumper to bumper on that Sunday afternoon and there was not speeding it up.
Several things that I did notice as I was driving however made me stop and consider the similarities and differences in our two countries. I stopped to get gasoline. I had about a half tank and should have needed about 10-12 gallons. This would have cost me anywhere from $28.00 to $35.00 depending on the cost per gallon and the actual amount needed. I swiped my debit card and it was rejected. I went into the store and the clerk told me it was probably because it was an American card. He would authorize the sale then I could come in and pay the tab. I filled it at $1.07 which I assumed to be liters. The bill was a whopping $56.20... and that was for about half a tank of gas. When I went to pay, the clerk told me if I paid cash, it would have to be dollar for dollar but if I put it on a card, the
bank would calculate the difference between Canadian dollars and American dollars and it would be cheaper. I will be interested in seeing just how much cheaper it will be. It was then that I realized, if I lived in Canada, it would cost about $100.00 American dollars to put a full tank of gas in your automobile.
While I was driving, in the slow traffic, I looked at the cars that were passing me and the ones I was passing. There were not junky cars. I decided that if you could afford to buy gas in Canada, you had a good job, one that would allow you to have a nice car. Automobile ownership and operation is not for sissies in Ontario.
I finally got into Niagara Falls and found my motel. It looked clean and was close to the downtown area where I wanted to be. My reservation was in order but when I went to pay, the card was rejected. I proceeded to pay in cash but realized that i probably needed to let the credit card company know I was out of the country and it was not a fraudulent charge. It had not denied my card while getting gas, so I was not sure what was going on. It was when I went to call the toll free number about my card that I noticed there was no service. I would have to get a hot spot for the phone and would have to get Internet service in the room.
Thus began yet another problem. The young man at the desk was very helpful, but the phone in the room did not work and as I was looking around, I realized that there was no television in the room. Now, I do not listen to television, but when I am on the road, I kind of like to stay informed. I am not sure I have ever been in a motel room that did not have a television.
I got in touch with a friend and let him know I had arrived safely. I then decided to write this blog before I just pulled out my Kindle and spend an enjoyable Sunday evening reading. For a brief moment, I felt like I was in a foreign country until I realized that, “Yes, Nancy, you ARE in a foreign country. No matter how similar our countries and our people are, there are just some services and conditions that are very different.
Something To Ponder