Friday, August 8, 2008

Plentywood, Montana - Because We Can!

With Rourke in the driver's seat - we headed to Plentywood, Montana. Now before you run scared and report us to the local authorities, Rourke spent most of the time in the back seat. It was only when we were not in motion that he put himself, quite literally, in the driver's seat.

The border guards look at us in disbelief as we tell them this is an afternoon jaunt and that there really is no purpose to our trip other than that.

Two hours there and two back - I'm sure they don't quite believe it. But it's hard to look sinister with Rourke hanging over your shoulder. He managed to wangle a dog biscuit from one officer and was literally hand fed by the officer who only asked gruff questions of me. Go figure - the dog has charm!

So a little over a year after the inaugural road trip that opened this blog, we are back!

Plentywood appears timeless. And on this hot, summer day, the pace is languid. Here and there are the subtle differences that remind you that this isn't home and you are in a different country. The American flag drifts softly in a breezeless sky, the hint of an accent at the table next to you in the local restaurant but the biggest differences in culture can always be found in the local grocery store.

I've shopped grocers and markets in many places in the world just because they are so fascinating. Maybe it's a quirk or maybe it's a well-kept travel hint but you really get inside the head of a culture when you visit their local grocers. Now there are no freshly caught sardines grilling on a spit or chicken feet or fish eyes available in Plentywood, Montana. The differences aren't that drastic. There is butter in a tub - tempting, never saw that before. And the fact that butter is always referred to as sweet - not so in Canada - not sure why.

I didn't think it was possible to analyze the chip aisle but in our search for mustard pretzels, which they don't have, analyze we did. There are also no barbecued peanuts - what do they eat on the deck on a hot day with a cold beer? There are Pringle chips in flavours I've never heard of, Cheetos actually has a Cheesy Jalepeno flavour and you can buy Campbell's soup in the biggest cans I've ever seen outside a warehouse store. There's bud with Clamato juice already in the can and another beer with lime and salt already added. There's beer with lemonade and honey called Shanty - and just the fact that beer is in a grocery store at all is novelty enough. Then, of course, there's the candy. I try to stay away but a package or two of Nut Rolls do find their way home with us.

At the till there's the same old little packages of things to tempt you into that last minute purchase. Maybe you needed that razor or a pack of cards or, wait - there's an LED mini flashlight complete with panic button that shreaks at a minutes notice. No, I didn't buy it but I'm sensing there's room for it somewhere in a story - in fact, I know just the one.

When was the last time you did something - just because?
Just because you can!

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