One thing that still holds true - The fun thing about travel is tripping on the unexpected, the unfamiliar and the best way to do that is meet the locals. That holds true anywhere. No matter how short a distance you travel.
|Footprints in the snow|
While I was writing this post I stumbled on an incident at a border crossing that only emphasized that some jobs may just be ideal for a writer. Fiction often falls out of real life and at a border crossing there's no busier intersection of lives. Click here for more.
But I digress, I finally made it through the immigration line - having as usual chosen the wrong line. The slowest one with an immigration officer who bellowed angry orders to frustrated travelers at regular intervals. When it was finally my turn, it was like I was facing a different man. A man wearing a smile and with the parting words; "Have a good trip hon".
Hon? Not a term you'll hear casually thrown out north of the U.S. border at least where I come from. But soon it's also not the only time I hear hon. I assume that this is part of the local lingo except I never hear the term again after leaving the airport. Is it possible that the airport is a culture unto itself? Or I just don't look like hon anymore?
It was before leaving the airport that we met a true lover of winter. A woman at the shuttle desk told us how other travelers had questioned her sanity for remaining in such a cold climate. Then she asked us how we liked Saskatchewan winter and then preceded to tell us about all her winter adventures in Minnesota from ice fishing to ski dooing. She glowed as she told us about them. I
|A Farm in Minnesota|
theory. I believe she's also been known to say that it keeps tempers at a minimum - no one's blood can heat up in sub zero temperatures. And if you believe that I'll give you a hotline to more Momisms.
We're in Laura Ingalls Wilder territory now at least during her time On the Banks of Plum Creek - from Little House on the Prairie fame and not the Michael Landon TV version, for those of you who didn't devour the original series as children. Laura really had a knack of making winter look romantic. Sorry Laura, not even for you.
But it was on our departure from that hotel when things got interesting. A conversation began with the inevitable question, "Where are you from?" This time there was no need to tag Canada to the long enough already Saskatchewan. This time I heard for the first time; "Oh, I've been there." But it was his next comment that really made the conversation interesting, "Drove from Regina to Saskatoon - expected to see more road kill. I was surprised I didn't see any at all. Was it the wrong time of year?
Rewind - what? Road kill?
According to this local hotel manager, the roads of Minnesota are littered with dead animals in hunting season. Not shot but run over, and lots of them. I think he expected, because Saskatchewan is less populated and a similar prairie landscape, that we'd have the same or more. I assured him that even in hunting season there wasn't a lot of road kill. And it usually takes a much longer trip to see wild life of any kind - usually live. A coyote or two, some antelope or deer - all still breathing and usually loping in the distant fields, and maybe as far as road kill, on a busy day, a lone squashed skunk or deer was about all you were going to see and often, thank goodness, not even that. So after a discussion about live versus squashed viewing, we went on our separate ways.
|Winter Highway, Saskatchewan|
Somehow I don't think road kill is going to make it to the list of things to see and do in either Minnesota or Saskatchewan. Although I should never say never. And for those of you with a more macabre bent or a slightly twisted sense of humour, check out Road Kill Recipes.
The world is a big place and it's littered with interesting characters.
Any characters in your recent travels both near and afar? Or do you have another take on road kill? And please, not another recipe.