I’ve been in Canada, and more specifically the city of Kingston, Ontario, for close to two weeks now. I’ve been a visitor to many different countries of the world, but emigrating somewhere is a different matter altogether. Luckily for me I’m a huge fan of endless paperwork and repeat questioning from state officials.
The first thing that has struck me, and surprised me, despite being prepared, is just how hot a Canadian summer is. It’s the humidity that’s the killer. If the weather report says 28 degrees, add another 10 degrees. That’s how hot it feels. I had to go out and buy a pair of knee-length shorts for relief, and to fit in with the natives. In fact my fire engine red neck, and ghostly white legs mark me apart from all other Kingstonians. We Irish men are very easy to spot during long spells of heat.
The mosquitoes have really had a banquet from my brilliantly white legs. They really seem to enjoy my Irish blood [enriched by the battered sausages and burgers I’ve eaten over the years]. My pins look like I’ve the measles, and they itch like hell. Forget contraception, visit the Drug Store (Trans. Chemist], and buy yourself protection.
The time difference between here and home is where the big adjustment needs to take place. I’m five hours behind Dublin, which means when y’all are in a solemn state of reflection during the Angelus, I’m having lunch, and expecting Aussie soaps on the TV.
I could talk about the milk in bags, the Union Jacks that hang in the porches of Kingston’s satellite towns, like Bath and Napanee, toilet bowl differences and the calling of midday as noon-hour, and I will in future posts, but for today I’d prefer to mention an incident from yesterday that humbled me.
Any cash I have is in my girlfriend’s account. I’m using her debit card. So, I’m in a popular, busy supermarket downtown [Trans.City Centre] – and I, in a fluster, input the wrong pin into the machine three times. I’m now screwed. Whilst I was apologizing to the clerk, a man behind me in the queue paid for my shopping. I was taken aback. I apologized profusely and offered to pay him back – but he was having none of it. I’ve no idea of your name, but I want to thank that man here again. I salute you Sir. You were my Good Samaritan. A credit to yourself and Kingston. I felt so low at that point, and I felt like a total hobo. Although I’m not sure many transients would be buying cumin, coriander and baby spinach. Thanks again amigo. I owe you several beers.