Monday, July 2, 2018

Where in the World is SlowBoat?

Happy 85th birthday to Ann Carlsen! Jacob was happy to see Gran.
We took a weekend off from cruising to score a rental car and head south to celebrate Ann Carlsen's 85th birthday. Happy birthday, Mom!

Coming back through customs was a tiny bit more stringent than our initial entry to Kingston by boat, where all we had to do was make a phone call. (And deny that we possessed any pepper spray.)

This time we faced an actual customs agent. "Where did you rent that car?" he demanded.

"Kemptville," we said.

Don't Confuse the Customs Agent

"That's an odd place to rent a car, " he said, frowning. "Do they even HAVE a rental agency?"

Well yes, it is an odd place to rent a car. Kemptville is a small town 30 miles from Ottawa. It has a Walmart and a tiny historic downtown. Also a marina, where we were able to securely park the boat for the weekend.

The Kemptville Enterprise office is hidden inside a Chevy dealership. Bill biked there to pick up the car, 6 miles on country roads and another two through Miracle Mile traffic. They told him the car must remain in Ontario. He disagreed. They told him he couldn't leave his bike. He disagreed. Bottom line, we made it to the bday party.

Back to the customs agent. More probing questions. The agent elicited our odd story, that we are traveling through the historic canals of Canada on a solar-powered canal boat.

"What kind of engine you got in her? Three-cylinder diesel?" the agent asked, warming to the conversation. Ultimately, he let us pass.

Exploring Canadian Culture

Well of course there's fresh meat if it's a Giant Tiger!
As always after a stint on SlowBoat, it was shocking to travel at ordinary vehicular speeds.  We are slowing exploring Canadian culture: poutine, washrooms, the concept that the United States was, after 1812, the dangerous enemy.

So we took advantage of our wheels to visit two Canadian institutions, Giant Tiger and Canadian Tire.

Giant Tiger is kind of a mini-Walmart, selling groceries and home goods and clothes. 

Canadian Tire presents as a place to yes, get tires, AND get your car repaired . . .  but when you venture inside you discover that it also sells hockey skates! In July!  And home goods! And huntin' and fishin' gear.

And bug spray on every end cap.

Do you have enough bug spray?
Are you sure?

Girls Can Hunt 'n Fish

I was fascinated to see, in a rack of more serious weapons, a tiny pink plastic rifle.  Nearby, there was a prominent display of Barbie fishing gear.

A few days earlier, docked at Beveridges Locks, we had noticed a dark-haired little girl, perhaps eight years old, flitting about like a tiny fairy. She was wearing a poufy blue tulle princess skirt and toting a pink plastic fishing rod.

Stock up on Barbie Bobbers!
I started to fume. "Why does her fishing rod have to be pink?"

Moments later, the little princess reeled in a nice little bass, landing it expertly at the edge of the lock.

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