Becca Jane St Clair

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99 Thoughts I had While Watching Anne With An E

Like every other die hard Anne of Green Gables fan out there, I waited with baited breath for the latest installation in adaptations, after being horribly disappointed in the 2015 version starring Martin Sheen as Matthew. Quite sadly, Anne With An E has sunk to the bottom of my ranking of all Anne adaptations that I’ve seen, and it sunk after episode one.

Even the trailer was a huge letdown:

So here are 99 thoughts I had while watching the full Anne With an E series now streaming on Netflix. Spoilers below (duh)

1) dislike the portrayal of Marilla so far. Yes she is supposed to be stern, but she seems nastier.

2) Anne’s flashback earlier to when Mr Hammond had his heart attack. No. While I don’t doubt that sort of thing happened to orphans, Anne never made mention of something like that, and given what triggered the flashback, I would have expected Anne to suffer from PTSD. Which she does not (though this Anne apparently does)

3) It’s Jasper!! I feel old now.

4) they definitely have taken some poetic licensing with the dialog. Matthew still speaks more than book!Matthew or Sullivan!Matthew.


6) Mrs lynde is pretty spot on!

7) the actress playing Anne goes between “soreee” and “sorry”. But a friend knows her and she’s apparently Irish, so I guess I can forgive her.

8) Lol forgiveness scene spot on!!

9) hired hand scene….. unnecessary. Plus…..deliberately rude Anne!! OMG NO!

10) Mr Barry…..wrongwrongwrong!!!!!

11) another flashback. These sit uneasy with me.

12) The Barry’s are too posh for my liking.

13) er….no. that ending scene is definitely not canon. While a nice touch, I suspect this will lead episode 2 away from canon.

Episode 2

14) TRAIN!!!! We think potentially NG, now that they show more detail I’ll have Tim Lockley watch the first few minutes to try to identify……

15) I just noticed Anne has her carpet bag, but never made the comment about it being an “old carpet bag”

16) Ok, no. This Matthew is way way WAY out of character. NOPE.

17) WTF. Anne getting on the ferry….NO. Out of character for Anne. Anne does NOT run away. Anne challenges. More N-O-P-E.

18) I think “based on Anne of Green Gables” is right. LOOSELY based.

19) Seriously, seriously LOVING Mrs Lynde. She is incredible.

20) Well, she sure can spin a tale…..but again, doesn’t seem like Anne. I don’t think Anne would lie like that….I think Anne is more likely to tell people her fantasies, but not LIE.

21) REALLY???? Reeeeeaaaallllllyyyyy???? I….can’t……

22) Very sweet of Matthew to refer to her as his little girl. Heart. melt. I mean, it’s out of character for Matthew to speak this much, but this is totally Matthew.

23) “She’s my daughter” !!!!!! OH MATTHEW YOU BIG SOFTY I LOVE YOU!! (still OOC for him to say that out loud though)

24) Ah. No nonsense Marilla.

25) Ah, Awkward family meal time.

26) 30:52 in to the 45 minute episode and finally Anne is Anne.

27) Picnic. More overly posh Barrys. Seriously. No. This is NOT the Barry family!

28) Uhhhhh…..what? No. People were NOT that nasty to Anne. People were curious and cautious, but the only people nasty were Josy Pie, and Gilbert at first….but it still wasn’t THIS nasty.

29) well, at least she can finally call her Marilla.

30) Wait….take their name? I mean, that’s sweet and I was always surprised that Anne never did become a Cuthbert, but again this is kind of out of character. But I do think it was a really sweet moment.

Episode 3

31) Ok. Anne’s first day of school. Let’s hope this follow the book……

32) don’t like Diana either. She’s too bold!!

33) WTF is up with these kids?! Barking at her?

34) Birds and the bees talk?!?! Mouse in his pants?!?!? AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH THIS IS NOT ANNE. NOT AT ALL. Anne is more of a romantic.

35) It’s a bit weird for Marilla and Matthew to refer to themselves as parents.

36) OTOH, I suppose Marilla is more true-to-book looks wise than Coleen Dewhurst was, but she was so amazing, you could overlook that she didn’t fit the description.

37) More too much speaking from Matthew. And to/in front of other women too! I mean, he can barely ask Rachel Lynde to make that dress in the book and yet here he is….chattering away. But other than the speaking, I still like the portrayal of Matthew.

38) I’m going to have to re-read the books, because I can’t remember how well Anne did in Math. I know she always has been better at English, but I can’t remember if she had math skills.

39) Gibert is…..not Jonathan Crombie (RIP). I don’t think young me would have had a crush on this Gilbert….but he is pretty chivalrous. Which Book!Gilbert wasn’t at first, so….that’s kind of weird.

40) Diana struggles with reading? No, that’s not right. Anne over dramatising her reading…..Yep. That’s our Anne.

41) Trollop?!

42) OH. THERE’S THE CARROTS INCIDENT. at least we got that! Albeit, she smacked him across the face with it instead of breaking it over his head…..but we got our Carrots moment… OK, ONE THING TRUE TO BOOK!

43) But Anne walking out of school….again, no. Anne Shirley does NOT walk away. Also, if she “changed her name” to Anne Shirley Cuthbert, why is the teacher calling her Shirley? Continuity error?

44) OTOH, it gave us an opportunity to have a tender Anne/Marilla moment, so that was kinda nice.

Episode 4

Reading the blurb, it sounds like it might get back onto the book track this Episode. Maybe. Or am I giving it too much credit?

45) Anne not going to school is just so out of character. Anne loves to learn! She would return to school with her head held high….unless she dyes her hair green. HAHA! (will we see that?)

46) However being in her fantasy world and letting the pie burn is VERY Anne….

47) Skipping school after being told to go back? Again, NOT LIKE ANNE.


49) Ruby Gillis is adorable. Still unsure about Diana. Shes just too posh for who she is. My impression was always that Diana’s parents weren’t rich. Perhaps a little well-off, but it was Diana’s great-aunt who had the money. Mr Barry was a farmer and worked the fields same as Matthew….

50) a fire? Again, this wasn’t in the books, but it IS a good example of small village life in the late 1800s and adds drama. Again, its OK if this was a generic story of an orphan girl in the 1890s….but not part of Anne. But I guess they needed an act for Anne to be accepted.

51) I don’t remember Ruby having a crush on Gilbert. I thought Josey wanted Gilbert….hmm. Going to have to re-read the books.

52) The story club!!

53) And now the teacher calls her “Anne Shirley Cuthbert”….is this to signify she has finally been accepted?

Episode 5

54) They can’t even get the spelling bee incident correct?!

55) Anne starting her period….I mean, Obviously it happened to Anne as it happens to most women, and given the number of children she eventually has, it’s a given that she would have had some kind of cycle….but it wouldn’t have been something that LMM would have written into her books….this kind of stuff wasn’t talked about openly when she penned AoGG…..but again, they are trying to appeal to a modern pre-teen audience, and probably a good number could sympathise with Anne.

56) John Blythe wasn’t in a wheelchair!!!

57)The interaction/conversation between Rachel and Marilla….while again, not part of the books, it’s a nice touch because it helps to solidify their lasting friendship.

58) OK so now we’re seeing where Gilbert is starting to have feelings for Anne and Anne doesn’t want anything to do with him! hehe!

59) Hormonal stroppy Anne kind of makes me laugh.

60) “You may have some of the raspberry cordial” YES!!!!!! Please don’t screw up this scene guys.

61) Oh, we’re going to get the puffed sleeves! Not like it was in the book or in Sully’s Anne, but this is still just as adorable and awkward for Matthew.

62) Ok, so they’re both getting drunk….this is different. But also funny.

63) Who is this woman Matthew is talking to?! MATTHEW DOESN’T TALK TO WOMEN!!!! “Old friend”?! Are they trying to give Matthew a former love interest?

64) Is Mrs Lynde making a sexual innuendo?!

65) Where did Anne get that corset from? It’s too fancy to have been Marilla’s!

66) OK, this part is exactly as it happened in the book. Of course, it’s one of the sadder things that happens, but I think Mrs Barry almost said word-for-word what is in the books…or at least what I remember!


68) I’m really confused over Gilbert’s father being so ill.

69) SHE’S GETTING THE DRESS!!!! Again, completely not how it was in the book, but she still got her dress!

Episode 6

70) Ah, Finally an episode that opens with an actual event from the book!

71) Oh, but who’s the old lady? OH! This must be Aunt Josephine! I mean, she wasn’t there in the book when Minnie May had croup, but I suppose we had to meet her somehow!

72) Ok, why does Gil’s dad sound like he’s going to die?!

73) YAY! Friends again!!!!

74) NO. NO NO NO! GILBERT’S FATHER IS DEAD?!?!? THAT IS NOT THE BOOK IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER! What purpose could this possibly be serving?!

75) A flashback to elude to the relationship between Marilla and John Blythe when they were younger is a nice touch. Also, John giving Marilla the hair ribbon she gave to Anne….who will of course wind up with Gilbert in the future.

76) So Anne and Gil’s fight has now been instigated by Gilbert. Interesting.

77) This is definitely delving deeper into the relationship between John and Marilla. I kind of like this, because it was only ever mentioned as an aside. But poor Marilla.

78) I still think Ruby is adorable. But her poor crush on Gilbert is never going to get anywhere.

79) Minnie May is cute too. Although I do think she’s slightly older than she should have been when she was ill in the book.

80) Well, that’s a pretty tender Marilla/Gilbert moment. I quite liked that.

81) Oh. Did they just make Aunt Josephine a lesbian? That’s interesting. I wonder if Mr Barry knows? Is that how they will explain Josephine having money?


Episode 7, at last…..

83) Hey look, there’s the bitch Josey Pye is known for being!

84) Woah. Matthew raised his voice!

85) NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (I mean, OK, it’s Canon for it to happen eventually….but NOOOOOOOO) Oh Ok. Not dead. Er…..yet.

86) Anne not having a head for Geometry? She’s a whizz!

87) And, we’re back to completely out of canon.

88) I mean, maybe not. Because I know they did have a bit of the farm animals and things auctioned after Matthew passed away. But it wasn’t to pay the Mortgage as far as I can remember. It was just because Marilla wasn’t going to man the farm after Matthew.

89) OH CRAP. i was worried that one of them would get robbed!

90) GILBERT!!!!!!!!!

91) I Love Josephine Barry! She is pretty true-to-book once she warmed up to Anne

92) I do kind of like them expanding on Jerry. He was always just “the French boy” or “the hired boy” and I’m not even sure he had any lines of his own in the book.

93) What the heck is Matthew doing? I don’t like his being secretive….. NO! MATTHEW! YOU PUT THAT GUN DOWN RIGHT NOW. THAT IS NOT MATTHEW AT ALL. NO NO NO NO NO. PUT IT AWAY. DON’T YOU DARE THINK OF IT!!!! Whew.

94) Ah, resourceful Anne. Yep, that’s our Anne.

95) So….it’s going to end with the guys who robbed Jerry moving in and was Anne supposed to think he was good looking? What the….AAAAARRRGGGHHH

96) The opening song gave me chills every time, because it was the Hip.

97) Episode 2 seemed to be fabricated just for drama’s sake.

98) It wasn’t until Episode 5 that I felt it finally was starting to be Anne….until it wasn’t.

99) You know, if this has been just a regular period drama….it wouldn’t be so bad.

I have a 100th, but its not from me. A fellow Geek Girl Gang member said:

It’s like the GoT version of it, leaving the viewer stricken by omission of all the normal and good things that happen, and presenting a high-stakes view of the world that suffuses danger into the safety of our childhood tales.

And I have to agree with her. They tried to deliver Anne, but that’ not what we got. I think I only counted about a half dozen actual true-to-book events:

– The Cuthberts originally wanting a boy
– Rachel Lynde and the apology
– “Carrots!”
– Losing the broach
– Getting Diana Drunk
– Minnie May being ill
– The Story Club (briefly)
– Puffed sleeves

Ok, so EIGHT…..and even many of those barely followed canon for how the events unfolded. I’m just really disappointed overall with this adaptation. I wasn’t expecting another Sullivan version (and let’s be honest, he did plenty of out of canon things too!), but I was expecting something better than this.

And so, my definitive rank of all adaptations of Anne of Green Gables I have seen, from best to worst:

1) 1985/1987 Anne series with Megan Follows
2) BBC Anne of Avonlea from the 70s (no copies of AoGG exist!)
3) Anne of Green Gables the musical
4)Akage No Anne (Japanese Anime from 1979)
5) black and white 30s/40s AoGG film
6) Anne of Green Gabeles, The Animated Series (also by Sullivan)
7) the recent film version that had Martin Sheen as Matthew
8) That YouTube fan series that tried to modernise Anne into the 21st century)
9)Anne with an E (this series)
10)Anne 3 (the Sullivan version of books 5-8, which was total fiction)

So….it’s not at the bottom, but to be fair, Anne 3 was REALLY BAD and completely non-canon, and at least Anne With An E had SOME canon things in it. I read an interview that they hope it gets picked up for a second and third series…I can’t see that happening, unless there ARE Anne-fans out there who liked it, but all but one Anne-fan I spoke with has hated this.

I would rather Sullivan make an Anne 4 and totally botch that before I want a second Anne With An E.

*Anne with an E photo header is from their facebook page

Netflix, the CBC, etc. have not paid me for my opinion. You get it allll for free!!

For other articles about the new series, please see:
Vanity Fair – Netflix’s Bleak Adaptation Gets it All So Terribly Wrong
HuffPo – The Relentlessly Grim ‘Anne With An E’ Reveals The Limitations Of Today’s TV
Vox – Anne With an E turns Anne of Green Gables into a high gothic tragedy, missing the point

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Photos Post

Last photos from Manitoba, traveling, and the index of all the albums from my trip:

the 12-seater prop plane I was on!

The snack shop once you go through customs in Winnipeg had a huge mural of US sites….including flying killer whales.

Snoopy is all over the Minneapolis airport. I forgot to take photos of this, but the airport also had a vending machine for Elizabeth Arden perfume and for Sony products (like a PSP and games!).

and one more photo:


Photo Index:
Walking around Winnipeg
VIA Rail Winnipeg to Dauphin
Quincy, Hobbes, and Casper
Lake Dauphin
Camping at Blue Lakes
Vermillon Park and Manitoba Brain Injury Assn. Walk
Flying Home

13 Days until I leave for the UK! The blog might be a little on the light side as I work on unpacking and repacking, but expect regular updates once I’m in the UK! 😀

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Coldest Night Yet!

How fitting that on my last weekend in town, it gets down to the coldest it’s been so far!

Or, for those of you in the United States who, like me, struggle with Celsius:

Brr! Glad Sarah told me how to turn on the heat!

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Will I Miss Dauphin?

That’s a very good question.

I want to say that I won’t miss it here – I won’t miss being alone and not having access to the things I’m used to (24 hour stores! a car!)….but I do think I’m going to miss the three little guys I’ve been taking care of for the past seven and a half weeks. These guys have imprinted themselves on my heart…Hobbes in particular. I suppose it’s wrong to pick favourites, but when you have a cat that climbs up and sleeps against your side and cuddles your arm….that one becomes a favourite.

This morning I had Hobbes up against my side, Quincy down at my feet, and Casper against my legs. I wonder if they know my time of taking care of them is coming to a close…my suitcase got placed up ontop of the dresser the other day and I started tossing things into it…I moved all my stuff from other areas of the house so its all in one location…I started cleaning things that I wouldn’t clean on a daily basis…poor kitties.

BUT – They’ll have their “parents” back soon enough, and I’ll go home to my cat, Will. I’ve really missed Will while I’ve been up here because he’s really my companion at home. He’s with me all day and usually follows me around the house!

Perhaps there will be an opportunity in the future to come back and catsit again for Sarah and Joe, or maybe I’ll actually be able to visit WITH Sarah and Joe sometime!

Or at least, I’ll be back to catsit again if Sarah and Joe like the way I took care of the cats and house…I do worry that I might have overlooked something in cleaning up after myself, or didn’t take care of something I should have….but I’m hoping I haven’t.

So….I’ll miss the cats, but I won’t miss being alone here.

Quincy is king of the mountain!

Hobbes, curled up for a nap

Casper, stretching out

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The Last Week

I’m here for just one more week. It’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for seven weeks already! There’s so much to do in so little time, including the dreaded re-pack. I have a feeling I’m going to need to use my second bag I brought along…not because I have a ton of more stuff to bring home, but Tim sent me 4 books for my birthday, and I bought a shirt and my suitcase was pushing the weight limit on the way up. So I think I’ll just pack into three bags for the way home.

I’m still not sure what time I’m leaving or what the plan is other than flying out of the Dauphin airport, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. I’m sort of glad I’m flying instead of taking the train or bus down to Winnipeg…mostly because I’d rather just get it all done in one day.

My flight doesn’t leave Winnipeg until 1, but since I’ll probably get there early I’m going to see about getting on an earlier flight just in case there are open seats. As it currently stands, I won’t actually get back to Lancaster until midnight because of taking the train from Philly (my flight gets in at 8, but I have to wait for the R1 and then get to 30th street so I miss the earlier train). I can always sleep on the planes and trains.

I also need to figure out food for traveling that will make it through airport security. I should be okay as long as I’m not packing any raw fruits or vegetables…I don’t know if cooked/canned are okay or not but I probably won’t pack them just to be safe. Cream cheese bagels seemed to be okay on the way up, so I’ll probably go the same route.

I keep thinking I should start to pack, but then I realize if I start packing now, I’ll have to live out of the suitcase for the rest of the week! So I have a feeling Monday night is going to be a rush of packing, especially since I probably have to be up pretty early on Tuesday.

But I do have lots to do. I figure I can start to get all my non-clothing stuff into one location and I can pack up the toiletries I’m not going to be using. I want to vacuum their basement to get up all the cat litter that’s been kicked outside of the box, and sweep or mop the floor up here…the cat’s scratching post (a table leg) really leaves splinters on the floor! Monday evening I want to wash the towels and bedding and I also need to plan meals to use the food I have left (which I went grocery shopping yesterday to get some things to compliment what’s left…but I think I bought too much!)

I’m not sure if I’ll be doing anything this week or not. I might take one more walk into town because who knows when I’ll be back? I’m hoping I get the chance to see the people I’ve met while I’ve been here one more time.


Manitoba Brain Injury Association

On Sunday, C IMed me in the morning and asked me if I had plans for the day. I didn’t have anything planned other than going grocery shopping, so I told her no. She asked me if I wanted to participate in the Umbrella Walk for the Manitoba Brain Injury Association, and I readily agreed.

The walk took place over at Vermillion Park in Dauphin, and the course was about two and a half miles by my pedometer. We were a small group, but all there for one purpose. Most of us had to put down our umbrellas because it was windy out, but we all walked the full course, and then enjoyed some food together and a door prize giveaway, where everyone was a winner!

We were provided with tote bags and water bottles by the Manitoba Nurses’s Association and given mustard yellow coloured wrist bands from the MBIA. My door prize was a T-shirt for the association – it’s going to be funny to wear it around Lancaster!

Taken straight off their website:

Every year, over 6,000 Canadians become permanently disabled by an acquired brain injury. The effects of a brain injury differ from person to person, but have an impact on everyone in that person’s life.

A brain injury can be a devastating diagnosis and because it is not a visible disability, those affected are often misunderstood and lack support.

The Manitoba Brain Injury Association helps individuals and families cope by offering support, education and advocacy. We also work to prevent brain injuries through public awareness initiatives and educational programming.

I realize we don’t all live in Manitoba, and why would you want to support a charity that’s not where you live? So I encourage everyone to do some reasearch, maybe even just using google, and find a similar organization local to you. Here is a list of brain injury associations across the United States, and here is a link to the Brain Injury Association of Canada. Perhaps you’ll find a way you can help someone.

Here’s some photos around Vermillion Park:

Changing leaves

And when I got home and emptied out my bag, Hobbes decided to get comfortable on my new shirt:

To see more photos from the park, check the gallery:

I’ve also completely updated the cat photo album with all the photos I’ve taken while I’ve been here:

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Restaurant Review – Boston Pizza

Today as I was going through the sales fliers figuring out food for the next 9 days a coupon for Pizza Hut fell out, and of course, that made me want pizza.  Pizza is probably my favourite food, and when I was in college I practically lived off of Pizza and Subway.  Since Pizza Hut is a US company, I vetoed the idea, but I looked up a menu for Boston Pizza to see what they offered and to see if I could afford it.  I had about $20 in my paypal account that I was willing to use part of, so I headed across the street to get an individual pizza at Boston Pizza.

I got a few strange looks when I told her I was by myself, but I was seated after a few minutes wait at a very prominent small table for “two” at the front of the restaurant.  I’m used to US restaurants where you get immediately asked what you’d like to drink, so I was surprised when the hostess walked away from me.  I glanced at the menu even though I had checked it out online, and pulled out my book to read.  About five minutes later the waitress came by and took my order. Another five minutes passed before I was brought my beverage, and another ten before I received my pizza. It was about the size of a large dinner plate, larger than a Personal Pan pizza at Pizza Hut (but more than twice as much! My pizza cost $9)…but it was awful. The crust was sickeningly sweet, there was barely any sauce on it, and the cheese tasted funny, but that’s something I’ve actually noticed with all cheese around here – even regular kinds like Mozzarella or Cheddar taste different here. I coated the pizza with fresh Parmesan cheese and dipped the crusts into ketchup to make it tolerable.

I ate two pieces, and figured I’d take the rest and eat it as leftovers once I doctor it up a bit. It took me another 10 minutes, including me starting to read again before the waitress came back to see if I needed anything (like a box?). When I told her I needed a box, she picked up my plate to box it for me and asked me if I needed anything else. I told her no, so she also took my half full glass of iced tea! She quickly returned with my boxed up pizza and bill, and told me she’d “meet me at the front” when I was ready. Problem was, I was ready immediately, and she had gone over to take the order of another table while I walked up to the counter to pay. I had to wait another six or seven minutes before she finally was able to meet me at the front, despite there being several other employees hanging around who saw me. I’m not sure if it’s policy that your server has to be the one to cash you out or if it was just laziness on the other people’s part.

If I was grading Boston Pizza, I think I’d give them a D on food, and perhaps a B- on service. I kind of wish I had just gone to Pizza Hut because now I’m disappointed and still want good pizza! but ‘I won’t go over there, as I really don’t have the money to do it…I’m still trying to figure out how I’m going to stretch my cash to include food for 9 days plus cab fares on the day I leave!

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I am Canadian (apparently)

I went on a walk today to get out of the house….3 days cooped inside and I was ready to just get out! I decided I needed to spend some of the pile of change I was accumulating (They won’t accept coin to convert back to US money), so I headed to Tim Horton’s for a coffee and maybe a bagel. I brought along the book I’m currently reading, Mother Tongue, and my N810 in case I could find wifi.

The person in front of me in line was American, as evident by not only his accent but by his form of payment – US Currency. Tim Horton’s will accept US Currency at the stores near the border and in large cities like Toronto, so I was surprised to see it being accepted this far North and in such a small town, but I suppose it’s a corporate thing. Anyway. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the American as he got his stuff to go, and I was getting mine “for inside” (the Canadian way of saying “for here”). I ordered, and paid with Canadian currency. As I was waiting for my toasted bagel to come up, the ladies behind the counter were talking about how they “knew that guy was American because of his accent” and how paying with US currency only “proved he was American”. So I quietly told the one girl that I was from Pennsylvania. All four girls behind the counter turned to stare at me and told me I couldn’t possibly be from the states. I didn’t act like other Americans, I didn’t talk like an American, and I used Canadian money to pay for my food. I explained that I had been in Canada since the beginning of August, and the one girl suggested that I had “picked up” the Canadian accent from hanging around Canadians….but honestly? I don’t think I have. I think I just tend to be lucky that I have such a nondescript accent (except on certain words and the way I sometimes talk…THEN you can tell I grew up in New Jersey!). I’ve been “accused” before of being Canadian though, and this was before I was living here for two months, so maybe I do just sound Canadian.

I also think I embarrassed the girls behind the counter when I told them I also was American, but at the same time, I’m quite pleased you can’t tell.

Hopefully when I’m in the UK this fall/winter people won’t be able to tell I’m American either!

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This Town Needs a Bus….

On Friday, I had to go into town for Joe. He asked me to deposit a cheque that came in the mail for him, and his bank is over a mile away. I took the opportunity to also go to the Extra Foods, as the sale flier announced “Dollar Days” and I thought it’d be a good way to stretch my money.

My ankle/foot had been bothering me for several days and so I kept putting off the trip because 2 miles round trip plus whatever other walking I did was going to be hell on my leg….but I told Joe I’d go by Friday for him, so I put on the cheap ankle brace I bought my first week in town and headed out.

And I was in pain within a half a block. This town needs a bus. Even if they just run 2 busses up and down Main Street from the Safeway/Wal-Mart parking lot into town and maybe terminating around the post office, it would be an improvement. I actually gave it some thought. Most of the side streets aren’t deep enough that someone couldn’t walk up to main street to get a bus, so the bus wouldn’t need to divert from main street. A bus over to the greyhound and over to the little airport a few times/day (around the times of departures/arrivals) would probably help out, too. (The train station is off Main, so it’d be covered). I’m sure a bus is the pipe dream of anyone in this town who is car-less or who is a teenager (of course, I don’t know if Canadian teens are “mall rats” the same way US teens are or not). A bus would be most beneficial during the wintertime, when I’ve been told your nose will freeze within a minute of being outside, and the few weeks of Summer they get here (those days when I was complaining I was so hot). It would benefit older Canadians who still drive because they have no other choice, injured people, teenagers, people who don’t drive, and even those who do drive who might not want to drive daily.

One thing I noticed in town was the lack of people out on the streets walking, but a tonne of cars on the street. The town reminds me of places like State College and Ann Arbor – small towns that have a “main drag” where pretty much all the stores/restaurants are. but the main difference between State College, Ann Arbor, and here? The two US towns are car un-friendly, and have a bus system – even some free loops to assist people (Silver Adept and I took the free bus in Ann Arbor several times when it was really cold out and I was visiting him, and when I went to Penn State, we were always on the Loop).

If Dauphin did start up even a small bus loop on Main Street, it would also bring commerce into the town and bring people to jobs – Living over where Sarah and Joe do, the closest stores are the Safeway and Wal-Mart, both across the street,and both US-based companies. But a mile into town, there’s an Extra Foods and a Co-Op, both Canadian owned and even a bit cheaper on prices. Currently, I’ve been walking down to Extra Foods, or going with C to Co-Op, but I think if I was here in the wintertime, I wouldn’t want to walk quite that far. A bus that I only had to walk a few meters to catch that would take me there and back would be favourable! The mall is hiring – many of the shops have “help wanted” signs…and if there was a bus in place, the people who lived in town and needed a job but had no car could take jobs out at the mall. Downtown has a lot of empty store fronts and stores “going out of business”. I wonder if the reason is because people don’t walk around in town to go to those stores. If there was a bus for getting up and down main street, some of the fledgling businesses might see more action. People wouldn’t have to bother with trying to find a rare parking spot on the street if they wanted to check out a store they drove past, just hop off the bus.

Not to mention the environmental impact all those cars are making. How many people who drive everywhere would be willing to ride the bus if one existed? Could a bus really lessen the number of cars on a street? I think so.

This whole thing stemmed from me being in lots of pain, and being unwilling to call for a taxi. Taxi’s are way too expensive, IMHO to use daily, and my money is tight up here, so I didn’t want to have to stretch it any farther, so I stuck it out. And now I’m in pain. I have a bruise right above my ankle on the back of my leg, and I think it’s from the strain I put on my leg because I was being extra careful with my foot.

And of course, like all ideas, there’s the possibility it’s just not feasible or has already been looked into and determined to not work out for the town. I don’t live here, so I don’t know….but I definitely was wishing for a bus while I was walking on Friday!

I’m just hoping I don’t have to walk all the way down to the bank again before I leave!

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Little Campsite on the Prairie

I spent the September long weekend (what the Canadians call the Labour Day holiday) camping at Blue Lakes with C, J, B, L, and the kids (6 of ’em in all!). It had it’s ups and downs, but overall I had a great time.

We got off to a slightly late start on Friday afternoon after having to run a few errands in town. The campsite is about 100km north of Dauphin or about an hour’s drive. We were camping on Manitoba’s only mountain that I saw in the distance on my train ride up. Part of the drive up involves a dirt road! I was once again fascinated watching the scenery out the window. The prairies that just never end and the endless blue sky.

B, L, and their kids had an adjoining campsite to ours, so we set up to cook and eat at our site. Unfortunately, the campsite had rules about the number of adults allowed to sleep on a site, so we couldn’t all sleep on one site. I borrowed a small tent from C, and with her help, put it up, and then we even managed to put up the large tent for C, J, and Baby C (J wasn’t joining us until later, as he had to work). L lent me an air mattress so I didn’t have to sleep directly on the ground, for which I was quite grateful. We finally got everything set up and got a campfire going for dinner.

We really were roughing it – Latreens for bathroom facilities, no showers (there were facilities, but it was a loonie for 5 minutes), and cooking over an open flame.

Friday night I noticed a lot of stars when I looked up….more than I’ve ever seen before. C suggested I walk out away from the campfire to see more, and K2 (B & L’s second oldest) came with me. We sat on a picnic table at an unused site and just looked up at the sky. We saw the milky way and all sorts of constellations I had only seen in books before. K1 and K2 (and B!) tried to convince me there were aliens and spaceships and when there was a moving star would say “hey look! aliens!”, but I’m not sure I buy that. I also saw several shooting stars that first night. Friday overnight was really cold and it rained. Unfortunately, I had to leave the warmth of my tent to find my way to the bathrooms around three in the morning.

Saturday morning was chilly, but fortunately it warmed up enough for us to go to the lake in the afternoon and go swimming. I had fun in the water with K1 & K2, playing catch and swimming. The kids discovered “sink sand” spots on the beach, and had fun getting sucked in up to their ankles in the sand before hopping out and then running into the lake to rinse off the sand.

Saturday overnight was chilly again. I was rolled in two blankets and I still was cold. Fortunately, I managed to get to the bathroom between rainstorms so I avoided getting wet.

Sunday, B & J took the kids fishing, so L, C, and I played Yahtzee and had a late lunch of blueberry pancakes. The kids came back in the afternoon because they got cold, and then in the late afternoon I learned how to play Canasta. I was partnered with B, and I didn’t know he was a card hoarder and we wound up losing because I went out while he was holding high cards! Whoops. Shortly after dinner, the downpour started. C, L, the babies, and I hightailed it into C & J’s tent where we all piled onto the bed and got under blankets to stay warm. I went and retrieved most of my belongings out of my tent in case it leaked, and for a while we thought I might have to sleep in their tent. The rain finally let up around 10:30, so I headed into my own tent and read by flashlight until I was tired enough to sleep.

Monday was miserable. It was pouring, and we had to do tear down! Of course, since most of us fled the screen tents the night before, everything had been left out overnight so we had to first clean up Sunday’s dinner. Taking down tents in the rain is no fun. Several times I got hit with water that had pooled on the top of one of the tents or tarps. We were all so cold and miserable, but we had to pack up! We finally had everything in the car and headed back to Dauphin.

I had to do four loads of laundry last night when I got home because I had to wash everything I had taken with me including my backpack and other bags because everything smelled like campfire. Then, I needed to wash the towel I used when I took my after-camp shower because it was gross and I added in some of the kitchen towels and the bathmats to make it a full load. Then, I was getting ready to re-make the bed and I discovered one of the cats had gotten sick all over one of the pillows and the sheets, so I had to wash the sheets AND a pillow.

I took a bath when I got home, figuring it was the best way to warm my body up and the best way to make sure I was clean. The bathwater was grey when I got out! EW! I made some soup for dinner, and then got into bed.

This morning I woke up with a sore throat and a stuffed nose, and now I have a headache. 🙁 But more soup, some zicam, some tylenol and a nap and I’ll be good as new.

Camping was fun, minus the rain. I think I’d probably be willing to go camping again…but only if we knew it wasn’t going to rain, and maybe with someone to share a tent with for warmth at night!


My home for the weekend!

Blue Lake

Wildflowers. I love the purple centered daisies!

To see the rest of my photos from camping, check out my gallery:

And in other great news, my birthday package from my mom arrived and in it was my Nokia N810! She needs a name other than N810, so leave your comments with suggestions. It’s worth noting that my laptop is named Gwen, my external Owen, and my iPod is Tosh. I’m considering renaming the iPod Ianto though so I can name the N810 Tosh ;). This time, the package was never even opened by customs, so I have no idea why it took so long to get here.


Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday was my birthday. This wasn’t the first time I’ve not been home on my birthday (I wasn’t while I was in college or the year I turned 27), but this was the first year I wouldn’t have at least been with close friends or a boyfriend for it. Mom was sneaky – She e-mailed Sarah and asked her about getting a cake delivered, and Sarah suggested she contact C (and this was before C and I met). Mom and C conspired for me to have a birthday celebration at C’s house. Mom also contacted a lot of people I know (family, friends, past co-workers) and asked them to send me e-mail for my birthday, so I had e-mails coming in all day from people I haven’t spoken to in a while. My friends on facebook sent me a lot of messages, and several message boards I frequent had threads wishing me a happy birthday!

So far I’ve received cards from my aunt and Tim, though Tim’s package hasn’t arrived, and I know I at least have a few more cards that haven’t yet come through.

The nicest surprise yesterday was a flower delivery from the cats I’m catsitting with a note that they “promise not to try to eat the flowers and then puke”. hehe. Of course, as soon as I put them down they started munching, so I put the flowers in the shower (it has a door) for the weekend.

Over at C’s, she made me my favourite meal – Spaghetti. We even fed some (pureed) to Baby C. C also made a Cheesecake Pie, and B & L came over with their kids and the kids sang for me.

UPS package is “in transit”. The website says rescheduled for 2 September, but the woman I talked to on the phone seems to think it will be delivered today. I won’t be here though, so J is going to stop by and check for a package since he’s not joining us at the campsite until tonight.

Flowers from the cats (Sarah)

The “what did I just eat” look on Baby C.

Okay, we’re off to Blue Lake for some camping! I’ll be back on Monday, hopefully with lots of stories and pictures! I haven’t been camping in years, so this ought to be fun! (and if I get cold, L told me she’d have one of her kids come sleep with me in my tent. hehe)

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Farmer’s Market? Sure, if you’re rich

This afternoon, C and I went to the “Farmer’s Market”. The first weird thing about this market is that it’s only open from 5PM to 8PM on Friday’s, and it’s in the Rotary Club building. But…okay. I figured it was later in the evening so more people could get to it. This is a small town, and probably most people work 9-5, so having market in the evening made sense.

Market, if you could call it that, was a joke. I think there were maybe 8 stands total, and at least three of those had or were baked goods stands, one was crafts, and one was used books (where, ironically, I spotted two Karen Kingsbury books!). The first stand had “Peaches and Cream” (white and yellow kernel) corn…$6/dozen. At home? I think the last time we were at market it was 12/$2.25. So right away, I knew this wasn’t going to be the type of market where I go with $10 and bring back a week’s worth of veggies. C and I did manage to get a bag of tomatoes for $5 that had about 20 small-to-medium tomatoes in it, and I bought some raisin bread and some cheese buns.

The best buy, though, was a Saskatoon Berry pie. C insisted that I had to try saskatoon berries since they are a local berry, so she bought a pie for us to have for dessert tonight. So good! Saskatoon berries sort of taste like a cross between a blueberry and a cranberry…actually, it reminded me a lot of the lingonberry. Apparently there’s a saskatoon berry farm near Dauphin, so C is going to check and see if it’s still saskatoon season and if we can go to get some fresh saskatoons. I’m just sad I won’t be able to bring any home to share with mom, but fruit can’t be taken into the Us :(.

I’m glad the raisin bread was only $2. There’s hardly *any* raisins in the bread at all, so really I might as well have purchased a loaf of white bread. The cheese buns are good though. I had to sample one tonight when I got home along with a slice of tomato on it. The tomatoes are alright, but not as tomatoey as local tomatoes. Being away for the summer, I missed out on my aunt’s “tomato man” (her neighbour) giving her tomatoes that she always passed on to us.

C had never been to market before, either, so we both came away disappointed, but glad we had checked it out.

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City Girl* on the Prairie

I spent this evening outside with the killer mosquitoes, assisting my new friend C with her vegetable garden. I braved the prickly raspberry bushes and picked a pretty decent bowlful of raspberries while she picked carrots, pea pods, and purple string beans. Then, I helped to shell peas. I really don’t think I’ve ever done something like that before, unless it was when I was really small. I had a good time, and I told C i’d help her out more if she wanted. She said she had weeding that needed to be done, and I told her that probably wouldn’t be a good idea, as I might not know what was plant and what was weed!

I came away with some fresh raspberries, cucumbers, apples, and carrots. And I really think the raspberries taste better than even the raspberries I bought at the farmer’s stand…..of course, this may have more to do with the fact that I picked them over anything else.

Oh, and purple string beans? Taste just like green ones. C told me they turn green when you cook them, and I was a little disappointed to find that out. I mean, how cool would it be to serve up a dish of purple beans at your next dinner party?

*I’m not really a city girl. But where I grew up, there wasn’t really room to have a garden. I think my mom had a rose bush for a while, but that’s about it. Oh, and my dad and I planted wildflowers when I was 8 or so. Now that mom and I live in a place where we have our own yard to grow stuff in, neither one of us really knows what to do to start a garden.


Mosquitos that Eat You Alive!

I joined Facebook yesterday morning, because a lot of people I knew were posting their photos on it and I couldn’t see them since I wasn’t a facebook user. Facebook can take your gmail address book and find your friends, so I had it do that, and it added J, Sarah and Joe’s friend who I met the other day. About 15 minutes later, I got a friend request from C, J’s wife. She suggested we get together, and I agreed. She asked me if I brought my bathing suit with me, which I hadn’t, but we decided to go to Wal-Mart to get one for me and then head to the lake with her son, who’s name also starts with a C, so I’ll call him Baby C.

Shopping for a bathing suit in the clearance section was fun. Loads of suits that were 2XL and 3XL and then suits that were size small. Yeah. Not too good for either of us, but in the end after many suits being tried on, we both wound up with the same top! One of the tops I tried on was so low cut, the center of it was below my chest!

By the time we picked out our suits, Baby C was ready for a nap, so we went back to their house to get ready to go out to Dauphin Lake. It was beautiful. C tells me the lake isn’t the cleanest, but compared to some bodies of water I’ve seen, this seemed tame. The lake also had sandbars in the middle of it and so we were able to walk out really far with the water only ever getting up to my hips, then lowering down to my lower legs. After we got out of the lake, Baby C attracted the attention of two ladies who were also at the lake, so we hung around for a little while while they fawned over Baby C (and he really is that cute!).

We returned to their house for dinner, and then some Olympic watching with J, and wine drinking outside.

While we were at the lake, C advised me to coat myself in bug spray. While she was telling me this, a mosquito around an eighth of an inch long landed on her leg and started biting! Those things are vicious! I didn’t spray the back fo my neck, so of course I have a bite where I can’t reach it to scratch. I also got bit right below the edge of my bathing suit. Other than that, no other bites.

C invited me to go camping next weekend. I haven’t been camping in years, and that’s only if sleeping in my friend’s aunt’s pop up tent trailer counts, but I might do it anyway. We had a lot of fun, and I’d really like to experience more of the things to do around here.

The sky is streaking pink with the sunrise. I was going to go outside and take photos of it, but it’s chilly out there, and I discovered how far I’d need to walk to get photos and decided it wasn’t worth it. Maybe if I go camping, I’ll get some pretty photos. I’m not sure why I couldn’t sleep tonight…I was tired enough from being out in the sun, but for some reason I started tossing and turning around 4am and finally gave up around 530. Maybe now that I’ve done something I’ll be able to go back to sleep. I also forgot to shower last night to wash off the bug spray and sunblock, so I feel a little itchy from that, too.

For a few more photos of yesterday, check my gallery:

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The Sun isn’t as Damaging Here?

Yesterday I was out from around noon until 4PM in the sun walking around into town and around town and then back. And I was *hot*. I drained my water bottle well before I even got back near the house, and my pedometer says I walked 5.25 miles. I neglected sunblock so I was sort of expecting to look in the mirror this morning and see sunburn on my forehead, but would you believe there’s nothing? Usually if I’m out in the sun for even a half hour without sunblock I start to get a little crispy. I’m sure the scientific reason is that I’m farther away from the equator, but I always thought sunlight was sunlight? Then again, when I was in the Caribbean, we were warned about the sun being hotter, so I suppose it makes sense the farther north you go, the less hot the sun is?

My latitude here is 51 degrees…am I really as close to the Arctic Circle as I think I am?

I’m using the latitude/longitude calculator here:, and apparently when I’m in the UK, I’ll be at the 0 meridian…so I get to go from the hundredth meridian to the zero…and I realize I am probably a huge geek for pointing this out. (Latitude of where I’ll be in the UK is 53)

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Rude Canadians?

Wow, I really bought into the old stereotype of “All Canadians are nice and polite” until today. I finally had my experience with a rude Canadian.

Last night, I really wanted a milkshake. I couldn’t remember which A&W Sarah told me was okay to go to, so today I decided to just walk down to the McDonald’s and get a milkshake. There was a family ahead of me – two kids, and two adults, and a teenager, who I wasn’t sure if she was with the family or on her own, since she was significantly older than the other two children. The counter person called “next”, and I hesitated for a minute to try to get the teenager’s attention to see if she was next or part of the family, when the man behind me not only barreled in front of me, but banged into me and practically sent me to the floor in his rush to get to the counter! Wow. I mean, if he had really wanted his Lunch that badly, I might have been nice and let him ahead, but I see no reason to push forward.

My second incident of rude – In order to get to the grocery store from Sarah and Joe’s, you have to cross the “highway” – it’s 4 lanes, but there *is* a crosswalk, and I was told that usually people will stop if they see someone waiting to cross, otherwise, you wait for it to be clear and then walk across like a normal crosswalk. I approached the crosswalk, and the cars on the opposite side of the street both stopped, and the car in the left lane on the side I was on stopped. There was a car coming in the right, but I figured as long as the other cars were stopped, it would stop too, so I started across. That jerk sped up! I had to RUN across the right lane so I could finish crossing. Seriously, what? If all the other cars are stopped for the pedestrian….shouldn’t you?

On the flip side….I talked to the man at the small vegetable stand outside the safeway,and he told me how to find the farmer’s market for next Friday (I’m too pooped right now!) and he sold me a cucumber for CDN$0.25, when he was selling them as “nine for $5”!

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of McDonald’s, I noticed what we would refer to as the “dollar menu” is called the “value menu” and most of the items are CDN$1.39, which when you do the conversion, is US$1.30. So even the fast food is more expensive here! But, they do have a CDN$0.99 Mini Milkshake – it’s the size of the happy meal drink and perfect when you just wanted a little bit of milkshake!

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How Far North Are You?

I keep getting asked how far North I am, and saying 200 miles North of Winnipeg doesn’t really work, unless you know exactly where Winnipeg is, so here’s a nice map for you with a pin where I am:

(click to make it bigger)

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Canadian Television

I’m not sure I really understand Canadian Television. Or, more aptly, I don’t understand the cable company Sarah and Joe have. They have digital cable, which has 100+ channels for your viewing pleasure…..but they all show the same shows. I found at least four instances of Ellen’s show, and caught Rachel Ray just as many times. What’s the point? Why have all these channels if all they do is repeat each other? I’ve also been entertained by the US stations it picked up. the NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates are all Detroit stations….when Detroit is no where near being the closest US city. If we were in Windsor, sure, but here? Nope. Oh, and there’s multiple NBCs too, and different time zone channels, so I saw on the menu the soap opera my mom watches available at at least three different times. And then, there are channels listed in the line-up, but they’re not part of Sarah and Joe’s package…so why bother even showing those as options? Do they just list them so people will *want* the channels and pay the extra money or something? All it does is annoy *me* because I can’t remember what channels they get in their package and don’t get.

But, they do get Space, and Torchwood starts on Friday on Space, so at least I get to re-watch Season Two! And, I get to watch the olympics in High-Definition…and I can pick either CBC or NBC 😀

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Shopping in Canada

I was so concerned before my trip about being able to figure out what the current temperature was outside (Multiply degrees in C by 9, then divide by 5, then add 32 to get degrees in F), that I never really stopped to think about the actual act of grocery shopping in another country.

So, here’s a few things I’ve learned so far that might be of help to other travelers:

  • Become familiar with the currency and the conversion rate. I’m fortunate that Canada uses the Canadian Dollar and so the denominations are all the same with the exception of using a one dollar and two dollar coin instead of bills. This morning, I had $10 in loonies and toonies in my purse! Also remember that when you go to convert money back to US currency, most places won’t take coins, even if they are the dollar and two dollar coins. The Canadian dollar is worth about US$1.03, so it’s nearly an even exchange. I can easily convert in my head to figure out how much I’m spending in US Dollars. (And it’s not pretty. Wow, stuff is expensive here!)
  • Learn the Metric system. I wanted to buy some cheese for sandwiches, and I stared gobsmacked at the signs for a good 10 minutes “$2.09/100g”. What’s 100g? 100g is a little less than 1/4 of a pound. So, if you wanted “one pound” of cheese, you’d need to order 100-500g. Fortunately, the deli scale at the Safeway measured in both pounds and grams, so when I explained I was a poor confused American who wanted a half pound of cheese, she was able to measure it out in pound format.
  • Be prepared to spend more money on “American” items. I didn’t come with any toiletries because I wanted to save on the room in my suitcase. I sort of wish I had brought some along, anyway. I still haven’t bought any body wash, because I haven’t been able to justify the CDN$6.99 (US$6.70) for a bottle of body wash. I’ve been using the crappy bar of soap I snagged from the hotel in Winnipeg. I usually get the cheap store brands for around US$2.50….that kind of stuff doesn’t exist here. I also couldn’t find my cheap shampoo. I use the VO5 .99 stuff because it’s good and it’s inexpensive. I couldn’t find VO5, but I did find Suave shampoo in the same strawberry scent I usually get. CDN$2.53 for a double pack of the Shampoo/Conditioner. Not a bad price, but not the brand I usually get. I wonder how much space/weight a bottle of body wash would have taken up? Oh well, too late now! I wonder if Bath and Body Works ships to Canada?
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Leg Two: VIA Rail Winnipeg -> Dauphin

I had such a great time on my VIA Rail trip yesterday, really. My train was set to leave at 9AM, but I got to the station around 7:30. VIA has checked baggage services (WOOT!) so I was able to check my large suitcase and that gave me time to wander around Winnipeg with just my backpack. Turns out, the VIA Rail station is in a bad part of town. Oops. As soon as I started seeing boarded up windows and smelled stale urine, I hightailed it back to the station. All I really had wanted to do was find some breakfast, but apparently there wasn’t even a Tim Horton’s on that end of town!

Back at the station, I sat with about a dozen or so people, all headed to points farther north (Churchill) and most booked into the sleeper cars. I met a man from Texas who was taking his annual vacation up to Churchill. We had fun comparing the weather with being farther North. I also met a German family who booked comfort class with me, and we spent part of the trip chatting.

The train was running on a slight delay, so we didn’t board until 9:15. But the train….oh, it’s lovely. So much leg room and head room and Amtrak *really* needs to take some notes from their sister organization! The seats had a footrest like a recliner would, and there was still room leftover that I had my large backpack at my feet and had plenty of room!

Check out that legroom!

Each train has a dining car and even that was pretty. I had a cheese sandwich (well, it was a ham and cheese I picked the ham off of) and some apple juice. Reasonably priced, too.

The dining car

Everyone I interacted with, from the counter person at Winnipeg, to the station master at Dauphin was incredibly nice and polite. The conductor even remembered I told him I had a checked bag so he went and got it off for me!

The only “thorn” perhaps, was a family with three small children under the age of 12. The kids were being rowdy and at one point bouncing on the seats and throwing shoes at each other with the parent either sleeping, or not paying attention. A quick trip to talk to the conductor though and the situation was solved.

The scenery was absolutely lovely, too, and I have TONS of photos to share! I’ve never seen the praries before, not even in the US, and the sheer vastness of flat was just breathtaking. Looking out either side of the train there was nothing but land as far as the eye could see…no skyscrapers, not even a mountain for a long while….just field after field of farming, flowers, and weeds.

Praries of Manitoba, with the Manitoba Escarpment in the background

Here’s a video I took of some of the scenery, including a CN train passing us:

For my photos I took in Winnipeg while walking around, you can check the gallery here:

For photos of the train and the scenery, you can check my VIA gallery here:

And, if you want to see pictures of my charges for the next eight weeks, I have some photos of them here:

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