Thursday, September 15, 2005

Top Ten minus five

Hey everybody,

First off, I owe you some pictures of some of my Rock friends. Here are some of the starfish I was having fun picking up, and, of course, Martin the Great Blue Heron, in all his splendour.






A couple updates to my life - I've now been to one of every one of my classes, and I'm in the midst of figuring out how I'm going to actually accomplish all of this reading. Danice and I are about ready to throw our phone out the window. We have developed relationships with all of the staff at Webcall (who are located, ironically, in Saskatchewan) by means of repeated attempts to get our phone working. As of tonight, we still have nothing. Argh. I don't want to talk about it.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the top five differences between Vancouver and Saskatoon. If I had ten, I'd put ten. Maybe after I've been here longer I'll notice more.

5. Some green lights here are constantly flashing. I still haven't got a satisfactory answer as to why. I know that they're the lights that only turn red if a pedestrian wants to cross. But we have those in Saskatoon, too, and they don't have to flash. If any Vancouverian reading this blog would like to comment on this, I would be much obliged.

4. In Vancouver, at least what I've seen of Vancouver so far, there are more Starbucks than Tim Hortons. I'm absolutely sure that it's the other way around in Saskatoon. In fact, I have yet to see a Tim Hortons here, though I've been told they exist. But there are intersections here where there are two Starbucks facing each other, and they both seem to be doing excellent business.

3. In Vancouver, you always have to dial the area code. This is because there are two area codes in this city. Danice considers this to be highly embarrassing, because there are cities far bigger than Vancouver that manage just fine with one area code. Oh well. What matters is I learned quickly that when people around here ask for your phone number, you give them 10 digits.

2. Wildlife. Obviously, the marine wildlife I've already discussed in this blog are quite different from the Saskatoon river life. But one thing I didn't know before coming here is that instead of gophers (or for mammalogists like me, ground squirrels) they have black squirrels. Yes, black squirrels scampering across the road. Especially on campus. As an aside, an American student at Regent asked me what a gopher was, and I told him they were a highly-sought-after pet in Canada, but I could get him one for cheap - say, 50 bucks. So could someone trap one for me?

1. Everything is big and green here. There are huge plants everywhere. One of my first comments to Danice when I arrived here (a great first impression) was, "I feel like I'm in that Super Mario Big Land". You know, the world where everything in the scenery is twice the normal size. I've also foolishly asked whether certain trees are real. Danice laughs, because they're obviously rooted in the ground. But monkey trees - ever seen those? Weird. Here's a picture. You'll have to tilt your head again. Apparently, people play "monkey tree no returns" the same way we play "punchbuggy". Also, hedges seem to be a big thing in my area. I walked down one street and thought, you know, this street was probably originally one giant hedge that people cut their yards out of.

0. And I forgot one, so it's number zero. The bus. The bus is electric. These two bars stick out of the top of it and connect to overhead wires that run along main streets. Sometimes the bars fall off and the driver has to use a pole to put them back on. And at least in my area, there is no bus schedule. It's supposed to come frequently enough that you just show up at the bus stop and one will come. From my experience, this is not always the case. Also, if the bus is full, it will just drive right past your bus stop, too bad for you. I have told people that in Saskatoon, if this were to happen, people would be dying of frostbite at every stop. Nobody here seems to care about frostbite.

Well, that's all for now. I'm going to pass these onwards and upwards to David Letterman. Or maybe just Sam, for old time's sake. Ah, the days of top ten lists at the Connection...

Beth

P.S. I'd like to give a shout out and huge recognition to Christine Kulyk, who helps me deal with things and listens to me vent so that I write happy, funny blogs instead of sad, depressing ones. You go, girl.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beth,
we have black squirrels running around everywhere here too.
-alexa

tank said...

I think that those lights flash to be a cautionary warning, as there are people who cross at cross-walks with little regard for traffic or colour status of light (such as myself).

Daniel said...

I saw some of them black squirrels when I was in Toronto this summer as well... They were huge. I didn't catch on to why they were black until I barely saw one climbing the side of a very dirty (near black) building... Thank goodness the U of S has the biggest grounds crew in the world to clean our buildings, or else our squirrels and gophers would evole black fur as well...

Liger with magical powers said...

Hi Beth,
I laughed about your Starbucks comments, I was in Vancouver in 2000 and I noticed that they were across the street from each other. So I stood in line to ask why they would do that, and the guy answered that having 2 Starbucks stores takes up space so that their competitors can't open up shop right next to them. Also, apparently one Starbucks will specialize in making the drinks and the other one sells more bulk coffee.
One more thing, this is to follow up our seal lion/seal discussion. A sea lion still has slightly visible external ears, and a seal does not. So there's a way for you to tell them apart by looking at their heads.

rochelle laura knox said...

there are squirrels in kingston too! everywhere. the other day leah and i were walking down a street (she's visiting me from ottawa right now) and we saw the cutest squirrel. we stopped to look at it and it got so scared it actually jumped in the air and stretched out all it's paws and screeched. kind of sad but very cute. didn't think things like that actually happened.

beth: too bad the depressing comes with the happy. this has been 2 weeks of extreme for me! the sum total? i think we're into the black now. yup, up and up in positive land.

and hello alexa! since you read this blog i'll send ontario-buddy greetings to you. wondering how you're settling in. me, i'm ok. ;)

p.s. i boycott starbucks on principle though i do love the coffee. instead i attempt to frequent the small independent organic/free trade/ save the whales places. like the sleepless goat in kingston and the living room in saskatoon.

katevp said...

everyone has always wondered here in ottawa why i am afraid of squirrels. this summer thom came to calgary and saskatoon with me, now at least one person understands. they are big(like cats) and black (like black cats). I am glad to know that others have experienced this phenomenon.

kate

Lauren said...

Hey Beth! Finally got around to reading your blog. It's good to know that things are mostly on the good side for you. As for the gophers, it's getting winter so they are starting to hibernate, so the price will $75, instead of the $50. If they have you hopping like they have us fourth years, then I'm glad that you make time for yourself each day.

See you when you come back to Saskatchewan.
Lauren.