My friend Norm (one of the most persuasive of those who had been asking me to do this) told me that he had created a link to the blogsite. All well and good, but when I checked the link to his web page, I realized how many other people are doing blogs now-a-days. Suddenly, I feel all trendy. I must be really out of touch with cyber culture. Along with alot of other trends, for that matter. [ One thing that I find extremely strange is how John Deere apparel is all the rage in the hip clothing stores. There's something fundamentally wrong about paying $40 for one of their shirts. Or the same prince for a crappy net-in-back cap, that used to be only a couple of bucks in a garage back in the day. I guess I really am beginning to get old(er). And then again, those red plad shirts used to go for about $80 back when they were 'in'.]
It's been a good week. Winnipeg ended on a high note, towards the end the hostel started to fill up a bit more. One of the people that I was hanging out with the most was starting medical school at the University of Manitoba. What made him more interesting, though, were the stories he told of his rock climbing adventures. Apparently, last year he had, as he put it, a bit of an accident. His harness gave out and he fell 50 feet face first onto a rock (!). Nine times out of ten a person would die either immediately after the fall or a few days later from a brain hemorrhage. He somehow got off just fine, with just a mild bump on his forehead. Not even a bit of brain damage, which the doctors considered to be virtually impossible.
As I was getting ready to leave Winnipeg, he offered to drive me out to the truck stop, and after only 20 minutes there, I got a ride straight to Regina. The trucker himself was definitely a character, originally from Quebec, complete with French accent, but now living in B.C. The funny part was how much he hated the French language, as well as the French culture in general. By far one of the most (politically) conservative people that I've talked to in a while, he was a seperatist, but not for Quebec. Instead, he wanted to see western Canada separate from the east, in order to stop all of Alberta's money being wasted on transfer payments. Ironic, considering that I'm from the Maritimes. Still, he was a nice guy, and although my views are a fair bit different from his, I wasn't about to start an argument with him in his own truck, so I went along with it. He told me towards the end of the trip that he was very impressed to have met a hitch hiker that could carry on a decent conversation about politics and the economy, after which he bought me lunch. I guess maybe I am in a bit of a unique position. Once in Regina, he dropped me off right by the hostel door before continuing to Calgary.
Regina was an experience in it's own right. A few doors down the street from where I was staying, an organic vegetarian restaurant was going out of business. In order to end with a bang, they were throwing a (big by Regina's standards) party. As the hostel was completely empty, I decided to check it out. Not knowing anyone, I didn't really expect much, but everyone was very friendly, and breaking the ice was no problem at all. There were a few things that caught me off guard, though. First was that most people were much older than they looked. I figured most were early twenties, but I was actually one of the youngest there. But most surprising was that almost everyone had a family. After talking to someone for a few minutes, they would say that they wanted to introduce me to someone. It would usually turn out to be there wife or husband, complete with a baby or two. I was told later that Saskatchewan has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in all of Canada. Even more surprising was that alot of them were hippie types, and most hippies that I've known tended to shy away from commitments in general.
Currently, I'm in Saskatoon, which tends to be (as I was told by the locals in both cities) more vibrant than Regina, though still not very big (pop~200000). Again, the people here are very nice. Yesterday, I was getting lunch at a Pita Pit restaurant downtown, and started chatting with the girl that works there. She offered to show me around town a bit that evening, and I'm going to meet her again today. I find it strange that it was Manitoba that dubbed itself 'friendly' on the license plates, when Saskatchewan seems to be much moreso.
I'll probably head for Edmonton either tomorrow or the day after, and rest up before kicking off the next leg of my trip, Yellowknife. If it's anything as intense as going to Whitehorse was, I'll need all the rest I can get. And judging from the distance I'll have to go, it should be at the very least comparable. Though when I was going to Whitehorse, it was already October, and hence quite cold. At least this time the weather should be a little less of a drain.