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the candian border

Somehow I was expecting a warm friendly welcome to Canada – I have no idea why. However, when I final arrive at the border I am confronted with a tall, neatly uniformed immigration officier (who reminds me of Guy Pearce, as the very officious, honest cop in LA Confidential). He questions me thoroughly as to my plans and the amount of money I have in my possession and is visibly unimpressed by my casual attitude to scheduling and dates. He invites me inside the building to append a form to my passport which will register my departure from Canada two months hence. No six months visa free visit for scruffy touring cyclists, it seems.

By the time, I leave the building the black mass of clouds that had been looming over the mountain range is dumping icy rain which, as I set off, turns to hail.

Storm clouds to welcome me to Canada.

Storm clouds to welcome me to Canada.

Beaver Creek is also a disappointment. Neither ATM will process VISA bank cards and, unaccountably, people stare at me. I haven’t looked in a mirror for a long time and I wonder if there is a good reason. The guy at the tourist information office is charmingly eccentric, though, rushing from behind his counter to shake my hand and plying me with free maps.

The nearest campsite is thirteen miles down the road and so I set off for an hour or so of pedalling before setting up camp and dinner. Some miles out of town I spot a punnet of cherry tomatoes and a red, green and yellow pepper lying by the side of the highway. This gift from providence cheers me a little.

When I finally arrive at the camp site it is still cold and grey. I eat the peppers raw relishing the fresh vegetables but the tomatoes I cook up with garlic and dash of olive paste and ate with pasta – a lavish feast. Wandering down to the lake to do my dishes I pass a Yorkshireman and chat briefly. On the way back, I pass he and his friends campsite and invite myself to their fire. I am rewarded for my fowardness with a beer and some friendly company by a roaring fire which warms me a little more to Canada.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. julie | August 15, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi Anna – what a find to spot fresh food on the highway – providential! Reminds me of a doco seen recently of a man who spent 25 years walking around australia living entirely from what he found on the side of the roads thrown out of car windows or dumped. He carried his gear on his back but depended on found food and generous offerings from people he met. Not sure it would work so well on a bike as you expend so much more energy than walking snd need to refuel. Hope you are getting a really good meal now and again – you must have lost kilos! Julie xx

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