There are some advantages to visiting the same place often – like having Bob the border guard greet us by name as he glances at our passports and tells me that his cold is now much better – or knowing that it’s only thirteen metres from the arrivals gate door to the nearest Tim Horton’s coffee counter. We are, however, noticing a few changes since our last visit. Many of the craggy mountains that surround the city have lost their familiar frosting of snow, and the sun sets about five hours earlier than we have come to expect.
When we arrive the sun is shining on a world of colour as the leaves on the street trees blaze their defiance at the coming winter. The weather is still warm enough for many of the locals to wear shorts, giving us a false sense of security. Nanette is wondering whether she really did need to bring quite so many coats, then an ad comes on the radio – “it’s getting colder – fit your winter tyres now before it’s too late!” Ok – maybe they know something we don’t.
Sure enough, it’s only a couple of days before the sun disappears and is replaced by a sort of gloomy grey with intermittent rain and drizzle. This is where I notice one of the other differences between Vancouver and the Land of Oz. We’re out and about and see construction guys working outside in ankle deep mud, oblivious to the rain. I ask whether they get wet weather pay. They look blank. Maybe it’s my accent. I point to the sky and carefully enact rain falling followed by a dramatic dropping of tools and a quick retreat to the demountable work shed. Then I realise there is no demountable work shed and it finally dawns that, if these guys didn’t work in the rain, progress would grind to a halt from September through to about April each year.
I also realise that I still haven’t quite made the transition from down under to Eh? It will take time, but it will happen. Ah well, time to go gas up the car and head back home to charge my cell phone before the hockey starts tonite.