Growing up on an island, you lose any sense of borders. There are none. If you keep walking in any direction, you’ll fall off a cliff into an ocean. Our island has islands and our island’s islands have islands. You get used to being isolated. Like that Simon & Garfunkel song. An island never cries. Oh wait, different story.
So when I went to visit my cousins April and Cindy in Ottawa, Ontario, you can imagine my surprise when one night we were driving around and April suddenly announced, “We’re in Quebec.”
I had expected some sort of ceremony. Alarms ringing out. Flashing signs and armed guards posted at every roadway. Fireworks and choirs singing on the sidelines. SOMETHING to indicate the monumental occasion of being able to cross another Canadian province off my list.
In a way, it happened in the form of a beer store.
Yes, we went across the border to get beer.
My cousin could drive there with her eyes closed, apparently. We ended up at a tiny beer store in Hull. If the whole border idea wasn’t shocking enough, there I was, tossed into a beer haven. Half-cases for $8 and 2-4s for $15! EVERY IMPORTED BEER IN THE UNIVERSE!
My cousins and I giggled. We held hands in a circle and danced around the cooler. We took pictures. See?
And then, after 15 minutes of beer porn, in walked three of my other relatives. All from within Ottawa. I shit you not, I was in a beer store in Quebec and my relations just happened to show up.
These aren’t even my boozey relations. They’re the normal ones.
But I digress. That’s the funny thing about borders, they’re invisible concepts; yet, for an island girl like myself, it was difficult to grasp. I kept hearing my cousins talking about “driving across the border to the States” and it struck me as extremely fortunate to be able to do those little things. Newfoundland is a world onto itself.
(When we got back to Ottawa, we drove around a little more. Finally, April decided she wanted wine instead of beer, so we pulled up to a LCBO liquor store [“Lik-bo,” as they so fondly referred to it]. And, as we were pulling in, the same beer store relatives were pulling out.)
In other travel-related news, Corbin Fraser over at iBackpackCanada dubbed me as one of the 6 Canadian Travel Bloggers You Should Be Following. Well I’ll be damned! Thanks Corbin! Looking forward to meeting you next weekend, hopefully.
ALSO, really think you should vote for my trip. It has phalluses.