Wednesday, 14 January 2015

A weekday in the country ( Fogged up in Point Roberts)

I so got used to US border guards in airports that I forgot how horribly rude and annoying the ones at land border crossings can be. "I ask the questions. I want you to be quiet, listen to my questions, and then answer. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?."  Take a pill, boy, and realize what you're pretending to protect.  Point Roberts is a tiny exclave of Washington state, in which the combined number of gas stations and real estate offices almost surpasses the number of residents.  But maybe that fact is the actual reason that he finds it hard to believe that someone would want to ride a bicycle there. If I had arrived in my pick-up truck and told him that I was crossing the border to buy cheap gasoline, he probably would have just waved me through. Or maybe he considers my choice of a mode of transportation that does not contribute to global warming as an attack on the American way of life.

If you're looking for something else than cheap gas, a mouldy beach house, a marina, or the opportunity to add another country/province/state sticker to your battery, Point Roberts probably won't be able to meet your needs.

 I follow the signs to experience the advertised scenic route, and after passing at least 2 real estate offices, I finally reach the ocean by way of pushing my bicycle on top of a concrete block housing an effluent pipe.

Cormorant birds. The best thing about Point Roberts ;-)

NOT a UFO. A break in the fog cover

 A restaurant loudly advertises that they take Canadian Dollars at Par.  That's quite something, considering the current exchange rate is 1.19 CDN to 1 US. But at this time, I just want to get out of this place; the entire peninsula has a post-apocalyptic feeling: I haven't seen a single pedestrian or cyclist since I arrived and the few pick-up trucks and bimbo vans on the road are not enough to keep me here.

In contrast to his US counterpart, the Canadian border guard on the way back is nice.  Even though I am arriving without my Permanent Resident card, he lets me though after asking whether I'm bringing back cigarettes or alcohol. Finally someone with common sense. It's not as if I swam from Honduras to Point Roberts with a bicycle on my back. Maybe having a passport plastered full of visas and exit and entrance stamps doesn't hurt either. 

The waitress at Nikko Sushi in Tsawwassen is lovely and the food is edible, but unfortunately this is a 'dry' Sushi place. Blame Canada's retarded liquor laws. What is wrong with allowing a Sushi place to serve wine or beer? Afraid this will give rise to saloon fights of utterly inebriated Cowboys and Indians?

On Wednesday I have the pleasure to drive from Tsawwassen to North Vancouver at 9:30 am in fog.  And I mean fog the whole way.  The weather forecast for Vancouver for today is sun again.  This keeps happening again and again and again. I'm getting to the point where I don't even want to check the weather forecast again.    Traffic along the whole route is HEAVY.  Where are all these people going?

When I cross Knight Street Bridge, the fog densely covering South Vancouver and Richmond is heavily scented with turpentine or solvents.  This is where they seem to make particle board.  I thought solvents were harmful to human health.  Smelling this from the fast-moving enclosed air space of a car makes me wonder about the people who live here and breathe this stuff 24/7.

When visiting Grandma by bicycle later in the day, I cross HWY #1.  Vancouverites are performing their daily ritual of forming a traffic jam all the way to Second Narrows Bridge.  No, there is no accident. No, traffic volume is not too high. Vancouver drivers for some reason are TOO DUMB to merge, so every time another entrance ramp hits the highway, there is a lot of panic and braking. The stench of exhaust when I cross the highway is formidable.

The upper levels highway is ABOVE the fog level !
Normally this confluence of unpleasant natural factors and human stupidity would have added substantially to my melancholic mood, but not this time: An escape from fog, cold, traffic jams, and yoga mats is only 8 sleeps away ;-)

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