Sunday, October 08, 2006

Things are always bigger in the US … or Canada…

When I first came to the US, and always thereafter, I have always heard from all over the world, that “things are always bigger in America”. Invariably, everyone outside of here, means the USA when they say America. And indeed, I found, as a girl coming from Eastern Europe, that things are indeed bigger, wider, and more … wide spread here, in the Land of the Free. All things, almost … until this fall I got the chance to visit Eastern Canada. And let me tell you: if one is really keeping score, and after living here in the US for close to 9 years now, not ALL things are indeed bigger in the USA: SOME things are “bigger” in Canada, rather. Here are some of those things that I came across with:
- beer containers for sure, are bigger in Canada: I was able to order a meter of beer only in Quebec City and Montreal, not NYC or Atlanta; bring on your guts people (beer guts, that is), and make room for the bathroom line; one restaurant had these chemistry-lab looking glass containers almost a yard tall, for beer, and they told us that’s all they have to serve beer in (see photo); it’s either that, or water! It’s pretty interesting when you get to drink out of a “glass” the size of your 6 foot tall brother in law’s torso when you’re barely 5 foot tall; quite an undertaking.
- Waterfalls are gigantic in Canada. I have always thought you have to fly out West, to the Rockies, or at least to Niagara, of course, to see truly spectacular waterfalls in the US; the East Cost, I thought, doesn’t provide mountains with the necessary altitude to make the waterfalls spectacular, but not true: drive up to Quebec City – somewhat on the East coast, right?! Just drive up to Canyon Ste. Anne and Montmorency Chute, and you will feel just like an ant in the face of nature. Montmorency falls are the tallest dump of water in North America, taller than Niagara itself, although not bigger in volume of water; just in height: 80 meters. I have always loved the North Carolina mountain waterfalls, but your breath never stops until you climb down and then up in the Canyon Ste. Anne, and stare at the falls. It’s where Thoreau found home, and quite a spectacle.
- I know you’ll laugh, but squirrels are the size of huge, fat, rabbits in Canada! They’re fat, and they fall outta trees with a “plump” noise. I was almost scared of them! They really look like a wild, dangerous creature, not like the cuddly little cute rodent we’re used to, here in the South at least! They’re fat things! Maybe they have more fat for the long, cold winter, who knows?!
- Butter sticks: butter eaters of the South need to move to Montreal! Man, the Canadian butter “sticks” look like a PACK of butter sticks here, and twice the height! The butter savers - things are made the same way, of course: they take up as much room in the fridge as a carton of 6 eggs! Yes, they do call it a “butter stick”, and not a “package” or a “lump”. I thought shampoo bottles are huge in America, compared to Europe, until I saw the butter “sticks” in Canada: you have it for a safe 3-4 months, if you asked me: how does that not go spoiled?! Apparently not!
- And one last thing: prices! Ok, maybe they’re not bigger there than all over the US, maybe just bigger than the South, but the cheapest pint of domestic beer starts at C$5.40?! And yes, it’s a pint, which means it’s draft, which means, it’s half water anyways… And yes, it’s C$5.40, and you’re thinking “Canadian dollars are much smaller than US dollars”, but not the case: for whatever the reason (politics is not the point of this blog), the conversion rate right now is C$1.08 to $1.00 – so, you see… not a huge difference there at all! And since we’re on the topic: Quebec taxes are enormous! Think a 7% tax rate on your food and drinks is huge?! Maybe a 7.5% is immoral?! Try 14%, since you pretty much have to pay the same tax (7%) for Quebec as you pay for Canada…But then again, who do you think pays for all that “free” healthcare?!
And one more last (sad) note: yes, Americans still do amaze me as the “largest humans” on Earth! In that respect, Quebec looks like a London, or any other European capital: a GQ or Vogue poster can be shot in Montreal any day of the week! I was really trying to find at least a resemblance to “America” in this respect, but … no luck!
For pictures, copy and paste in browser:

No comments: