Sunday, May 17, 2015

Is Canada really just the U.S.'s hat?

Okay. I can generally have a good time in any country I go to, so maybe it was just that I was visiting an English-speaking country, which made this less fun than it could have been. It was a work trip, my first time using the company card (good times) and honestly I worked through so much of it that there was hardly anytime left for anything else. Most nights I just hung out in the hotel bar because it was too cold to go out and do things and I had to be up to early in the morning to do work things. So the hotel bar served me well.

I would have been happy to have Canadian food, but there is no such thing as Canadian food. Most days I had Starbucks and worked through dinner with events. On the first night I managed to escape a bit and figured I would need to find some food. I never mind wandering and free-time eating is usually the best time to explore a city as well.

The problem for me, though, was that Canada was just bland. It felt like any other North American city and I wasn’t seeing or experiencing anything that made it exciting and different. I know, part of this is my fault. I mean, there was the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum that I didn’t visit. There was a tower that looked like it had been plucked straight out of Seattle. There were several hotels. There were all sorts of things. They were even having a fashion event on some street, so there was that.

But at the end of the day none of this impressed me.

I had been walking about that evening, enjoying a somewhat warmish night and the last day before work kicked up hard and decided to try to do something to excite myself. To that end, I had walked by an oyster bar and figured that might at least be somewhat entertaining.

So I walked down the stairs and into St. Louis. The bar itself was well laid out, and they did have a lovely selection of oysters for people to feast on, so I can’t really complain about that, but it was funny to me how, of all the bars and restaurants on the strip, I had picked the one that was basically St. Louis. They even had a Sazerack on the menu. The special that night was dirty martinis, so I figured I’d have oysters and martinis and a gay old time.

I also blogged, but not for love of writing, for work. One of the many reasons my writing for myself has languished over the last few months. I worked, I ordered a martini. The martini was woefully small, which is when I noticed that in Canada, like Germany, they measured the liquor to an ounce and there was not going to be any such things as a proper Chicago-size martini. I experienced much sadness at this and figured if I drank enough of them, I’d be all right. Which is what I set out to do.

I ordered a half-dozen oysters and let the chef pick. The selection was not bad overall and I admitted to enjoy the Americaness of the ambiance as I sat in the little bar and worked. I chatted up the waitress a bit, had some fish, chatted up the waitress some more, and after having consumed a fair number of martinis I hit the cold night air for the walk back to the hotel, leaving St. Louis, re-entering Canada. Canada did not get much more interesting than that.

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