Monday, December 30, 2013

3 Weeks in Canada—Things I've Noticed About Them

I've just arrived home from a 3-week vacation in Canada. Well to be specific, Langdale, Gibsons, which is about a 40-minute ride by ferry from Vancouver. Apart from the cold weather in the winter, I've noticed some interesting things about the Canadians in general. Although I'm still very exhausted from the ravages of the long journey home (I arrived in KK this morning), and before my old brain forgets what I want to say, I'd like to share with my readers some of the things that stood out from the rest while I was there.

Display of Huge Cars

I've had the opportunity to swim in an indoor pool. It was a small 20-metre pool which was OK for a lousy swimmer like me. But the thing that was something of a culture shock to me was the fact that the men were going around totally in the nude in the changing room. Let me tell you that these white men were huge, and I'm not even talking about the size of their bodies!

Some friends had suggested that I join the party by taking everything off too—so as not to be the odd one out, if you know what I mean—but although I'm not exactly shy to be seen by other nude men, I was rather concerned that I would be the main attraction by being the smallest of the lot. And again, I'm not talking about the size of my body. Think of it as attempting to display my Austin Mini or Proton Saga kelabu car when in the company of those who drive the likes of huge Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Size of the Population

I'm not talking about the number of people in the country. Rather, I'm talking about the size of their bodies. Although Malaysians are very quickly getting fat and obese, I've noticed that a very high proportion of the Canadian population are made of fat to obese people. I'm not sure if it has something to do with their diet or lack of physical exercise (or even both), but I have the impression that a random toss of a stone in the street could land on a fat Canadian somehow!


I suppose all the countries in the world have their shares of rude and bad-manners people, but when considered from the general point of view, the Canadians are certainly friendlier than the Malaysians. Total strangers smile and greet you with "Hi" or "Good morning" in the street. Their shop assistants are more than willing to help you when you enter their stores; and everybody is equal regardless of gender, race and religious beliefs.

Disabled People

When walking in the streets, you are more likely to bump into people with walking aids or sitting in a wheelchair; the latter may be electronically-motorized. You see them even during the winter. It's quite an eye opener as we don't have very many of these people in the streets of Malaysia. But that is quite expected because our country is just not as friendly as Canada in terms of facilities for disabled folks. Practically everywhere in Canada you see special facilities for disabled people—you have special seats for them in buses; public toilets specifically constructed for the disabled in mind; entrances and exits in public places can be opened and closed by the press of a button (apart from door knobs); pavements and pedestrian walkways built with ramps for wheelchairs etc.

These are some of the interesting things I've noticed during my 3-week survival in the frozen world up north. 20 years ago when I last visited Langdale, I said my next visit would be during the summer. But as fate would have it I ended up visiting during the winter again! Thinking of the dreadful long journey, sitting for mind-boggling eternity in the planes, I'm not sure when is my next visit, if ever again! But if indeed there is another visit, I will try much harder to make in during the summer; and this time maybe cover more parts of Canada too.

Oh I'm so tired now. I need sleep! Will sort out the photos taken during the trip, but to some of the ladies out there, I'm afraid I don't have any shots of the changing room at the swimming pool. I'm so sorry.

Good night, folks!