Happy 4th of July, American Neighbours

Joshua Tree National Park - Bruce Witzel photo

My last post was all hip-hip hoorays for Canada. Today, I have the pleasure of saying Happy 4th of July to my American neighbours.

We really have the best times when we travel in the States. We love to drive the scenic byways and stop at the funky roadside stands and cafes. And we love your National Parks, Monuments and Forests. We’ve visited several and I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience. The sites are easily accessible (sometimes stunningly so) and the National Park rangers are friendly and well-informed.

Death Valley Travles - Bruce Witzel photo

When I think about our many road trips across the line (that’s what we say in Canada when we travel down to the US), the one thing that really stands out is the friendliness of Americans. We Canadians are known for being polite but in that courtesy there can be an ever-so-slight standoffishness. The Americans we have chatted with during our travels are almost always smiling, helpful and genuinely happy we chose to visit their country.

Eastern Sierra Nevadas - Bruce Witzel photo

American helpfulness can be quite above and beyond at times. When asking for directions, we’ve had a person say he didn’t know but he would call a cousin who was sure to know and get him to come down and tell us. We’ve had a guy start to explain how to get somewhere and then shrug his shoulders and say, “Oh, just follow me,” as he hopped in his truck to drive totally out of his way. We’ve been ‘god blessed’ so many times we don’t even think it odd anymore. Americans travelling in Canada might notice that we don’t do a lot of ‘god blessing’ up here.

One thing I have learned, after a few trips to the USA, is that when I want a bathroom I shouldn’t ask for a washroom. The term is common in Canada and always means bathroom. In the States, when I use the term washroom, I first get a slight frown, a shake of the head and then the person helpfully tells me that I might find a Laundromat a few streets down.

American the beautiful – you are certainly that. Happy 4th of July and many thanks for your hospitality and welcoming smiles from an ever-so-slightly standoffish Canadian who enjoys her visits to your great big land of wonders.

Olivera Str. LA - Bruce Witzel photo