BRITISH BY NAME BRITISH BY NATURE!

Trip Start Oct 10, 2013
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7
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Trip End Feb 27, 2014


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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Saturday, November 2, 2013

Firstly, thanks so much for all your comments on my blog entries. It's great to know that: (a) I'm not writing this and I'm the only one reading it; (b) there are lots of friends interested in where i am and what I'm getting up to; and (c) you're enjoying the updates and as some of you have said, feel like you've been along on the journey with me, without having to endure delayed trains, hostels and smelly male dorms!

Also, before I begin, let me apologise for any spelling mistakes in my blogs. As many of you will know I'm a self-confessed spelling and grammar snob. However, I am writing some of these blogs on my iPhone, and fat thumbs and 5mm keys don't mix brilliantly. I'm also usually snatching a few precious minutes of wifi connection, before I move to my next destination, to finish writing and upload the blog entry! I usually then re-read the blog offline and think 'aaaarrrrrgggggghhhhh, that should read "big bit" not "big butt" or some other embarrassing typo!

One final bit of travel in this trans-Canadian experience. The 20 hour train journey from Jasper to Vancouver. Again it was great to meet some lovely people, including Angela and Réné, a couple relocating to British Columbia (Angela's childhood & family home) from Ontario. During our conversations about food, drink, regional accents, wildlife and much more, Angela furiously wrote down notes of British things that she was keen to experience. I raised a smile to myself imagining them trying to find Somerset scrumpy cider in Kamloops and settling down to a night in front of Little Britain & YouTube videos of people with Geordie accents! I can see the look of disappointment and puzzlement on their faces!

The section of the trans-Canadian train trip from Jasper to Mount Robson is the most spectacular - with the Rocky Mountains featuring. People were going crazy taking photos, but I just sat back and reflected. These scenes are beautiful, but having had a week driving around the Rocky Mountain National Park, they were not a patch on the remote and unspoilt scenes that I had enjoyed, photographed and been mesmerised by.

Yet again on this journey there is an illustration of how backward the Canadian rail network is. One passenger was booked to get off at Chilliwack (one of those arse-end of nowhere stops where the train only stops if passengers are booked to go there or someone flags it down to get on). [Chilliwack - i love that name, although i'm told it's only funny when i say it with a British accent!] The train approached Chilliwack and a lady near me was due to get off but sailed straight through! The lady 'created' and asked the crew to back the train up but they refused. Instead they said they would pay for a taxi from Abbotsford (next station 30 minutes later). The train arrived at Abbotsford station. No taxis! One was called. In the meantime the train sat at the station until the taxi arrived for the passenger to transfer (bear in mind that this is another arse-end of nowhere station with no buildings, it's 7am and raining, so holding the train is the only possible shelter for the passenger until that taxi!). Turns out the taxi was coming from Chilliwack, and got lost. So all in all, the train sat stationary for 55 minutes all because the train staff forgot to stop to let a passenger off! Hopefully the final misfortune in this lady's journey, she climbed into the cab and the driver shut the door on her ankle. That was definitely not going to be a jolly cab ride - she was raging before she disembarked from the train, let alone after suffering an injury not dissimilar to the scene from Stephen King's Misery!! On reflection, I find it hilarious that the car door/ankle incident happened where it did - Chilli-WHACK!!

In my blogs I've probably not sold VIA Rail to you. Despite this, I would still advocate the experience - providing you don't have somewhere to be at a specific time or a short onward connection time! It truly has been one of the most entertaining & comedic parts of my trip so far - how can a country that is so advanced & technological in so many areas be so backward in its trans-Canadian passenger rail service!?! It has also been the place where I have met the best new faces of my trip so far.

Having said that, the American couple opposite (each sat on two seats one in front of the other) did start to grate, as he gave a running commentary. "Joyce, there's a whole lot of logs down by that lake.... That bridge is interesting because it has an arch AND suspension on one side.... You know what Joyce, these hill shapes remind me of Hawaii". Meanwhile Joyce acknowledged each comment, "aah huh", whilst not even bothering to look out of the window! No comments from you Andi Parsons about similarities...!

Arrival into Vancouver, British Columbia. It's got British in the name - so quite apt that it's peeing down with rain and looks set to be like that most of the week!

The final part of my Canadian Adventure begins here in BC.
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Comments

Lynn on

Hi James
Saw that you posted this blog, and got really excited at the thought of getting home from work and sitting with a cup of tea and reading without any interruptions, love them :)

Xxx

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