June 2009


Oh Canada!

Awesome Airport Art

Awesome Airport Art

The flight from London to Detroit was, as the pilot promised, 30 minutes from take off to touch down—and with it, my journey home began.

The funniest moment of the day, for me, was my trip through security at the London Airport. The polite and nice security guard appreciated the fact that I was able to have my suitcase on the belt, the laptop out of the bag and my baggie of liquids ready to go—and then she looked at my boarding pass—when she saw I was heading to Detroit, I had to take off my shoes!

I expressed surprise and she explained to me that because I was flying to the United States, I would have to remove my shoes—it’s the policy of the United States, she explained. This is obviously flawed: I’ve boarded many planes to the United States originating in Europe and have rarely taken off my shoes before boarding the long haul flights.

That said I didn’t want to make too many waves, I just took off my shoes and walked right through the security checkpoint and continued into the waiting room—along with the passengers for the domestic-Canada flights. If I’d had a boarding pass for one of those flights, I could have kept my shoes on.

I would advise people boarding flights from London, Ontario, to the Detroit that there’s an Air Canada flight to Toronto leaving at about the same time as the Northwest/Delta flight to Detroit. At this time passengers are not segregated after the security check—not to point oot a security flaw or anything.

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Closing out the notes for this trip: Sunday afternoon, after Mike left for home, I went back to the gay bookstore that Mike and I had passed earlier in the day—I wasn’t certain what kind of gay bookshop it was, but after climbing the stairs into the Glad Day Bookshop, I was thrilled to find a legitimate bookshop with a wide variety of novels to choose from—and I thrilled the owner/clerk when I asked him to identify gay Canadian authors for me—he pointed out a few.

I ended up buying three books, including one by an overly moralistic American author who writes what basically amounts to romance novels for teens—Mark A. Roeder. I like his books although they are not especially well written. Reading them I always feel a little bit embarrassed. He usually does his research—most details in the stories ring true, although there was the book in which two characters flew from Evansville, Indiana, to Chicago, Illinois, on a 747.

The other two books included an old favorite: Anthony Bidulka. His newest mystery, Aloha, Candy Hearts, is out and I’m looking forward to reading it in the next week or so. You may recall that I discovered Bilduka during my trip to Vancouver—when I’d engaged in a similar stump the clerk game at their local gay bookstore. The man at Glad Day Bookshop was not so easily stumped. He pointed out a couple of serious novels by authors I didn’t know, but instead I picked out a trite novel about gay teens who are endowed with superpowers: Queeroes, by Steven Bereznai. Again, I’ll be reading it in the next week or two.

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It’s a bit strange but growing up in America I never had exposure to Canadian history—I’ve always assumed that it’s history echoed (but not mirrored) the American experience, but with the French and less bloodshed. Canadians look south to the border whilst Americans don’t notice or worry too much about Canada, unless they are idiots—say like our new Homeland Security guru, Janet Napolitano, of Arizona.

Apparently Republicans aren’t the only ones with misconceptions about September 11th. While Republicans believe that Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein conspired to plot the attack, this ex-governor of Arizona believes that the terrorists came through a “lax” Canadian immigration system and then traveled south across a porous border into the States.

This is, of course, nowhere near the truth (none of the terrorists, to my knowledge, ever visited Canada), and Canadians were, whilst I was visiting, righteously upset with the ignorance of a high level American official—with two caveats. At least Janet knew that Canada was another country, unlike Bush and his cronies, and, perhaps more importantly, they learned that Canadian immigration officials ask their own citizens to strip for pink tattoo checks on citizen asses. Citizens may have to strip a second time to see if there are scars showing that hint at the laser removal of a pink tattoo on your ass.

Anyhow, I picked up a cute little book written by a professor of Canadian history, H. V. Nelles, called “A Little History of Canada”—in which he acknowledges that one of the three markets for his book consists of visitors who have a six to eight hour flight in which to learn all they are going to learn about the country before arrival. I picked it up for my flight home—but I fell asleep on the plane instead, no reflection on his work, what I’ve read is interesting, but flights from North America to Europe are, 99% of the time, red-eyes. I’ll be finishing the book in the next few days.

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Finally, I am sampling a number of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation podcasts right now—I will probably file a report on my current Sound Choices in the near future. Lots to report.

5 comments to Oh Canada!

  • Reko

    Senor Adamo: Could you please explain this pink tattoo on the ass thing? This doesn’t sound nearly as gross as a Prince Albert.

  • Reko

    And by the way, I don’t know of a single member of my large French-Canadian-American family with such a tattoo–of course, I haven’t seen their asses.

  • “I’ve always assumed that it’s history echoed (but not mirrored) the American experience, but with the French and less bloodshed.”

    USA: Life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness.
    Canada: Peace, order and good government.

    USA: Wild west.
    Canada: Royal Canadian Mounted Police got their first.

    USA: Individual heroes
    Canada: Collective heroism

    So much for the stuff we were taught in history class back in the 70s.

    French variation on number 1 I’m sure you will appreciate:
    Laugh, leebertay, and de pursuit of ‘a penis.

  • @Reko: Why am I not surprised that you are interested in learning more about pink tattoos on women’s asses?

    @ian: I learned that the Mounties wear Stetson Cowboy Hats — proudly made in the USA…

  • As a friendly Quebecer I always love to read about how new found friends view our country when they come to visit Canada. I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures.

    Thanks for pointing out great gay Canadian authors; I’ve got some birthay book shopping to do now.

    Kathleen Molloy, author – Dining with Death