The booze situation thus far has been pretty interesting. I mentioned in San Francisco that we’d bought a block of Miller damnably cheap at Safeway and that we’d enjoyed Budweiser at the Red Rock in West Hollywood for US$2 per pint, while noting in Seattle that we’d drunk ourselves stupid on “Nasty Ice” for a little under 60¢ per can(!). The consensus had been that despite the annoying reality that “if you look younger than 25, expect to be asked for ID” that drinking in North America was going to be a joy.
Then we came to Canada.
As far as I can tell, Canada’s position on alcohol is remarkably similar to Australia’s, except worse: hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em low, pocket the taxes. At least back in Oz we keep the hits above the belt. A block of Molson’s Canadian, a local brew, is CA$58 for fuck’s sake. Even the swill is expensive.
Thankfully I’m not restricted to beer. While most spirits in this country suffer the same ridiculous tax rates as the beers, Canadian Club manages to remain reasonably priced, making CA$30 for a 1140mL bottle a bloody bargain. With the better part of a bottle under Titty and my respective belts before hitting Vancouver’s clubs, we ended up spending more on cover charges than on drinks. Throw a random girl buying people shots for no discernible reason into the mix —something I’m very happy I managed to walk in on— and you have a recipe for a pretty decent night.
The one thing we all knew would be a huge deal for us going into this trip was the weather. We’re missing our summer, people. Don’t you know how important our summer is? Summer. Vitamin S. Even the goth kids make an effort to cheer up during summer in Australia, and it’s all because of three little words: beers, beaches, and bitches. Beaches have now been replaced with ski fields, bitches with “I share a room with three guys, privacy of any kind is not really an option”, and beers with… well, some things don’t change.
I held snow in my hand for the first time today (incidentally we’re in Whistler right now, even though my Vancouver writeup is still forthcoming), and as remarkable an experience as that was it was still just plain cold. All of a sudden I have a legitimate reason to wear a huge jacket, thick gloves, and thermal underwear. It’s bizarre.
But by far the worst part of what is an otherwise exhilarating experience is the central heating. Outside: -9ºC. Inside: 25ºC. What part of “I’m wearing eight layers of the thickest clothing on the planet” don’t you understand? One minute I’m freezing my buns off and the next I’m sweating (and not just physically, I’m also figuratively sweating at the prospect of going back out into the snow while soaked in sweat and becoming a human ice cube). I’m sure this is all very amusing to all you sick, snow–loving bastards, but coming from a country where I can comfortably walk from my bedroom to the beach to the cinemas to the pub without changing my shorts and t–shirt, it’s exhausting. Every time I walk indoors I have to follow a complex ritual of velcro unstrappage and pullstring undoage and glove removal and jacket unzippage and the wafting of cooler air to the parts of my body that suddenly require it, and after spending that five minutes picking up a sandwich at the local Subway it’s time to rug up again.
If it weren’t for all the beautiful scenery I’d wonder why you people settled this land.