Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Welcome to Canada

On Saturday, I drove up to Canada for Christmas holidays. What a temperature shock! When I left New York, it was so mild that I could walk outside with just a short-sleeved shirt on. When I got to Canada, the ground was white with about a foot of snow on it.

Just before we left New York, we had taken the car to get the oil changed, and they topped up the windshield washer fluid. I’m not sure what type of washer fluid they put in, but when I woke up in Canada on Sunday morning, it was minus 27 Celsius and the windshield washer system was frozen solid. It is quite dangerous up here to drive in winter without washer fluid (in case you get splashed with salty slush from the road), so I had to take the car to a local dealership to get them to thaw it out, drain the wimpy washer fluid they filled it with, and refill it with some REAL washer fluid that could handle the Canadian winter.

Sunday was also quite windy here, which made the “wind chill” factor around minus 40. We went to a shopping mall, and with all the Christmas shoppers we ended up having to park far away from the door. By the time I got inside the door of the mall, my ears were starting to feel the effects of frostbite, and my face was stinging. While I was in the mall, I made a point of buying a winter hat that would cover my ears and face so I could walk back to my car in comfort.

Of course, my welcome wasn't quite as bad as my mother-in-law (who is also visiting for the holidays). She lives in the Caribbean, and had her winter coat packed in her suitcase. She got on the plane in a short-sleeved shirt, expecting to be able to get out at the airport terminal and put her coat on. Instead, they offloaded the passengers and had them walk outside across the tarmac into a cold shuttle bus for a ride to the terminal. My mother-in-law's teeth were still chattering when she got through immigration and got her suitcase.

Welcome to Canada.....