Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mother/Daughter Trip: Banff

I am now four days into a six-day trip with my mother; our annual mother/daughter-relationship-repairing-voyage. This year we traveled to Banff and Lake Louise in Canada. The scenery so far has exceeded my expectations, as has the kindness of the Canadians. But I simply cannot ignore some choice statements so. . .

Four Things My Mother Actually Said on This Trip
1. As we stood in line to board our plane to Calgary, the gate attendant called "Group 1" over the loud speaker. We were Group 4. The Group 1'ers loaded on. Then the gate attendant called "Group 2," and more people boarded. My mom, standing near the ticket scanner, looks nervously at me and shouts (because I am standing 10' away), "I think we missed our call. I think she already called our group. We're not going to get on this plane."

OK, I have to break this one down:
A) My mom is a world traveler. She has been since she was a very young child and her father was in the army. Further, she has homes in two states and spends more time in airports and on planes than most people do taking a poo. She should know better.

B) My mom has a law degree. She's a smart cookie. She has to know that numbers can go 1, 2, 3, 4 or 4, 3, 2, 1. But rarely, if ever, in any situation, do numbers go in a 4, 1, 2, 3 or in a 3, 4, 1, 2 sequence as would have to be the case for us to have heard the gate attendant call 1 then 2, but missed our Group 4. Using that logic (and this is assuming my mom is logical which. . .well. . .) there is no way in hell we "missed our call."

C) Even IF on this one day at this one gate, the attendant drank a martini before her shift and decided to call the groups out of order to see if anyone noticed (my mom would!), the likelihood that she would close the gate in our faces as we stood there with our boarding passes and say, "I'm sorry ladies, I already called your Group 4. It's too late now," is highly improbable.

2. {upon reading the Canadian customs entry card on the plane} "It says here you can't bring any fruit or nuts into the country. Dammit! I bet they make me throw out those Corn Nuts I bought in Dallas. I haven't even opened the bag yet. {dramatic, frustrated exhale} What a waste."

Let me repeat: my mom is a world traveler. She just got back from living in another country for the summer. She actually went through international Customs less than a week ago. Does she really think the Canadian Mounted Police are concerned about foreign diseases she's bringing into the country with her Corn Nuts (which aren't even really nuts, let me point out)?! And if they did snatch them, would it be so costly to buy another bag?

3. The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel is gorgeous and huge...

and, not surprisingly, booked solid on a 3-day weekend with four different weddings. No doubt a result of wedding room blocks, our assigned room was in the added-on wing of the hotel, not the main building. Though the Stanley Thompson wing is connected to the main building via a skywalk, and though the rooms in the Stanley Thompson wing are newer and larger than the ones in the main building, when my mother found out where our room was she demanded to be moved. The only remaining room in the main building was smaller and had a worse view, but mom didn't care because, "I paid to be in this hotel." And so we moved.
SHE: "You know why they put us in that other wing?"
ME: "Because all the other rooms were booked?"
SHE: "NO! It's because I'm a woman. They wouldn't have tried that crap if I was a man."
ME: "Really?? So all the women and ethnic and religious minorities are relegated to the Stanley Thompson wing then? Is that how it works in Canada?"

4. Two-and-a-half hours into a three-hour horseback ride through one of the most scenic mountainsides god created, my mother insists her legs are in unbearable pain. She dismounts the horse near a convenient break in the trail, saying "I cannot go on. I'm afraid I won't be able to walk tomorrow if I continue this ride. My tennis knees are in too much pain. I'll just walk the rest of the way back." Who does this? Who pays for a horseback ride and GETS OFF the horse before it's over?

In doing so she missed riding the horses through this river with her daughter:

One Unrelated Canadian Stereotype I Must Share
Canadians are so polite, I have twice missed an elevator because the people in front of me have said, "You go ahead," "No, you first," "No, I think you were in line before me,". . . ~ elevator door closes ~ 
I grew up in Miami where people will knock over a pregnant woman to get there first, wherever "there" is. The kindness in this country is alarmingly refreshing.

I promise to be more positive in reporting as our journey continues. . .

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