Home Sweet Home

3 01 2011

Heading home for Christmas provided a unique perspective for us and we looked at Canada in a whole different way.  I suppose that is one of the benefits of travel, you really learn to appreciate what you have or in our case, had.

-Us Canadians are nice.  Actually, not only nice, but polite.  People wait in proper lines, hold the door for you, say excuse me, even smile at you if you make eye contact.  As I stood aside at security in Vancouver airport while Joe’s bag got searched, I noticed how many people said ‘Thank you’ after having their own bags searched or being patted down.  Who else would say thank you for that, other than Canadians?

-Ahhh Walmart.  I’m not even a Walmart fan and I used to avoid going there at all costs when living in Canada but when Joe and I made our first trip to stock up on supplies we both stood in awe at the variety, prices and selection of all goods.  (Given, this was the Walmart in Kindersley and on average there are 20 people in there at a time.  Had we stopped in Edmonton, I’m sure our experience would have been different.)

-The internet is fast!  In Gabon, we tried to download a season of Mad Men for a month and we only got 60% done.  We started it up when we arrived home and the entire thing was completed in under an hour!

-Canada is COLD!  We were greeted by -23 degree weather and we left with-23 degree weather.  Neither of us enjoyed feeling like giant sausages every time we went outside, even if it was just to jump in the car.  I listen to the Europeans complain about winter in their home countries where the temperature plunges to -10 degrees… I’d love to watch them get off the airplane in Saskatchewan mid-January.

-All public washrooms look luxurious compared to those I see in Africa.  Even the airplane washrooms are more appealing than those in the actual airports here.  In Gabon, I make sure to use the washroom anytime we are leaving the house.  I prepare like I’m heading on a road trip with no rest stop for hours because you never know if there will actually be a washroom or what state it will be in.

So of course, we enjoyed our time at home and we didn’t even dread returning to Port Gentil, even after having a little taste of Canada.  We hopped on our flight dreaming of the beach and Joe, anxious to try out his new snorkel gear.  The second we landed it was like Africa slapped us in the face and made us pay for leaving.

We arrived in Libreville late and our bags were no where to be seen.  We missed the connecting flight to Port Gentil and had to deal with a rather stubborn woman who was sure our bags must have magically landed in Port Gentil.  (They didn’t, and it took 4 days to get them.)  We sat around the airport for 4 hours and finally got on a flight to PG.  Exhausted, we got in the house and everything looked pretty normal.  Tons of mosquitoes had taken over but that was expected.  And then, Joe noticed our stash of money was taken.  (I know some of you are wondering why we keep a stash of money kept in the house… well, this is a cash based ecomony so when trying to make a big purchase, you must have cash and you can only withdraw so much from your visa at one time.  We did apply for a bank account here for petty cash but it has taken 3 months to get the card!)  So, all in all, we ‘lost’ about $2000.  Nothing else is missing and we can’t find any point of entry.  We’ve reported it to Halliburton, the locks are being changed, and the guard company will be called to investigate.

Welcome back to Africa!

It’s funny… neither of us mind living here at all.  It’s not the most luxurious place and things certainly aren’t easy but we generally like it until we have to deal with crap like that!

On the upside, we did take a stroll down the beach yesterday in the pleasant 30 degree heat.

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One response

11 01 2011
Jessica

Sorry to hear about the craziness of your trip back and the theft awaiting you there. But having just come back from a lovely week in sunny Mexico, into a full-on Edmonton snow storm, I think your warm weather makes up for all the unpleasantness! We had to shovel our way into the garage last night just to park the car, so I’m envious of your walk on the beach. Enjoy the sun!

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