From Canada it was down to the US of A. A bold move some may say – going from America Jnr. to America senior – but I was undaunted. My four-hour direct flight from Vancouver to New York morphed into a fifteen-hour marathon featuring an unexpected three-hour tour of the Toronto tarmac.
After a couple of hours of fitful sleep on the ground of the arrivals lounge of JFK airport I enquired about the cost of a cab into the city. With response well outside my modest budget, I walked the half hour to the bus which was followed a subway trip into Grand Central.
There I was, a hot, backpack wearing sap blearily staring through sleep-deprived eyes at the suggested accommodation board when a nice gentleman from the New York Tourism Board (so his name badge said) kindly enquired if he could be of any assistance. After discussing the pros (a bed) and cons (the cost) of the listed options it appeared I was out of options. That was until he mentioned that a mate of his ran a hostel a couple of blocks from the station. While it usually took months to get a booking he would put in a good word for me because I had “an honest face.” He made a call, sold me a voucher then walked me down and pointed out my digs for next two nights, “Just go in and give them the voucher and they will sort you out.” As it turned out, a voucher don’t get you a bed in no homeless shelter.
Within seven minutes of arriving at Grant Central Station I had been hustled out of 60 bucks (which, in light the current exchange rate, would buy a small country estate back home) by one of the smoother talking cats in New York City.
Lesson learnt, so I had a bit of a poke around. On the whole I found New York in summer to be dauntingly big, hot and angry. Central Park is very cool though
Despite my obvious physical disabilities as well as my genetic disposition toward alcohol I have managed to achieve something worthwhile in my life, as I am now a World Champion. Some have questioned the validity of Underwater Hockey’s claim to be a legitimate sport; to them I can only respond with the words of one far wiser than I, “What the fuck would you know? You pig-ignorant wanker.”
The Australian Open Underwater Hockey team defeated New Zealand 5-4 in the final of the world championships held in Calgary, Canada. The masses rejoiced.
Canada was as I expected. The drive from Calgary to Vancouver consisted of pine trees, mountains and lakes. The experience was accentuated by listening to the lyrical brilliance of the Canadian icons of song – Celine Dion, Bryan Adams and Alanis Morrisette – whose songs receive constant airplay. In most countries this would be considered a form of mild mind torture. Not Canadia.
Braved the icy waters of Lake Louise near Banff. Came to, locked in a basement at a house party in Jasper – made my escape guided by the pale light of the moon via a skylight then wandered back to the hotel where, lacking a key, I had to scale three storeys to break in the balcony door. Discovered the joys of bacon and maple syrup on flapjacks. Only saw one Mountie, which in retrospect is quite distressing.
One thing that I will say about Canadia is that they have enormous trucks and trailers (they make Australia’s 4WDs and caravans look like pathetically pimped minis) as well as a huge amount of big-breasted women. There must be some abnormality in the Canadian gene pool or an environmental condition that is favourable to the development of abnormally large breasts amongst the women. Some businesses have even attempted to encourage this trend. One of the bars that we went to in Calgary paid half the cost of any breast surgery undertaken by their employees. A glance around at the punters quickly confirmed this to be a sensible business strategy.