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It's a Canadian Thing, Eh?

My mind was wandering this morning as I was cleaning the house. Partly procrastinating, partly disinfecting a much needed rat hole which had not been cleaned in...well..I confess I've turned into a neat freak and it probably could have gone a couple more weeks my old standards but this morning, well, it was just driving me nuts.

I'm not sure whether it was a train of thought that started with me thinking of D out with Australian friends - because he was today and I have found LOADS of things to keep me busy, many of which involved talking to myself but this, you see, is really nothing new.

Or, it could have simply been a train of thought of holiday because housework makes my mind wander and the first thing I'd rather be doing is probably being on holiday.

But I was suddenly thinking again of an extrodinary week that would not have been had it not been for one simple decision.

To be honest, it was pure laziness. We had arrived in Faro, Portugal, around 9 pm, after sitting on a bus from 2:30. We were trying to get ourselves to Lagos, what we had been told was one of the most romantic, relaxing places in the south of Europe.

We had just finished off 4 nights in Seville, which were spectacular unto themselves but now, we were gearing up for a much anticipated visit to the seaside.

When we piled off the bus, so too did a few other tourists. One set was a couple from British Columbia. They had their Spain and Portugal book and were taking 3 weeks to travel around. She must have been 6 months pregnant and I couldn't help but thank the fertility gods that they had spared me the strain of lugging a backpack around with a KID IN MY GUT.

There were also 4 young, blonde, cute and friendly Aussies who were geared up to get themselves to the final destination - Lagos.

From where the bus dropped us off, it was a 2 minute walk to the other bus station which would provide buses that would take us to Lagos.

D and I pondered. Should we or shouldn't we? Pregnant couple was finding a place for the night. The Aussie girlies were heading to Lagos - hell or high water, they would be hammered with other young tourists in the sea side town by midnight.

We decided that we would see if there looked a suitable hotel along the way and if not, then, get on the bus and head to Lagos.

It was dark and nothing was really going on in the city at this time but in the short walk - about halfway - we saw a hotel. I went up to the deskman, got a good rate and our fate was sealed. With two little beds - extrememly comfy I may add - a TV WITH CABLE!!!! and an DIVINE showerhead, we decided this had been the right decision.

And so, up in the morning, we took the first train to Lagos. It was pissing rain.

Perhaps that was why, when this slim, tiny Porteguese woman - with a car, I might add - approached with "ah Canadians!" and offered us a room at her hostel, we had no choice but to accept.

Being a bit apprehensive about going with a stranger, it eased my mind a bit when a Kiwi decided to join us.

The car ride, she went on about Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis, how she loved to have them stay at her place and that at the moment, there were a ton of Canadians staying there.

It only struck me later on one of the most important things she said. There had been an Australian couple, who had ended up staying for a month, that had only just left that morning and that is why we were able to have their room.

The "hostel" ended up being a room in a condo building, with a kitchen, bathroom and four rooms with various capacities. One room was a single with an ensuite, two had 4 beds - one for boys, one for girls and the final room was a double bed for couples.

The majority of the visitors were Canadian. We hadn't yet met any Canadians on our travels. It was already starting off to be a good one.
We went drinking together. Wandered the beaches together. Swam in the freezing-night water together. Even had our own wine and cheese party together. We were from all parts of the country. British Columbia. Alberta. Ontario. Nova Scotia. We had all come from different walks of life and yet, being Canadian was the one thing we had in common.

It was the American couple that pointed it out.

"You Canadians have a weird sense of humour."

We all kinda looked at them and then looked at each other. There were knowing nods and small smiles. It was like they had pointed out something we hadn't even thought about but made so much sense. Why was it that after 4 days, we were still getting along? There were still things to joke about? There was this comfort level between all of us, for no real reason at all.

That was the best social time we had on that first trip. It was also the first time I really understood what it was like to be Canadian. That there is a subtle difference, from us and the rest of the world. That as much as we go on and on about wondering what Canadian culture is, it's simply deep in who we are. Perhaps it was the sense of humour, I don't know. But we did all fit in together. Some how.

It was only because there was a hotel in Faro that was on our way to the bus stop. If we had arrived in Lagos that night, we wouldn't have been able to stay at the hostel with all the Canadians - our room would have been full.

Another lesson, taught by fate.


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