This is a reanimation of the Vicaribus blog as lived by Miro Kazakoff and Ehren Foss in 2004 and 2005.
The photos may be spotty.
Snow in June
Posted by Miro
My friend Jon Weaver tells my favorite story of travel fatigue. While best told in Spanish, the basic story is that at any mention of waterfalls Jon will tell you that he’s not that impressed by them. He says it’s from his trip to South America which he sums up with an imitation of the tour guide:
“If you look to your right, you can see a beautiful waterfall. Now please turn your attention to your left, where you can see another beautiful waterfall.”
I’m starting to feel that way about mountains. Partially, this is because we spent a night in the shadow of the Athabasca Glacier, truly one of the most breathtaking sights of my life. We camped in the parking lot overlooking the glacier, sat on the roof of the bus, sipped Black Russians made with Tia Maria and marveled at how great our life is.
The mountains past this have spectacular, but I’m a bit spent. Also, I popped the tape seal on my hatch for us to get up on the roof and then didn’t reseal it. So, these last two days of constant rain have meant that the leak is back in the roof of my room. I spent last night unable to stretch out, curled up in a ball on one corner of my bed, intertwined with five blankets. Warm, but not too comfy.
We’ve learned that the best medicine for travel fatigue is not to fight it. Just go indulge in some of the comforts of home. In Europe, that meant the occasional trip to McDonalds or pizza. Heere that meant a trip to the movies. Adam is a big movie fan and he and I both had a major jones to check out Batman Begins. It was awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome.
The Brits apparently don’t use the word awesome. They thought I kept using it after the movie, because it’s such an American term. I ashamedly admitted that was pretty much my standard reaction to really good action movies. Afterwards we went out for drinks. I was designated driver that night and not particularly feeling the party vibe, so I begged off early to go back to the bus and read the copy of “The Da Vinci Code” that Adam lent me. He has the only English language paperback copy of the book I’ve ever seen. They havn’t released it in paperback in the states, but don’t get too jealous. His paperback copy cost 26 pounds (roughly the equivalent of more than $40).
I also bought a small bag of Salt and Pepper Potato chips. Lay’s Canada has a bunch of flavors unavailable in the US that I’ve been working my way through (Ketchup, Salsa, Wasabi, Salt and Pepper, and the one I’ve been dreading: Dill Pickle). I read my book, ate my chips and reveled in the alone time that I haven’t really had in the last few weeks. From spending weeks with just the two of us to having people around constantly, I’m reminded that both can get overwhelming. Still, I felt guilty bailing on socializing on a Friday night.
What else to tell:
On the way up to the toe of the glacier, there are signs every ten feet warning you not to step outside the cone boundaries set up, especially not to go beyond the final barrier onto the glacier. They tell stories of how the last three rescure attempts failed because people slid down into the crevasses, get wedged within the slush and succumb quickly to hypothermia as the ice hugs them and meltwater cascades over them. The text was accompanied by safety-manual-style illustrations of people trapped in crevasses with terrified expressions on their faces.
Of course, Ehren and I proceeded to have a snowball fight on the glacier. Rest assured it was almost entirely within the marked off boundaries. I unfortunately, never learned to throw properly and was entirely unable to hit Ehren with a snowball even at 10 feet. After plenty of artful dodging on my part he hit me solid in the back and I called uncle. Charley seemed visible relived we had decided to stop taunting death on the glacier face.
The only display on the way to the glacier that was not about how we were going to die was a panoramic picture of the glacier with a caption that said: The Athabasca Glacier: A truly Canadian Experience. The primary focus of the Canadian national identity appears to be establishing that there is a Canadian national identity. At Chapters, the largest book chain in Canada, all the stores have a big mural that says “The World Needs More Canada” and around that float the names of various famous Canadian artists, writers, musicians and thinkers. The Tragically Hip are next to Margaret Atwood.
A couple more words of British slang
Class and Dodgy: almost everybody knows these two but they’re my favorites so I’m including them. Dodgy is pretty similar to the American “sketchy.” Class is pretty much the opposite.
Nick: to steal. As in “I better put my camera in the lock so it doesn’t get nicked.”
Knob: an idiot
Ya-wud: An expression used throughout Scotland. An elision of “Yeah, I would” pronounced very quickly. Used as an expression of joy.
Whoop-Whoop: Another Scottish expression of joy. Pronounced with a sing-song whooping quality.