“What do they mean by ‘All Thru Traffic’? Like, would people cut through corn fields otherwise?”
“In American horror movies, they always do.”
“Oh, look, we’re entering a ‘Fallen Rock Zone’!”
American traffic signs are different. Even for us, Canadians, they are quite funny. Something different, I suppose. Go ahead, make fun of our polite, bilingual signs anytime. Fair enough.
“Fuck. I should have turned here.”
“There was a sign saying ‘Seek Alternative Route,’ and now it looks jammed…”
“Who speaks like that?! Seek alternative route… can’t they say what’s going on instead? Like, ‘accident, slow traffic, take this road instead.’”
“What did the sign say?”
“That’s not too bad.”
“Miles. Not kilometres.”
Feng sighs. “Right, I forgot. Okay, it’s going to take forever. It’s really jammed.”
“Are we there yet?”
We left Ottawa at 8:30 a.m., just as planned.
Okay, I think it was actually 9:30 a.m. Still, early enough.
We crossed into New York State at Ogdensburg, an hour later. I have no idea what happened between the border and Syracuse, I was sleeping. Apparently, I didn’t miss much—it was pouring rain.
I woke up before a quick pit stop somewhere on Interstate 90.
It’s been corn fields, quirky signs, big trucks and occasionally funny vanity plates ever since, and it’s now 4 p.m.
“Alabama… Florida… Ohio… Pennsylvania… New York, New York… California… Where are these folks going? Why do Americans always seem to drive across states for no reason?”
“I finished my two books. I have officially nothing to do. We’re close, right?”
“Nope. Sorry, Mark. We still have to go through Buffalo, then cross back into Canada at Niagara Falls. Where is the hotel, already? Oakville? Then hopefully we will make it to downtown Toronto before… ahem, midnight.”
“We have to cross back into Canada?”
“I don’t remember saying we were starting a new life in the US…”
We eventually started moving again. Apparently, a truck had caught on fire a couple of hours earlier, causing a massive traffic jam on the interstate.
Not that I could go online to check what was going on—roaming fees are brutal.
We drove straight through Buffalo. We only stopped in Niagara Falls to buy never-seen-before-in-Canada cookies and crackers and get some gas. Feng did some Chinese math out loud—twenty fractions and percentages later, he confirmed it was cheaper in the US.
Then we finally took the Rainbow Bridge to re-enter Canada, where we waited in line with so many Chevy Silverado pickup trucks, apparently New York State’s favourite ride.
We ended up in Toronto’s Chinatown around 8 p.m. Not too bad, I supposed, considering the traffic in the GTA.
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