Sunday, November 27, 2011

Maple Leaves

Early in 2011 we got news that my elder cousin sister was to get married in August in North America. So the four of us pulled up our socks, packed our bags & got ready to head to the country of maple leaves & ice hockey- CANADA

Having been to the U.S before, I didn't expect Canada to be anything different. But I was wrong. There are lots of differences between these two sister countries & if I were forced to live in one of them, I would choose Canada. Attitude, ambience, environment, people & governance were some of the big differences for me.
  1. Canada is a lot more laid-back than U.S is which is my favorite difference. U.S seems like it's on this never-ending, single participant race to nowhere, and if they pause for just a second the whole world will come crashing down. To live my life in that environment is a curse. But Canada seems very secure in their position as though being #1 is not everything. 
  2. It's green. It's so green! Apparently, for every burial the family has to plant a tree/seed. Every house has a lawn that if not maintained, you can be evicted. The downtown area also is quite green. The walkways, roads, footpaths, etc., all have plants hanging from the lamp-posts or shop doors and foliages. 
  3. The ambience of the place is so victorian. The fact that Canada was a British & French colony is evident in their cobblestone roads, historic architecture, naming of streets, trams & occasional vintage cars. I love it!    
  4. In Davenport, U.S.A, people are overly-friendly. Now that I think of it, it's kind of nauseating. In Mississauga, Canada, people aren't overly-friendly at all. They go about minding their business with the occasional nod of their head & greetings. In downtown Toronto you're invisible. I quite like that.   
  5. I never thought I'd ever say this of a country's governance, but I'm impressed with the Canadian governance. It's neither as paranoid as Republic of China nor is crazy like Kenya, Nigeria, etc. Did you know that education for kids of Canadian citizens is free until high school? And it takes just ~3 yrs to become a Canadian citizen. Healthcare is free; No conditions applied. You can afford to buy a house in 5 yrs. And not just any random, one BHK; you can buy a proper independent house in the residential areas. But how does the government afford all this? Your tax is 30% of your income. Big amount which leaves a small margin for disposable income. But then everything is taken of by the state. And apparently the people are fearful of the 'Tax-Men' which is why Canada has a low tax default rate. Taxes are really high here. Even shopping's a bitch due to the high taxes. *
Although we had plans to visit Montreal & Quebec City, we only visited Toronto & Niagara Falls. Oh, and since I'm talking about my travels I've got to mention that I didn't find anything particularly glamorous or picturesque about Niagara falls. Sorry, I just didn't.
These were my major travel takeaways from Canada. Beautiful place, rich history, numerous things-to-do. Do visit it once. 

*Facts not researched. Just word-of-mouth from Canadians. 


John said...

Hello again Su, you seem to travel a lot. I have also been to Canada, several times actually. You're right about the difference between the two North American countries, and after having lived abroad {Europe} for more than forty years (oops! divulged an age factor, sorry), I'm in culture shock since returning to the US. I know the language, grew up here, and yet, sometimes the disparities are just TOO gross. //John

Sunayana Sen said...

I haven't travelled too much. I'm just starting to discover that interest in me & have a long list of countries to visit! I'm just waiting to go on a Europe tour.