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North America 2004

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Journal for 24-June-2004 : Moose Jaw

A beautiful sunny day and a cracking tailwind, just as “the Weather Channel” predicted. A great day for riding. But after 700ks a 5 days (and one of those was a lazy half day) we weren't going anywhere further than the shops (and the laundromat as it turned out).

We read both local papers cover to cover, toured the highlights of Moose Jaw's business district and checked out the local real estate (homes in Chaplin sell for less than $15000). After all that, the washing still hadn't finished, so we ate ice cream, and then went back to our budget room where I wrote up this thrilling monologue.

Much later we went out in search of dinner. The main st of Moose Jaw has the imaginative name of “Main Street”, where we watched a procession of marching bands, floats and assortment of horses, trucks, buses, kids in swimming pools, go karts, balloons, ambulances followed by a battalion of mechanised street sweepers. The parade stretched as far as they eye could see in each direction, as did the crowds lining Main St to watch. I am told we have a similar thing in the Sydney suburb of Engadine, but not quite as long. And it was held on a Saturday morning rather than a Thursday evening so consequently I always slept through it.

To me, Moose Jaw epitimises everything American TV suggested I should expect of an American town/city. Wide straight streets, late 19th century office buildings in a thriving gridded central business district, the Wal-Mart and highway superstores on the extremities, the beautifully quaint wooden houses (most with porch), the general sense of community, prosperity and security etc. But this is Canada, so there are nice public parks and no sleazy crime ridden areas where nobody lives, at least nobody worth worrying about. In short, Moose Jaw actually is the way Americans see America.

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