Hey everybody,

First off, I owe you some pictures of some of my Rock friends. Here are some of the starfish I was having fun picking up, and, of course, Martin the Great Blue Heron, in all his splendour.

A couple updates to my life - I've now been to one of every one of my classes, and I'm in the midst of figuring out how I'm going to actually accomplish all of this reading. Danice and I are about ready to throw our phone out the window. We have developed relationships with all of the staff at Webcall (who are located, ironically, in Saskatchewan) by means of repeated attempts to get our phone working. As of tonight, we still have nothing. Argh. I don't want to talk about it.

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the top five differences between Vancouver and Saskatoon. If I had ten, I'd put ten. Maybe after I've been here longer I'll notice more.

5. Some green lights here are constantly flashing. I still haven't got a satisfactory answer as to why. I know that they're the lights that only turn red if a pedestrian wants to cross. But we have those in Saskatoon, too, and they don't have to flash. If any Vancouverian reading this blog would like to comment on this, I would be much obliged.

4. In Vancouver, at least what I've seen of Vancouver so far, there are more Starbucks than Tim Hortons. I'm absolutely sure that it's the other way around in Saskatoon. In fact, I have yet to see a Tim Hortons here, though I've been told they exist. But there are intersections here where there are two Starbucks facing each other, and they both seem to be doing excellent business.

3. In Vancouver, you always have to dial the area code. This is because there are two area codes in this city. Danice considers this to be highly embarrassing, because there are cities far bigger than Vancouver that manage just fine with one area code. Oh well. What matters is I learned quickly that when people around here ask for your phone number, you give them 10 digits.

2. Wildlife. Obviously, the marine wildlife I've already discussed in this blog are quite different from the Saskatoon river life. But one thing I didn't know before coming here is that instead of gophers (or for mammalogists like me, ground squirrels) they have black squirrels. Yes, black squirrels scampering across the road. Especially on campus. As an aside, an American student at Regent asked me what a gopher was, and I told him they were a highly-sought-after pet in Canada, but I could get him one for cheap - say, 50 bucks. So could someone trap one for me?

1. Everything is big and green here. There are huge plants everywhere. One of my first comments to Danice when I arrived here (a great first impression) was, "I feel like I'm in that Super Mario Big Land". You know, the world where everything in the scenery is twice the normal size. I've also foolishly asked whether certain trees are real. Danice laughs, because they're obviously rooted in the ground. But monkey trees - ever seen those? Weird. Here's a picture. You'll have to tilt your head again. Apparently, people play "monkey tree no returns" the same way we play "punchbuggy". Also, hedges seem to be a big thing in my area. I walked down one street and thought, you know, this street was probably originally one giant hedge that people cut their yards out of.

0. And I forgot one, so it's number zero. The bus. The bus is electric. These two bars stick out of the top of it and connect to overhead wires that run along main streets. Sometimes the bars fall off and the driver has to use a pole to put them back on. And at least in my area, there is no bus schedule. It's supposed to come frequently enough that you just show up at the bus stop and one will come. From my experience, this is not always the case. Also, if the bus is full, it will just drive right past your bus stop, too bad for you. I have told people that in Saskatoon, if this were to happen, people would be dying of frostbite at every stop. Nobody here seems to care about frostbite.

Well, that's all for now. I'm going to pass these onwards and upwards to David Letterman. Or maybe just Sam, for old time's sake. Ah, the days of top ten lists at the Connection...


P.S. I'd like to give a shout out and huge recognition to Christine Kulyk, who helps me deal with things and listens to me vent so that I write happy, funny blogs instead of sad, depressing ones. You go, girl.