Thursday, July 23, 2009

Saskatchewan Culture Shock

Saskatchewan is a quirky little place. We're only here one more day, but we've discovered a shift in our views is necessary to appreciate what goes on here.

There is a pastoral quality to the beauty that we've found throughout the south of this province. Farms and old barns and homesteads. Lakes and more lakes and some lakes that actually turned out be huge fields of blooming blue flax flowers.
Huge horses and Rube Goldburg style farm machinery.
A lake:
...not a lake:

But when we went to the provincial parks we expected, well parks like the National Parks. That is, a place that let's it's natural beauty just be.

Grasslands National Park
However, when you live in a province that is a pastoral setting, I guess getting away from it all means going to Central Park New York. So in Saskatchewan, a Provincial Park is a place where they find a body of water, pave a road to it (so that the speed boats and jetskis can access it) chop down the natural vegetation, lay down sod and mow it. It also must be lighted like a maximum security prison. For miles around there will be only darkness but the provincial park will have high mast-head cobrahead streetlights and washrooms where you could perform dental surgery. (If you visit the washrooms at night, your eyes are so snowblind that then you do need the streetlights to get back to your camp.)
It's 2:00AM, do you know
what your Westfalia is up to?

not an abstract or a satellite view,
but a paint spill in a provincial park lake

The Friggin' Gophers
As kids we had gerbils, so I tend to be kindly towards cute little rodents (Okay except for the rats in my house, but that's another story and they weren't cute). However, the gophers here are unbelievable. They dig under, around and up through anything. They undercut everything from gravestones to buildings. And it's really hard to concentrate on your standing bow-pulling pose when one tries to climb your leg. So here's one for the locals. I'm developing a definite attitude of gopher-overload.
Straight up through the asphalt

Weird Names
I've discovered the fun game of finding weird prairie names on the map. It started with the list of entries for the rodeo. "Did the announcer really say that guy was from 'peepot Saskatchewan?'"

So here goes... from the sublime to the ridiculous

The pious:
Sceptre, Bounty, Salvador, Unity, Sanctuary etc, etc. (many in this category)

The unlikely:
Marriot, Cadillac, Plato, Marquis

The somewhat braggartly:
Biggar, Major, Superb, Success, Renoun, Conquest,

Those of somewhat lower self-esteem:
Canuck, Tiny, Tadmore, Findlater

The almost offensive:
Foam lake, Piapot (just sounds like 'peepot'), Old Wives, and Big Beaver

The weird:
Hudson Bay (were they lost?), East End (located in the West of the Province), West End (located in the East of the Province and also located next to Round Lake which is not round but is long and winding), Amazon and Kandahar.

Oh, and I almost forgot, but who could forget, "Forget, Saskatchewan"

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