Canada’s legendary hospitality extended to my train journey to the
airport on Monday. Got chatting with Bill Charlton who claimed to be a distant
relative of the footballing Charlton brothers Jack and Bobby. The fact that he
referred to Bobby as “Robbie” and claimed to be a former player with the
Vancouver Whitecaps made me laugh because when I started looking his details up
on my BlackBerry, he claimed he had only been in the reserves. Injuries
blighted his football career, conveniently and now the 50-something grandad is
a commercial fisherman. Vancouver, as far as Bill is concerned, is the greatest
place on earth. That’s why he has never set foot outside of British Columbia,
much less for the rest of Canada. But what about the rest of the world? Surely,
he’s missing something? Vegas, New York, London, Rio, Beijing… No, insists
Bill, everybody comes from all parts of Canada to live in Vancouver, so it must
be the best.
An interesting add-on from Bill was that the town of Prince Rupert, just
outside of Vancouver, is one of the dullest, wettest places on earth, which is
why people from all around the world who dislike the sun, live there, including
many Africans. As if on cue, a woman sitting nearby, turned around to confirm
it’s true because some of her family live there just to get away from the sun.
She hates the climate but bears with it for family unity. Prince Rupert makes
Seattle and Manchester in the UK seem like a tropical idyll.