Sunday, November 27, 2011

Canada: The Country that Works

For those of you who regularly read my blog, you know that I’ve been travelling a lot, and generally I’ve been travelling on my own.

Because I’m alone, I get into conversations I would otherwise have not been involved in. I learn a lot talking to strangers. And as the saying goes: “They tell you, don’t talk to strangers, but once you’ve talked to someone they are no longer a stranger.”

In September, when I was in Rome, Italy I very much liked Piazza Navarone. In fact, it was one of the few relaxing places I found in the beyond words chaos of the central part of the city.

If it was at all possible, I ate my midday meal in the piazza. One day I got into a discussion with my waiter. He was a very interesting man, who, like me, considers himself a citizen of the world first and an Italian second. Well, not exactly like me. I’m a citizen of the world first, and secondly a Canadian.

“I’ve been to eighteen countries,” he told me. “And of all the countries I’ve been to the only one that works is Canada”

For eight years he owned a business in Cancun, Mexico, I don’t know what type of business, but I’m guessing a restaurant.

One day some thugs came into his business and told him he needed to pay protection money. “You’re strong arming me? I’m Italian, we originated this caper,” he said. Then promptly sold his business and headed for Canada.

When he arrived in my homeland he showed the Canadian Border Services Agency his Italian passport and his Mexican residency papers.

The whole thing looked pretty suspicious to the Canadians, and they held him for twelve hours before they were satisfied it was okay to allow him into the country, for six months, to visit. Then he had to leave.

He was impressed with the diligence of the people who guard Canada’s borders, he was impressed with how law abiding Canadians were, how clean the country was, how everything . . .well. . . .how everything worked.

At the end of six months he did what he had to do, he left.

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