Our getting-around-town friend

What would we have done without Mr. Google-maps?

Or should I say Ms. Google-maps, because with her conspicuous American accent “she” helped us on a daily basis (once we discovered her on our IPad trying to leave North Bay, Ontario) to better navigate our way around strange environs.

We soon became used to this voice and would address her, “Hi, Ms. Google maps, here to help us out?”

She didn’t say, “Yes, I am” but would say something like “Straight on Spruce Drive 100 metres, then left on Highway 1 and you’re on your way.”

I made up the last part.

I couldn’t get my eyes off the electronic map at times during the trip.

Without “her”, we would have got lost many times, particularly in the maze of what is northwest Edmonton’s commercial area where our Holiday Inn was located (you would think that having every street numbered accompanied by a “Northwest” tag, as in “106 Ave. Northwest” would help, but it didn’t; it actually it confused me).

For many readers, this vocal directional ally is nothing new. But for us, it was invaluable and we quickly became dependent on it. Even if our instructions from the hotel were clear and the map was well-defined, I still was not comfortable until I got the Google maps set up and heard its comforting, yet strong voice lead us safely away. Since it was a live streaming function, it even was “aware” of traffic stalls and construction slow-downs in real time.

Driving School

Throughout the trip, Naomi and I come across many instances of terrible driving on behalf of our fellow Canadians. I often hear her exclaim in disbelief as, with either her or I behind the wheel, we witness some yahoo passing us, or someone else, in what is a very risky and illegal passing zone. If it isn’t dangerous passing that we watch in horror, it’s speeding excessively, exiting from the fast lane, or tailgating.

The worst case of hazardous driving that we saw occurred on the Trans-Canada Highway, north of Lake Superior on the way to Thunder Bay. The driver, clearly inebriated, swerved from side to side in his lane, then passed cars on a double line time and time again with no clear view traffic in the opposite direction at all, only to slow down – until the next time he found himself behind a slower car.

He exited off the highway at a small town to our relief.

Once we return to Quebec many weeks later, Naomi is of the strong opinion that no reckless driver we saw on the trip is a bad as the worst drivers in this province. I guess I’ll reluctantly have to agree…

Uh oh…

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