Canada 2.

Canada is a civilised country.

You know it is civilised, because the mens’ toilets are always utterly spotless and have baby-changing facilities, unlike in the UK where fathers with bladders are discriminated against on a daily basis. I ponder this as I stand at the urinal – everything is so fresh and clean and – well – nice. Even the toilets. Especially the toilets. You can tell everything about a country by the state of its mens’ toilets, and Canada has impressed so far. Some British people just moan at a country’s differences when they go overseas, whereas I am constantly filled with wonder and delight.

I return to my seat.

“It’s absolutely swimming with piss in there,” I tell the LTLP. “And the seat is missing.”

Her tired shoulders drop.

“Well I suppose I’d better take the Toddler,” she sighs. “Again.”

The LTLP disappears off to take the Toddler for her poo. “Perhaps they’ll be better in Montreal,” I call after her, before sitting back and taking a long relaxing swig of ‘Mikes’ coffee. (Note to UK readers – ‘Mikes’ is like Little Chef, but with food.)

I check the Lonely Planet for our next destination, but quickly chuck it back in the bag. You can tell when you are getting old because the Lonely Planet ceases to be a useful travelling tool and becomes a hilarious self-parody of student tightwadness.

‘Avoid the nice-looking restaurants with clean tablecloths and tasty food, and proceed to Mama Miggins’s on the corner of 17th and Bloor. Here, for all of two dollars, Mama will serve you a traditional and heartening meal of her own scabs, served in the old-fashioned local way, from a bag. Alternatively, rather than paying over the top in a touristy ‘cafe’ it is better value and nutritious to lick the sidewalk’.

The main problem with Lonely Planet Canada is that it is written by Canadians or people who want to be Canadians, and Canadians are too nice to write useful travel guides. This is borne out by the ‘thanks to’ section – everybody knows that any book’s interest to the general reader is in inverse proportion to the number of words the author allows himself to witter on about thanking people. The ‘thanks to’ section in Lonely Planet Canada goes on for 769 pages, and features every single resident of the country, namechecked individually. I may write to Lonely Planet to offer to write the next one; it will be shorter and contain more useful advice (‘go to the toilet! You’ll love it!’)

The LTLP returns with a beaming Toddler. The nice girl from Mikes’ gives us all a lollipop and does not charge us £9.99 for each breakfast. I am cheerful and ready to proceed with my holiday.

25 Comments

  1. More Pants!
    Yukky Brown ones this time!

  2. I sense that our correspondent is working his way up to announcing his edgy new nickname. Exotic locations, photos of lingerie tumbled on the bed… next week we’ll be hearing from Jonny ‘pants’ B.

  3. I take it the LTLP does not read this blog, so you have no fear of being rumbled.

    God will hear you, Jonny, and your next six children will be boys who quickly wise up on gender differences and insist on accompanying daddy to the gents, and that only you can wipe their bottoms.

  4. Must you accompany this drivel with pictures of your ratty XXXL scuds? We get it, already – you’re fat and have no taste. Let’s all just move on, shall we?

    Good luck finding a respectable lavvy in Montreal. Lakes of piss are a jealously-guarded expression of Quebecois culture, at least for those toilets labelled in English. You could try sneaking into the francophone ones, but you’ll need a beret and a string of onions…

  5. Oh, you’re back! So am I.

    That is all.

  6. Glad to hear your wees were pleasant and germ-free. It’s the least we can do for our guests.

    I shall be very disappointed if you don’t travel abroad more often, because your Lonely Planet parody is something that cries out for eventual publication.

    Now I need to decide whether or not to read the note stuffed into those conveniently brown underpants. I bet it says “Wash me” or “If you can read this, you’re too close”, but I gotta know for sure…

  7. “17th and Bloor” – I didn’t know there was a “17th” in Toronto – I guess we’ve finally succeeded in turning ourselves into New York (…which means the toilets won’t be clean for much longer)

  8. I just wanted to thank you for writing this. It made me smile.

  9. Pingback: Post of the Week » Blog Archive » Shortlist for week ending Friday 17th October 08

  10. Sorry spazmo, it’s just his URL on the note. My money was on “Also available in white!”, but in deference to local language laws any such sign would have to carry the French equivalent with equal or greater prominence, a feat of translation sadly far beyond our hero’s meagre abilities and sub-atomic attention-span. But if anyone feels like photoshopping in “Existe aussi en blanc!”, that would be kind of cool…

  11. I’m wondering what the translation for ‘got him by the balls’ might be? But -‘représentant une main ajourée tenant un oeuf.’ Will do nicely.

  12. I never realised what an absolute swine you are. Maybe Ivan has been right all this time.
    I’m shocked and appalled.

  13. I’m always amazed when people say we live up to that cliche of niceness, since I invariably find people just as nice in other countries…perhaps we have a niceness virus genetically encoded that we can spread to others? Except Icelanders–I’ve given up on them.

    And clearly you have a meanness vrus in you which our niceness one has been unable to defeat.

  14. But what did you have for Breakfast? Besides a lollipop that is.

    Chin chin
    Hec’

  15. You go abroad and come back with…

    …loo tales!

  16. Jonny’s 3-point business plan:
    1. Leave underpants in Canada.
    2. ???
    3. Profit.

    I’m a bit behind the curve but I guess advertising your blog on a card left in abandoned underpants is “web 2.1”

    I have noticed an upsurge in Canadian comments so obviously it works.

  17. But two out of three isn’t bad, surely…?

  18. I am looking for some idea and stumble upon your posting 🙂 decide to wish you Thanks. Eugene

  19. Is it just my monitors or do these pants all have a slight yellow tint to them?

  20. Weren’t you supposed to be giving these pants away to needy Canadians, JonnyBPants?

  21. No Canadian is that needy, Nadia. Not even in Nova Scotia…

  22. You went to Canadia and didn’t have a Tim Horton’s? I am told that their English Toffee Coffee is “something else”. I am a tea drinker so was unable to enjoy this delicacy.

  23. Welcome back Jonny – although seeing your pants, I am surprise Canada let you in at all. Surely the agricultural devastation your Bill Grundys could potentially wreak on that continent would have meant a prolonged period in quarantine at the very least.

    Anyway, saw this in The Herald today and thought it might interest you to know that we in Scotland laugh at your silly parochial ways:

    “HOUSE names, continued. Expatriate Scot Ian McCall submits two residential titles from Norfolk. Says Ian: “In the market town of Aylsham there’s a house bearing the nameplate RIBOK. This doesn’t convey anything when spoken in a Scottish accent, but voice it in rural Norfolk tones and you get Arr, I be OK.’

    “Not far away, on the road from Aylsham into Norwich, there’s a house called Hunter’s View. This isn’t for its scenic vistas of rolling countryside, but because it’s opposite a Land Rover dealership, Hunters.”

  24. Just caught up with your blog, and I’m so enjoying the Canada series. Thank you for articulating what I felt about the Lonely Planet but couldn’t express!!

  25. Thank you. Thank you so much for your kind words.

    Really. I can’t thank you enough.

Comments are closed