The {Guest} Post About Mind the Locals

Today's visiting blogger comes from a magical place. A place far, far away in a land called Canada. It brings us Trivial Pursuit, socialized medicine and the delightful Amanda from Mandie Marie. Amanda became my new adopted sister when I bumped into her in Knox McCoy's Awesometown. And she's just that. Awesome.

Amanda loves God, writing, improv, and many things that most people think are dumb

The city I inhabit is famous for BlackBerrys. You may have heard of them. On the north edge of this city, there is a tiny town famous for the other kind of blackberries (not just blackberries, but saying famous for fruits and vegetables really didn’t fit the whole BlackBerry thing I was going for). The town is known for its Farmers’ Market, Mennonites and quaint little shops. People travel from all over the world to get a glimpse of this beautiful place. I live approximately two minutes from said Farmers’ Market. I have all my life. On one side of a street is a subdivision. On the other side, a straight up, no electricity or running water, Mennonite farm. I’m probably related to them (but that’s another post altogether). Even though I technically live in the city, it’s not uncommon to walk outside and be bowled over by the smell of manure. World famous manure.

In the summer, I move up to my cottage for two months. It is in an area of the world famous for shipwrecks, diving, Canada’s oldest and longest foot trail, grocery stores so small it’s impossible to fit two carts side by side in the aisle and an albino groundhog named Willie. Wiarton Willie. Throughout high school and university, I worked at a campground that was minutes away from all of these sights. I spent 44 hours a week playing tour guide to the hundreds of campers who visited us every summer. The number one question they asked was, “There aren’t really bears here are there?” After I explained to these city slickers that they were in the north and yes, bears do exist and no, you cannot leave food lying around your campsite and expect it to be there in the morning, they asked “So what’s there to do around here?”  I would pull out the day tripper map and point out every beautiful spot they should visit. I got really good at this. But (and here’s the kicker) I had never actually visited the places I was raving about.  

Because I am not a tourist. I was too busy working and telling other people how to be a tourist to go visit them myself.

Living amongst touristy places without being a tourist, I have noticed several patterns.

Asking “Are there really...” questions. Yes, those are Mennonites. Yes they drive horse and buggies. No, they’re not just putting on a historical re-enactment. Yes there are bears here. No they will not eat you alive. Probably just maim you a little. Yes Wiarton Willie exists. No I haven’t seen him since they moved his house from in front of the Inn and put in a pool. No I don’t think he lives in the pool. I’m not sure if albino groundhogs can swim but I have an internet connection and I can show you how to use Google.

Taking obnoxious pictures. I already told you, the Mennonites aren’t re-enacting anything! You can’t just take their picture like they’re animals at the zoo. You’re at a Farmer’s Market, not Disney. Posing with vendors selling asparagus just doesn’t have the same magic as Mickey, no matter how hard you smile or how many peace signs you thrown down. Yes that is a boat. It floats on water. You want me to take your picture in front of that boat? Yes, the water is always this blue. I’m serious, there aren’t any artificial colours in that water. That’s nature for you. All blue and stuff.

Losing all common sense and decency. You are still in a city, so please act like it. You can mosey all you want, just try not to have a family meeting in the middle of the road. Mennonites drive horse and buggies, but the rest of us drive cars. I know you’re on vacation and are up north and you likely won’t know anyone on the beach, but we have mirrors here, too. Please don’t wear that bikini again. For the sake of the children.

Saying “You’re really lucky to live here!” I suppose I am. I’ve lived here all of my life and I don’t know any different. As a child I remember being dragged to the Market and totally not understanding why everyone was peeing their pants over a quilt shop and a pile of apples. We have more exciting things here than a market. We have an iMax and some sweet malls. We have some really great entertainment venues. We even used to have a roller skating rink until a kid got stabbed there (1999 was not a good year for roller rink gang activity). We have all of these things and more, but people are fascinated by our livestock and bonnet babes. I do understand that I cottage in a beautiful place and that I just used the word cottage as a verb. Any job that I can be done with work and on the water in under ten minutes (I timed myself once) is a pretty dang good one. I suppose I am lucky.

But it’s not easy being a local.

So dear internets, if you are ever a tourist in a place that is not your home (and you will be, even if you think you’re “blending in”), take pictures, relax, sightsee, be in awe of what we have to offer. But please think of the locals. Don’t block the road, or make horrible wardrobe choices. Try not to ask too many dumb questions or you will be at the mercy of Wiarton Willie. You don’t want to mess with a caged albino groundhog. 

It won’t end well. 

What struck you the most by Amanda's post? Are you guilty of any of these tourist sins? Were you startled by her spelling of the word "colors?" 

P.S. Follow Amanda on Twitter and subscribe to her hilarious blog. She assured me she's put out the fancy guest towels today just for you Rabbit readers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be afraid if I chase your rabbit comment...

Blogger Template By Designer Blogs