This traffic pattern was never something I had considered before. I grew up with it. We learn how to take advantage of the situation practically as soon as you learn to drive. Then, I had some friends visit from Australia who just had to know how this amazing display of courtesy actually worked. I also heard, recently, that this may be a purely Canadian phenomenon, not North American as I assumed. Maybe someone can chime in.
Have a gander at this beautiful carriage photo taken by our contributor, Carmen Cristal, in Romania. She says, “This little carriage decorated with flowers is not a normal means of transport in Romania (we can find carriages only in small villages or they are used for tourism purposes) . The picture was taken in September 2010 at an annual event called Bucharest Days. The event took place in the neighbourhood of People‘s House in Bucharest and included a traditional fair, music, dance and carriage rides along the boulevard.”
Our contributing editor, Ana, says, “Cars are banned on the Isle of Sark (Channel Islands). Tractors, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages are the only means of transport here.”
Canadians love to joke about how there is always snow, we all live in igloos, and our main source of transportation is the dog sled. While, it is definitely not a main source- there are roads, highways, airports- dog sledding is a part of the culture in the North.
The Yukon is north of 60° (latitude). It’s a 2.5 hour flight up from Vancouver. It borders Alaska, USA to the west and British Columbia, Canada to the south. It was home to the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890’s. And, in the winter, boy is it cold there!
One major winter event is the Yukon Quest: a thousand mile race from Whitehorse, Yukon to Fairbanks Alaska. This race follows the gold rush route and is called the toughest dog sled race in the world. The race can take between 10 and 20 days to complete, with limited checkpoints between. This is not a winter sport for the faint of heart. Yukoners are hearty, strong, and adventurous.
Tourists can partake in this cultural sport without facing the sure death that would befall the inexperienced musher (sled driver). A resort just outside of Whitehorse offers day trips and short expeditions. It is called Muktuk Adventures and is home to experienced mushers of the Yukon Quest. We did a quick 2 hour trip that followed a very small portion of the Yukon Quest trail. It ran on top of the frozen Takhini River.
The trip starts with a major bundling up in winter gear: wool socks, winter boots, thick snow pants, giant jackets, warm hats with ear protection, hoods, and, of course, water and wind proof gloves. We then learn the easy basics: a sharp “Let’s go” will get the dogs moving, a low “Whoooaaa” will bring them to a stop. Two to a team, we each have one driver and one rider pulled by five dogs.
Let me tell you, if I was as excited for a day’s work as these dogs, life would be perfection. Every dog in the yard wanted a turn to get out for a good run. Imagine 100 dogs barking and running in circles for attention. Even on the trip, their excitement never dwindled. They barked and danced. They ate snow and played with each other. They constantly seemed tangled in their lines beyond repair during breaks, but always seemed to sort themselves out in time to start up again.
Overall, it was quite a fun experience. I did fall once, but managed to pull myself back up onto the skis of the sled, find the brake, and give a “whoooaaa”. No harm done. Being on the river, most of our trip was flat. The way back up to the cabin, though, was a short uphill. Here, the driver is expected to jump off and run with the sled to help out the dogs. Hopping back on is the tricky part.
I am very glad to have been able to join in on such a stereotypically Canadian winter sport. Though I am years of training off of running a race, maybe next time we will try an overnight expedition.
Suppose you want to sell you car, how do you go about advertising the sale? You can place an ad in your local newspaper or a noticeboard, you can list it on one of several specialised websites or you can use social media (Tweeter, Facebook) to let your contacts know.
In Argentina, although many people use the methods mentioned above, the traditional thing to do is to place an empty can or plastic bottle (filled with water so that it doesn’t fly away) on the roof of your car while it’s parked.
In the past, people used to ring the bell of the house the car was directly parked in front of. Nowadays, car owners place a piece of paper with the car model, mileage, price and contact information. If someone is interested, they’ll try to contact the owner in order to start negotiations.
Do you have a similar custom in your country?
It starts early in the week when I type an appointment in my work calendar for 4:30 p.m. Friday: “Bike ride home.” Just the act of typing those words puts a smile on my face because I’ve just blocked that time from any meetings and I’ve got all week to look forward to a glorious bike commute home over San Francisco’s famous Golden Gate Bridge.
Friday morning I get my gear ready: the bike pants, the windbreaker, the gloves, the iPod, the helmet, the Camelbak, and the sunglasses. Since I live 25 miles away in Marin County and there’s no shower at work, this is only a one-way commute. I jump on the bike-rack enabled commuter bus in the morning and head southward towards The City by the Bay with all the other gas-guzzling suburban commuters. (more…)