The real reason we went to Canadia

Totem PolesI wish it involved some great mystery, but the truth is that Chris and I have accidentally but completely become addicted to watching season one of Lost on DVD. You know, in case you were wondering what kind of high-brow pursuits we were up to while on this fellowship. We simply had to escape for a couple of days. And escape we did. Yesterday proved to be an absolutely glorious day and we awoke in Windsor to our view of the sun glinting off the GM building across the river. "It's so beautiful," Chris said. "Like a ray of hope, a day alive with possibility at GM. Like the people inside are thinking, maybe today I'll build a new SUV, a bigger one that gets even fewer miles to the gallon." So moving.

As with most places, Windsor's waterfront is far more beautiful if the weather cooperates and so, although it was a tad chilly, we strolled west on the waterfront for a ways toward the public sculpture park. In fact, we've been struck this entire time with how much public art there is in Windsor. Really quite impressive. Even if, you know, I'm too dumb to get most of it. And we discovered the real reason Canada is so different from the United States. It has nothing to do with that "aboot" thing. The squirrels there are BLACK. BLACK SQUIRRELS! Amazing. I've never seen such craziness in my life. What is nature smoking?Canadian squirrel

We wanted to go to see the John Freeman Walls Historical Site and Underground Railroad Museum, dedicated to the last stop on the underground railroad. Problem was, we couldn't find it. We found the web site, which doesn't list an address and multiple listings of it in search engines, all with addresses Yahoo! maps said didn't exist. Quite the bummer. I mean, we understand the need to keep it hidden at the time, but really, there hardly seems a need for that now.

Next, we did what all good tourists do in any new city - checked out the yarn shops. (Oh, that just me?) I showed remarkable restraint by only picking up four skeins of yarn at a shop called Knit 1 Purl 1, where the owner was a middle-aged woman in black leather pants who stepped outside to smoke while I browsed. Smashing! (Note that I have absolutely no need for any more yarn, since I can't possibly knit up everything I've brought with me to Ann Arbor - and I don't even know what I'll make with it. But it was pretty. And soft....)

I also wanted to do some financial damage at the Duty Free shops - impress my family by sending them packages of the British candy we loved as kids (especially Flakes and Crunchies). But with both of our full attention focused on this task, we managed to somehow miss the Duty Free shops. Handily enough,right before you get on the bridge to the US, there's a sign that says, "Duty free shops? Ask the attendant." Since there was no attendant on the Canadian side, we asked the fine gent on the US side: "How do we get to the duty free shops?" His answer, delivered with shocking disregard for our needs, was, "You don't. You missed them. They're all on the Canadian side."

I would have spent the entire trip home sulking about that if I wasn't so busy sulking about the ridiculous traffic hold-ups on I-94 back into Detroit. The westbound highway was down to one lane with no one doing any actual construction anywhere, as far as we could see.

Now we're back in Ann Arbor and, I'll tell you, there's no need to go any further than our neighborhood to experience the most stunning fall colors I've ever seen. It's absolutely glorious out there today - just crisp enough for a light sweater, clear blue sky and trees displaying leaves the most unbelievable shades of orange, yellow and red. Choke cherries, walnuts and acorns crunch under your feet when you're not slushing through piles of fallen leaves. It's fall, my friends. And I love it.