The plane touched down in British Columbia at dawn and I noted the immediate absence of dogsleds. My guide was waiting for me in the baggage claim, a beast of a man named Gene. He greeted me in French and in English while crushing my hand in his. "I am at your disposal during your entire stay. First, how about some lunch?"
"Lunch?" I chortled, "But it's dawn."
"It's eleven. The sun rises late here and sets early."Touche, Canada. Touche.
Gene wanted to take me through downtown Vancouver, and to the Olympic stadium but I declined. A city center filled with tourists from other nations would only dilute the true spirit I was here to capture.
"Take us to the woods," I said.
"Some snow capped village of trappers."
"I don't know aboot any of those, also my car is only 2-wheel drive. They're doing pairs ice-skating today, you have a guest pass. "
"I'm not here for ice-skating, Gene. I am here to give your savage country the voice it has been sorely missing."
"Alright," Gene said, and pressed the OnStar button for directions. Three and a half hours later we were driving through pristine wilderness. I pressed my face against the glass and stared at the unadulterated wilderness.
"Look, totem poles!" I shouted.
"Trees," Gene corrected me.
"Yes. Spiritual trees.""Ok."
We stood on the icy roadside together, breathing in the silence. Moisture hung in the air like fog. I suggested that we start walking, perhaps we would stumble across the frozen body of a Yukon miner and I could write about the aspiration and loneliness in his eyes. Gene was less eager. He was concerned by the approaching storm clouds and the setting sun, and also my flip-flops. It took fifteen minutes of convincing and eight hundred Canadian dollars which has no real world value anyway. Gene found an extra pair of boots in his trunk and as he tied them to my feet I already I felt closer to this feral country.