Halfway into my first term at Montreal’s McGill University I have begun to appreciate the Canadian character. What do I like most about Canadians?
As you may recall I went on a farewell tour with my mom Juanita Billabong and we did cover many cities in the United States so I have a focal point to compare Canadians with. Plus my years in India have given me insights into the British and Indian characteristics.
Canadians are calm and quiet and one might even call them boring. They speak softly particularly in public as if they deeply respect their fellow citizens. They rarely become excited unless of course it is a matter of hockey, Tim Smorten’s coffee and Kraft Dinner. By the way a spaz at heart I joined the McGill intramural hockey league doing my best not to embarrass myself. Indians on skates can be a sight for sore eyes!
The Americans I encountered were much louder particularly in public where they seemed to like shouting especially if trying to make a point. Americans can be quiet but I recall seeing American tourists in India and they were loud in manner, speaking and in dress style. Americans become particularly agitated when there are no Kentucky Fried Chickens, Burger Kings or McDonald’s about. I recall eating with my father Paneer at the Bombay Ritz-Carlton and rest assured the ladies and gentlemen of the Ritz-Carlton did not appreciate Billy Bob Sonburnt from Plum City Arkansas eating gourmet food with his baseball hat on and then loudly complaining he wanted real American food not this spicy Indian slop! The dining room chortled when Billy Bob loudly proclaimed when he returned home he was heading to McDonald’s for some “real American food.”
Indians are never quiet and calm and always shouting and gesturing about something but that’s our national character and you learn to live with it. I often think it is all just an act.
The Brits I encountered in Bombay were so very quiet and polite but turn your back on them and they were vicious backstabbing brutes particularly if you were not illy white or of the right economic class. Yes who said it was India only that had the untouchables!