Upon returning to la bestia yesterday evening, I found a ticket–indeed the first ticket since I left D.C. on July 2–on my windscreen: CAD50 for a parking violation. I had inadvertently chosen a 15-minute zone for her to relax for two hours. Although the exchange rate to the US Dollar is favorable these days (USD1=CAD1.30), I was miffed. This is how Banff welcomes tourists? I sought to get over it as soon as possible by paying right away and walked into the town’s municipal building first thing this morning. “Since you are a first offender,” the lady behind the counter explained, “you are eligible for a 90% reduction of your fine. Would you like to pay the $5 in cash or with your card?” I was floored. O Canada, how I adore thee.
The rest of the day was spent doing laundry and getting groceries–real bread even!–and then aimlessly strolling through arcades and shops. The demographics of tourism here are quite different from what I had expected: one third appears to be from mainland China, and they shop until they drop (if they ever drop, that is); another third–whose average age is in the mid-50s–sports Euro-trashy multi-pocketed Gore-Tex survival combinations and speaks either Dutch or German; and the last third gets out of either [a] large trucks with Minnesota plates or [b] hybrids from California.
I almost bought a China-made, Swedish-designed Fjällräven jacket that I don’t need, but ultimately managed to restrain myself and settled for a baseball cap that was on sale. Do I need it? No. But I like it. Meanwhile, Harry met several friendly dogs and seemed to be content with having some time off as well. As the day is winding down, I’m sipping hot oolong tea and planning the route for tomorrow. All campgrounds in the area are booked because of the weekend, so it looks as if we’re going to go boondocking again.