Lots of afternoon sun in Banff after a rainy morning, which I spent in the town’s hot springs and my favorite local café: Evelyn’s on Banff Avenue. I fear I am developing an addiction to pies as a result of traveling along the U.S.-Canadian border… By now I’ve also gotten used to being forced to listen to the Scorpions, Modern Talking and the English version of Nena’s 99 Luftballons. I was a little more surprised when, at 11:05PM sharp last night, a young man who introduced himself as a “Parks Canada Officer” paid a visit to my campsite (“Good evening! Bonnn-svaaarrr”) to inform me that we had just entered the “quiet period” and that I had to be quiet from then on. Had I not been quiet, I asked. “Everything is fine, I just wanted to let you know,” he replied.
The French Canadians on the site right next to mine were less lucky: they got told off. The enforcement officer then went back to his Toyota Prius, drove approximately five meters and stopped. After a few minutes, he stepped out of his vehicle, walked back to my neighbors’ site and threatened them with calling in “armed support by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police” if they did not lower the volume of their voices. I was left wondering whether this might have been an apt example of so-called micro-aggressions or whether the guy was simply a dick. Maybe both.
In addition to quiet periods, the Province of Alberta also appears to take fierce pride in maximizing its profit from plastic bottle deposits. After dishing out nearly CAD7 for 28 bottles of Nestlé (NB: there was no rival product on the shelves) water, I had to pay CAD2.80 for deposits. Whatever, I thought. Harry drank one; the other one quenched my thirst. I walked straight back into the store to find out where I could get the 20 cents for my two empty bottles. “Oh, for that you will have to drive to the recycling center, sir,” the friendly clerk explained. “Where is that?,” I inquired. “About five kilometers out of Banff, sir,” she replied courteously. C’mon, Alberta — really? You make folks drive–and waste gas–to return plastic bottles? I know, I know — I shouldn’t be drinking bottled water anyway. But while on this trip, I am — and I guess I am paying the true price for it.