Tabernac

On Sunday at a little past 10 a.m. I boarded a Greyhound bus at Winnipeg’s conveniently located airport bus terminal.   Unfortunately, that’s the last semi-positive statement you’ll read in this post.

True, I had a pretty good idea what I was getting myself into and I still chose bus over plane.  Many would say that I relinquished any right to complain when I hit “book ‘er now” on the Greyhound web site.  There are several more attractive options for those needing transportation between Winnipeg and Calgary unless you live directly along the bus route or only have a $100 inter-provincial travel voucher from Corrections Canada.

The price difference between a 90-minute flight and the overnight bus was about $150 (or about $7 for every hour saved), so I clearly didn’t do this to save a ton of money even if it did mean one less night in a hostel.  I didn’t do it for comfort either.  Greyhound buses are widely known to be sweat lodges in winter (no racial pun intended) and walk-in meat lockers in summer.  I had a window seat which afforded me a great view of the, ah, 1326 km long canola field, but since the AC vents are located along the window sill, I don’t expect my right elbow to be completely thawed out before Friday.

So what would drive me to take the bus when other options were about the same price and a tad more comfortable?  The answer is quite simple: “screenplay”.  I figured that I’d meet a few movie-worthy characters along the way and at some point some good might come of it.  The jury’s still out on that one, although I wouldn’t dare use the word ‘jury’ in present company.

Sure, there were a couple of nice young German tourists, one middle-aged Brit, a very loving Cree grandma and her two pre-teen grandkids, but for the most part the passengers were complete fucking morons.

Am I being too harsh?   Nope.  The constant patter from the 20 or so single men in the back half of the bus descended into juvenile hilarity at about the 5km mark of a 1326 km journey.

I won’t go into serious “character development” at this point but I did manage to jot down a few choice lines that I couldn’t help but overhear.  I present to you now the top 10 lines from my 21-hour research project:

 

THE TOP 10

10.  “F__ you, Headingley.” (As we passed the Headingley Correctional Institution at 6030 Portage Ave.  I have reason to believe that about 20 of the 44 people on the bus might have some first-hand knowledge of this or similar facilities.)

9.  “If you ever get a chance, watch the movie Slapshot.”

8.  “It’s not ‘fucking cold beer’ it’s ‘cold beer’.  I can hear you up here.  Watch your language and we’ll all get along, okay?”  (Driver to passenger who had a habit of reading aloud as we passed large, uncomplicated signs.”

7.  “Yeah, man. Yeah” followed by  “Whoa.”  (An estimated 3,467 times over 21.5 hours from one of two stoners sitting directly behind me.)

6.  “Tabernac”  (About 25% of the riders and 50% of the single male riders were French-speaking.  Go figure.)

5.  “We only have two chicken fingers left, and the Special comes with three.  You wanna substitute a hotdog instead?”  (Server at cafe located inside the Regina Bus Depot)

4.  “I didn’t win nothin’.  Sweet nothin’.  Twenty bones in 2 spins – GONE.”  (Guy they called “Slim Shady” who ventured to Casino Regina during our 2 hour stop in town and thought that it would be wise to play a number “straight up” two times with his $20 Roulette budget.)

3.  “Once more and you’re gone!   Don’t think I don’t know when you’re smoking in the bathroom.  I have a nose like a hawk.”  (Driver confronting passenger)

2.  “Oh man, I’d a brought my iPod if I’d a knowed buses had power.”

1.  “It’s a pretty good mall.  It’s got fountains n stuff.”  (While passing Swift Current Mall)

 

THE JOURNEY

(Start) – Winnipeg, MB     10:30 AM

Portage La Prairie, MB     11:25 AM   11:25 AM

MacGregor, MB                11:55 AM   11:55 AM

Austin, MB                        12:10 PM   12:10 PM

Carberry, MB                     12:45 PM  12:45 PM

Brandon, MB                     1:20 PM     2:15 PM

Alexander, MB                  2:20 PM    2:20 PM

Griswold, MB                    2:30 PM   2:30 PM

Oak Lake, MB                   2:55 PM   2:55 PM

Virden, MB                        3:30 PM   3:45 PM

Elkhorn, MB                      4:05 PM   4:05 PM

Manitoba / Sask. Boarder  4:45 PM  (time change)

Moosomin, SK                   3:35 PM   3:35 PM

Wapella, SK                       3:55 PM  3:55 PM

Whitewood, SK                 4:10 PM  4:30 PM

Broadview, SK                  4:45 PM   4:45 PM

Grenfell, SK                      5:05 PM   5:05 PM

Wolseley, SK                     5:25 PM   5:25 PM

Sintaluta, SK                     5:45 PM   5:45 PM

Indian Head, SK                5:55 PM   5:55 PM

Regina, SK                        6:55 PM.  8:55 PM

Moose Jaw, SK                  9:45 PM   9:50 PM

Caronport, SK                   10:10 PM   10:10 PM

Mortlach, SK                    10:25 PM   10:25 PM

Chaplin, SK                      10:40 PM   10:40 PM

Ernfold, SK                      10:50 PM   10:50 PM

Morse, SK                        11:00 PM   11:00 PM

Herbert, SK                      11:10 PM   11:10 PM

Waldeck, SK                     11:25 PM   11:25 PM

Swift Current, SK             11:45 PM   12:20 AM

Webb, SK                         12:35 PM   12:35 PM

Gull Lake, SK                  12:50 PM   12:50 PM

Tompkins, SK                  1:05 AM   1:05 AM

Piapot, SK                        1:20 AM   1:20 AM

Maple Creek, SK             2:00 AM   2:15 AM

Sask. / Alberta Boarder    2:25 AM   2:25 AM

Walsh, AB                        2:30 AM   2:30 AM

Medicine Hat, AB            3:20 AM   3:35 AM

Suffield, AB                     4:00 AM   4:00 AM

Brooks, AB                      4:50 AM   4:50 AM

Bassano, AB                    5:20 AM   5:20 AM

Strathmore, AB                6:20 AM   6:20 AM

Calgary, AB                      7:20 AM  (end)

 

 

4 Responses to “Tabernac”

  1. Paul

    Yes you were warned about overnight bus rides 90 minutes is too long

    Reply
  2. Judie

    I’m going to be a regular reader of your posts. I’m sure you’ll have good experiences along with the “moron” ones!! Happy trails!

    Reply
  3. Shel Hastey

    True story: I once worked for Greyhound in the western Head Office in Calgary. Our office windows overlooked the inside of the terminal. Late one afternoon there was a hostage-taking at knifepoint incident as passengers disembarked a bus that had just arrived.
    The joke among the employees was “Ha! Vancouver to Calgary bus? whadya expect?”

    Reply

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