Thursday, October 27, 2011

Banff: the land of moose, deer, beavers and... wait for it... Australians!

Dear Barbara with deer

Barbara and I just came back from a lovely time in Banff, Alberta. Banff lies about an hour west of Calgary in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. We were blessed with some $ to spend to celebrate our 10th Anniversary and Banff was how we decided to spend it. We made a great choice.

And besides the romance, the roaming around, the shop browsing, and the eating and drinking of delicious food and beverages, there was a lot more to Banff. I could talk about how we walked down Banff Ave. past Beaver Street to get to where we were going on Caribou Ave. I could also mention the serene sounds of nature, like the calling of a hawk that flew overhead while we were waiting to cross an intersection; nature meets urban in a glorious burst of Canadian stereotypicalism. I could almost hear the hawk call out my name, "Welcome, Brett! Welcome to Banff! Caw!" If you listen carefully you might be able to hear it too. Shhhh. Listen. Can you hear it?

But the weird thing about Banff is that there are a freaking lot of Australians. Don't label me a hater, I love Australians. At first I figured that there were just a lot of tourists from Down Under. But then when I was ordering my coffee from an Australian and shopping in stores filled with workers from Australia I started to think that it must be pretty easy for these blokes to get a work visa in Canada. Well, it turns out that it is even easier than we thought.

Barbara asked an Australian barista why there are so many of them living in Banff. The girl said that the skiing is better there and that it's easy to get a work visa. Once again, how easy?

"I applied for my work visa online and I got it within a week."

It must be a Commonwealth thing. At least 40% of the workers we encountered in Banff were Australian. There are swarms of them. I think it's pretty cool that they can come up here and work and ski. The question I have is where are all of the Canadian ski bums? I figured that there would be more home grown hosers and ladies that would want to work and ski in the National Park.

Then I wondered, does it work the other way? Can Canadians find work in Australia so easily? What about the other Commonwealth Nations? Can I get a job in Delhi? If I can keep a straight face am I allowed to work as a guard outside of Buckingham Palace? Could I, Brett Gitzel, drive William and Kate around like one of their own?

Australians in Banff. Online visa application. Tell all of your Pakistani friends that they can serve coffee in Banff and snowboard Norquay all winter.

I would compare the process of, as a Canadian, attaining a Chinese visa with an Australian stumbling over a Canadian one, but that would be a little silly and frustrating and heart breaking.

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