Toon-town Part 1

In October 2012, I attended the Policy Sciences Institute Annual Meeting. This post is not about that. This post is about comic book stores and other stuff I saw in Saskatoon. But the next post will be about the meeting!

Oh, man, it was actually tres cray (that’s cray-cray +1) getting to Saskatoon. My journey to Canada begins way back in Illinois.

First, I took a bus (really a van) from Champaign-Urbana to Bloomington-Normal (so many sister cities, because sisters are rad). Then me and this dentist from Istanbul (Central Illinois: the most attractive vacation destination on earth, even for dentists from Istanbul) got on the next bus (really a coach bus) to go to O’Hare Airport in Chicago.

A bunch of other people got on the coach bus, too, including this one guy who was apparently having some difficulties, because three different bus drivers were yelling at him and asking him where he was going and he clearly had no idea what was happening in the world around him, but eventually he bought a ticket to the airport.

The bus ride was a little bit weird to start, because the yelling kind of continued from the previous paragraph. Then the guy tried to jump out of the emergency exit hatch on top of the bus, and I was like “Hey, man, maybe that’s not a great idea….” whereas this other passenger grabbed the guy and said “NO! SIT DOWN!” which seemed to resolve the issue of fleeing out of the roof of a bus going 70 miles (11265408 cm CDN) per hour.

Anyhow, we got to O’Hare without much further incident, and then I eventually got to Calgary via WestJet (the carrier that provides you with blankets for $4 and headsets for $10! A winning business model with a captive audience).

When I told the customs agent I was working on my PhD in Canadian Studies, she said “That’s so funny.”

Caught a connecting flight to Saskatoon (please note, I am well aware that overshot by going to Calgary first), and the guy sitting next to me on the plane said “Welcome to Canada!”

At least he didn’t try to jump out of the emergency exit.

In Saskatoon, I mostly ran the errands that I love to run while I’m in Canada (go to the bank, send things in the mail with a mysterious Saskatoon postmark, eat all the shwarma). But I also did my favo(u)rite thing to do when I am travelling: went to the local comic booke shoppes (and a bookstore, and the Ten Thousand Villages shop, because Christmas is coming).

I like to go to comic book shops because they are a fun thing to compare between cities (or they are all the same everywhere you go – take your pick!). I really liked the shop we went to in Florida, but I digress!

There were a few local books available at Tramp’s, but I was mostly there for the deals on Archie titles to send to my sister in Micronesia.

The comic books were in one half of a downstairs room. The other half was full of used and new CDs. There were two guys working there, who seemed mostly sad. I don’t know if they’re going out of business, or it was just cold, or what. But I got what I went there for (bargain bin copies of Archie), so I won’t complain.

It would have been nice to discuss some of the local titles, but it was also fine just poking around by my lonesome.

I went to another comic book store in downtown Saskatoon that was a bit more organized and loads tidier. It was much smaller and way fancy, more of a comics boutique, with graphic novels, kitschy stuff like a Wookie hoodie, and toys. The shopkeeper was helping some people pick out an ironic t-shirt, so I didn’t get to ask him why they weren’t carrying Sam Alden’s Eighth Grade, or anything else, for that matter.

Should you ever find yourself in Saskatoon, I would recommend my accommodations. I stayed at the College Lodge Inn. It was pretty nice, very reasonably priced, and right across the street from the University of Saskatchewan, which is where the fun stuff (the conference!) took place. :-)

More on that next post. Get ready. I’m gonna blow your mind with Policy Sciences.

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