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megaman croc

Nothing Short of Awesome II

So here's the second part of the account on our amazing trip to Canada. Having left Vancouver on Saturday evening (Sept 3rd) we were headed for Calgary, where two of our friends, Copper and Dorn, reside.

This was my third visit to Alberta, but Xolani was a newbie to one of the great prairie provinces. The open spaces, and again the mountains, blew the wasp's mind away in many respects, as I shall detail in the following report.

Having arrived at our friends' place we met Jake, their pet puppy dog. Although initially shy, he quickly warmed up and started jumping all over us. After a few days he was comfortable enough to nestle in my lap and just fall asleep, although his two owners would still always take priority x3

Our first day (Sept 4th) was rather cold and windy, but that was soon warmed up by an enormous pride parade in downtown Calgary. It was a long affair, where we stood on the side of the street for round about an hour and still had people coming through. Even though Alberta gets the nickname "The Texas of Canada", you can still see how wonderfully open and tolerant it can be, much to Xolani's amazement.



That was followed by a little walk around the open-air concert venue, with a stop to gaze at the sole Bible-basher standing on a street corner and preaching his bullshit far and wide. After this we bought a Canadian rainbow flag and headed for lunch at this awesome place called King of Shawarma.

Monday (Sept 5th) was spent trying to get out of two mystery rooms. Unfortunately, Copper wasn't feeling well, and as such stayed behind. We still had a party of seven, which proved enough to break out of the first room, themed as a gangster scene.

As a compliment in exchange for reviews, we got a crack at the second room, this time a space-based mystery, which we sadly didn't solve in time and thus died horribly in the vacuum of space.

We were also introduced to the neighbors by Dorn, both are some absolutely lovely people, and additionally the man of the house was kind enough to share some of his greens with Xolani. His eyes shone with delight at that as he wasn't able to smoke up while in Canada, and does this for medicinal reasons. The joints went down very well on our hike the following day.

Tuesday (Sept 6th) was particularly memorable for the day out in the Rockies that myself, Xolani and Richard (the roommate) enjoyed. Our goal was Loder Peak (2,088 m) near the settlement of Kananaskis, just off the Trans-Canada Highway. The weather was crisp, which made it even more impressive seeing Richard attempt the climb wearing just a t-shirt. I was all wrapped up.

Soon after the hike started, Xolani found out that hiking boots with flat soles are really no good for climbing. I pushed the buzz up a few times but for the final ascent we had to call it quits for him as that would have been too dangerous.



With Xolani left behind to wait in a safe spot, Richard and myself proceeded to climb the 45-degree rock wall. With about a third of the way to go, I looked down, and probably shouldn't have, as that made me think twice about climbing further. But with a little encouragement I managed to scuffle to the top of the wall. The summit was a short walk away, and the views were most rewarding.



The descent from the rock wall leading up to the summit was fun, and probably dangerous. Thankfully I had one of Richard's grappling gloves so at least I could hold on to the coarse surface and actually get down in one piece. After we descended fully flat ground felt amazing. As did our dinner in Canmore at the famous Grizzly Paw brewery.

Wednesday (Sept 7th) was nice and laid back, started off with a visit to a local hospital for a check-up for Copper, and then followed by a nice drive around downtown Calgary and then the amazing and massive Bass Pro outdoor and hunting shop. Two floors complete with a salmon aquarium and artificial waterfall. Canadians have soooo many options for outdoor fun. We rounded the day off with a nice Italian meal at Pacini's, complete with a bread bar!



During the week I also introduced our Canadian-American hosts to Shepherd's pie, a British classic, and I was so pleased to see they liked it! All of it was gone in two days.

For Thursday (Sept 8th) I had planned a day out for me and buzz showing him around downtown Calgary, with a stop at Army&Navy on the way, where we picked up a pair of toy slingshots!

Perusing downtown was great fun, starting from 7th Ave and working our way up the Bow River and Prince's Island Park. While there we were surprised by a freak thunder storm complete with hail, torrential rain and freezing gusts of wind. Thankfully, Calgary's pedestrian bridges came to our rescue and we were somewhat able to continue our journey staying dry and relatively warm.



Following that we went to collect Copper from his workplace, meeting the wolf's amazing English coworker while we waited, and headed down to meet up with Dorn and go for some hot dogs at Tubby Dog's and then for bubble tea at the Chinese district. While at it, we went into The Bow, Calgary's tallest complete skyscraper, hoping to able to go to the top. While that wasn't possible, we had a nice chat with the two workers at Starbucks, one of whom had been to the top viewing deck before. We also got a free ice coffee. That kinda warmed me up to Starbucks a little.

The day was rounded off with a nice walk along a picturesque bluff overlooking downtown, with a row of some very expensive houses along the street!



Friday was our last full day in Calgary, so we headed out to town again, this time talking a walk along the more historic 8th Ave, and then going up Calgary Tower to soak up some of the city views. And they were not disappointing at all :D



Following that, and a prolonged search for an ATM and Post Office, we met up with the guys and headed down to Bridlewood for a dinner at the Bull & Finch Pub Restaurant. There we were joined by two of our friends, Wula and Berymuch, and after a nice meal and good laughs we headed down to their place to chill and play games. Was really nice seeing them after about three years.

And even then sadly didn't get to see everyone, both in Calgary and Vancouver, which I can only apologize for and promise to make up for next time.

Early Saturday morning we had to get out things together and head for the airport. Copper and Dorn have been wonderful hosts to us, it was excellent seeing them both again and introducing waspie. The next leg of our journey took us to Montreal, via Winnipeg, but that's some more material for another entry!

Comments

Egad! How on Earth do you descend 45 degrees? Backwards? No idea what the incline was up Inspiration Point, but I certainly felt safer puffing my way up that. ^_^

For medical reasons, or merely for pleasure, there's so much to be said for herbal pleasures. Indeed, my arrival back in the Bay was marked by substantial intakes of both fish and herb. =:)

Ah, pedestrian bridges! Minneapolis has plenty of those too, for the same reason. (Wouldn't mind visiting there again someday, even if Dreamhaven Books is no longer. Some very good memories there. Trouble is, I don't really know anyone there now)

There's never enough time. ^_^; There were, likewise, friends I didn't get to see this time around, but there'll be other occasions.

Anything to say on the flights/airlines? I did make a point, after having a monitor about 8" from my face for most of the inbound flight, of snapping up an exit row seat on the return leg, which was an excellent choice.. that lack of feeling so closed in, as well as the extra legroom, made a huge difference - I was a much happier bunny, and the time veritably flew by.
How? Very carefully :P And I reckon smoking some goods on the way up definitely made it more enjoyable, the views were simply breathtaking and no picture can fully convey that sense <3

As for the flights...we had so many! Air Canada mostly for flights within the country, but as for hopping across the Pond, it was Air Transat. I've flown with them multiple times and they are really good value for money. For the trip back I got us extra large seats and that was some fantastic thinking. Definitely sweetened having to get through London on our trip back to Liverpool :P