beginning from the beginning….
it takes under 90 minutes to fly across the mountain range that is the rockies from vancouver to calgary and before we knew it, seemingly 20 minutes after take-off, we were there….
transiting to the hotel was pretty smooth so i won’t bore you with details. because rooms were in short supply by the time i was inquiring, we had to get a suite with an “in-suite jacuzzi,” a king-size bed, and a pull-out queen. upon checking out that sofa, we just decided to share the bed. the jacuzzi really was in the suite… at the foot of the bed, and with mirrors no less. so tacky.
on day 1 (friday), we woke up early and set out to find this breakfast diner on edmonton trail. that was our first harsh experience with the bus part of transit – it didn’t bring us as far as the diner so we aborted the endeavour and walked back downtown to catch the stampede parade. i don’t have pictures because our spot was quite second-rate and many pictures caught the back of the paraders instead.
we walked around downtown looking for these tall statues of human figures we saw from the bus but to no avail. instead, we came across the chinese cultural center that is designed inspired by the temple of heaven in beijing. i quite liked walking through their chinatown (no time to stop) as it is new, wide, and enthusiastic about decorations.
we looked for arden diner, jann arden’s foray into the restaurant business but saw a big t’s bbq & smokehouse at that address instead. it was a roasting hot day and we were relieved to get inside and eat large meals of pulled pork and beef brisket sandwiches, each meal costing only 6.00!
after lunch, we quickly visited chinook centre for once upon a time it was considered a highly innovative mall (now it didn’t seem to have anything spectacular except for the albertosaurus statue) and the marble slab creamery where you choose a flavour of ice cream and they hand-mix in your choice of chocolate candies upon a frozen marble slab. picked up my race t-shirt from the mewata armoury and headed home to freshen up.
(i was severely disappointed when i got my race t-shirt on two counts : it was in a unisex size small and hence too big for me, and… doesn’t it look a bit familiar? argh. that’s what i get for doing two races so close together!)
we met up with my sister’s classmate at td square and he took us for what turned out to be a night out on the red mile, famous since the recent past when calgarians flocked there to cheer on the calgary flames during the stanley cup playoffs….
we started out at a 17th ave (a.k.a. the red mile) hotspot that is melrose. it’s a nice place to linger with a huge patio that doesn’t actually expose you to the elements. after hanging there for a bit, we grabbed revivers (i.e., caffeine drinks) from starbucks and while finishing those up – omigosh – we left 17th avenue and wandered around another budding hot street, 4th street.
after finishing starbucks, it was like a dash back to the hottest spot and we ended up in ming, a dark and trendy bar where the drinks are named after dictators (at our table, we ordered a chairman mao, 2 trotskies, and a kubulai khan or two) and a portrait of chairman mao loomed over our table…. huh. my swizzlestick was black and had a figure of a robed chinese sage on it….
the guys weren’t ready to head home so soon (but the pubs and clubs were way too busy to get into given it was the first night of the stampede), so we people-watched from the doors of fiasco gelato while enjoying a gelato nightcap (i tried tartufo, 2.95, and it tasted like praline…).
and that would round out our first day in calgary!