08/27/05 to 08/28/05
As we pulled out of town on Saturday, Mac the big, ugly, concrete moose
mascot of Moose Jaw smirked at us as the sun shone down on the cities
warm breezes.  Guess the frigid gusts of wind were a specialty brought in
just for us.  We're not surprised, we seem to get this kind of special
treatment everywhere we go.   
The scenery slowly changed on our 8 hour drive west to Calgary, and as we
finally pulled into the city, we could see the beautiful Rocky Mountains--with snow
on top of course.  We spent Sunday in downtown Calgary, which is as beautiful a
metropolitan city as possible.  The buildings are modern and clean, next to older
brick structures that have been well maintained.  There is so much to do in such
a small area, so we chose to visit a botanical garden--in the 4th floor of a
shopping mall, see the Bow river which ran right through downtown, walk back
through China town, where they had a big doings going on, and return to the
Calgary Tower where we had parked.  
You know
Richard, if there
is a river
anywhere, we
have to go look at
it.  We didn't see
anyone floating
on it as it ran
through
downtown, but we
saw them out
there upstream a
ways.  Good thing
we're leaving
tomorrow, or we
would be looking
for spots to put
the boat in.
They were dancing
and singing in
China Town to
celebrate Alberta's
birthday.  (Not
officially until
Thursday.  
Alberta,along with  
Saskatchewan,
{and probably other
provinces too.  I
would know if they
taught Canadian
history in school,
provided I hadn't
slept through it.} is
turning 100, and
everyone has been
celebrating.)
Hey, when
you bug a
busy tourists
to take your
picture, and
shoo the
bratty kids out
of the window,
by the time
you check the
picture and
see the flash
should have
been on, the
tourist is gone
and the damn
kids are back,
pressing their
noses to the
glass and
sprawling out
on the floor.  
What's a girl
to do?  Look
close, you'll
see we're
smiling.
The Calgary Tower, similar to the
Seattle Space Needle, or the
Stratosphere, is in the center of
downtown Calgary.  The expensive
elevator ride (they won't let you use
the stairs unless it's an
emergency, I asked.  I guess they
don't consider me being cheap a
real "code red.") takes you 525
feet up, where there is the typical
viewing room, but unlike the
Stratosphere, the Calgary Tower
also has a glass floor, so you
basically walk out over the city.  
Pretty scary.  You didn't know I
could levitate did you?  They have
two restaurants at the top, one of
which spins while you dine, but we
weren't hungry, so we descended
after just a few minutes.  However,
our ticket gets us in all day, and we
have to get our money's worth, so
we may go back tonight.  There is
a fireworks display across town,
and if we can't see it from up there,
at least we'll see the city lights.
Other things about Canada:  The people are friendly and helpful.  For example,
today on the way home, I was on the back of the motorcycle, stopped at a light,
looking at the map for an alternate route home so we could see more stuff.  We
weren't lost or anything, just perusing the map, but the guy in the car next to us
rolled down his window to ask what we were looking for.  Nice, eh?  (In case you
haven't caught on yet, they say "eh?" here instead of our typical, "you know?")  The
young employed people are friendly, fast and efficient, they have this funny thing
that left the United States' young population about 10 years ago, called a
Work
Ethic.
 Most of their gas stations are full service, and nice young men run out to fill
our tank and wash our windshield.  However, with this work ethic ironically comes
labor disputes and several enterprises are now on strike in Canada.  Affecting us
the most is strike going on at the CBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  
That's right, the T.V. people (the only channel we can get in our cheap RV Park 10
miles north of the city) have gone on strike.  To try to end it quickly, CBC is
broadcasting the worst movies ever.  My theory is they are trying to make the
public put pressure on the striking workers to go back to work so that the CBC will
resume regular programing.  For example, last night, although I begged to turn it off
and read a book or play Scrabble or something, Richard insisted we veg out in
front of
Antlejaltat (or some similarly unpronounceable Eskimo name) The Fast
Runner
.  Of course the entire movie is in Eskimo talk, when there is talking, and so
we were reading subtitles.  The story is that evil came to the town (3 igloos, if you
can call that a town.)  Years later Antlejaltat had to fight (not like normal people,
these Eskimos drew names to see which one went first, striking the other upside
the head while he just stood there.) to marry his wife because she was promised to
the evil guy.  Then the evil guy's sister whores it up for Antlejaltat and he decides to
take her as his second wife.  Then the whore/wife sleeps with Antlejaltat's brother,
and since they are all (runner, brother, runner's wife, brother's wife and runner's
whore/wife) living in the same small teepee, (they only sleep in igloos in winter) the
whore and the brother get caught by all and one of them hits whore/wife, who runs
to her brother and tells on them, then goes back and begs forgiveness for her sin
while she is setting them up for her brother to come and kill them.  But wait, little do
they know that Antlejaltat is a fast runner (didn't they read the title?) and so even
though he is sleeping naked (right, in a teepee on the snow, the man sleeps
naked) he outruns them over the ice while hurdling over the thin spots in the ice.  
Anyway, after seeing a skinny, naked man running, panting, falling down and
bleeding out of his feet for 5 minutes, (Remember, the dialogue is few and far
between in this movie.) I'm pretty sure the CBC accomplished it's goal of involving
the viewing public in their quest for a labor, or labour, agreement.  {Tonight they
are playing Star Wars Episode V.  Will the torture ever end? Eh?}
They are funny too.  (Even if Richard doesn't think so.)  We've seen several
humorous t-shirts, "Canadian: an unarmed American with health insurance." or the
one that says "Canada, Eh?"  However, even though they are funny, they don't
seem to have a great marketing mind, as these funniest shirts are always sold out,
with piles of boring ones left behind.
Also, after trashing the Saskatchewan weather, I must admit that the weather in
Calgary was nice.  I bundled up like always to go out on the motorcycle, and was
actually hot.  So much for our special treatment.

So, in an attempt to avoid more anti-labor movement programing, we followed
through with the idea to go back downtown and watch the fireworks show.  It was
wonderful.  (Of course, we did have to pay for parking again, so although we got
back up into the tower on our origianl ticket, we still spent money.)
So, we arrived back home just in time to catch the opening credits of, you'll
never believe this,
Godzilla-vs-Mothra.  The CBC will win this war for sure!

Tomorrow we head further west for Banff.