Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Go West, Mrs. Loudshoes.

Back from the west.
It seems to me that to take one week's holidays actually takes 3 weeks: the week before is busy getting ready to go, you go, and then it takes another week to take care of everything you missed while you were away.
I'm in the midst of the third week, as we speak, and kind of regretting going away, as it takes so much energy to do it.

We had a wonderful couple of days away, my parents and I. I don't think I've been away on a holiday with just my mom and dad in about 30 years, and it was kind of nice to have them to myself. I don't usually get to see them solo, not for almost 14 years, now.

Calgary was fabulous, I was seriously smitten with everything western. The wedding was lovely; it was so nice to see a wedding where you got the feeling it was about the start of something, not just an end unto itself. I met all sorts of family I never knew I had, and they were all so welcoming and friendly.

We spend one wonderful day in the mountains. Neither of my parents had ever seen the Rockies (in fact, it was the furthest west they've ever been) and they were mighty impressed. I know it's stupid to say, but those mountians are powerful, because they're so,... well...., big. Seriously, it's hard to believe it until you see them. And they are very abrupt; Calgary itself is pretty flat, and then bam! ginormous mountains, just like that. If a kid drew the landscape, it would look pretty much like it does. (Maybe God let Jesus do Alberta, just for practice.) Lake Louise is enchanting, and Banff is delightful and Lake Minnewanka is spectacular.

Other things I noticed about Alberta:
  • No brick. Houses are made of wood or aluminum siding. How do they measure weight then, if they don't know what "a ton of bricks" looks like?
  • No barns. Apparently the cattle and horses stay outside all year long, which makes me much more respectful of Albertan livestock. I think they have a legitimate complaint to the UN about that.
  • Flashing red and yellow lights. Okay, the Alberta road system is enviable, in that it is orderly, simple, well signed and utterly without meaningful traffic. (Seriously, they laughed at me when I said that about the traffic, but they have NO idea how lucky they are. Toronto at 4 pm? that's traffic.) But they have intersections where they have these flashing lights, that apparently never change. (Believe me, I waited ages for one to do so.) What the hell they're all about, I have no idea.
  • No deciduous trees. No maples, no elms, no oaks, no beech, no ash. Just miles and miles and miles of pines. Fall must look like any other season but at least they don't have to rake metric tonnes of leaves in April.
  • Lousy weather. It was 10°C and raining sideways in biblical proportions in Calgary, while it was 32°C here at home and the Mister had to put on the air conditioning. My relatives offhandedly mentioned that they have, at times, had snow in every month of the year. I would just lay down and weep if it snowed in August.
  • No mosquitos. Hallelujah!
  • You can see for miles and miles. Here in the east, not only is it flat, there are huge trees everywhere and the air is less clear because of the humidity. You can only ever see a long way away if you are on the top of the CN Tower or up in an apartment building. And guess what you can see? Trees.
  • Nobody in Calgary is actually from Calgary. The place is entirely populated with people from the east.

It was a great holiday; I just loved it and would return in a heartbeat.

But I have to admit, the best part of going away? is coming home.


Big Liver Girl said...

that "no-brick" thing?... that's not just Calgary... that's everywhere east of Kingston and west of Windsor. Makes me feel all happy about southwestern ontario... like we are the smartass third little pig.
good to have you back loudshoes!

SueSue said...

Hey baby! I'm so glad you liked Calgary! Blair Bear and I just got back on Saturday from our Colorado trip and spent a large part of the time saying "this is so much like Calgary!" Except for the guacamole, the beer, the fish tacos, the dry heat... *lol* We put 1500 miles on the rental car - thank goodness for unlimited mileage! Hope to see you guys again soon!