Back in November of 2007, I had the privilege of being sent to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for two weeks. Even though I was sad that I was going to miss out on the Thanksgiving Holiday with my kids, I accepted the chance to go to Canada as I have always wanted to visit there.
When I arrived there it was cold. No scratch that, it was FUCKING COLD. It was somewhere around 20 below during the day and 30 below at night. Having grown up in Pittsburgh, I was used to cold. But this shit was so could my penis retracted inside of my body like how a turtles head goes back into his shell.
This is what they show on Canadian TV!
So with a normal schedule of working 8-5 and a company paid rental car I was able to do some exploring of the town. I got out to see the world’s largest shopping mall which has an indoor hockey rink, an indoor water park, a casino, a shooting range (yes they are rednecks like Texans), and here is the kicker - an indoor amusement park with a roller coaster. Although I was a tad bit disappointed in the clothing stores as they had no sizes in men’s clothing above a large. Needless to say I was considered a fat bastard there.
The view from the front of my office.
I got to go to many bars and pubs and get completely shit faced. I mean when in Canada does as Canadians do Eh? One of my favorite places to go was a restaurant called Boston Pizza. They had tv’s with games on, cold beer (ah fuck everything is cold in Canada), and some of the best pizza I have ever had.
And since I was in Canada and it was hockey season, I sure as fuck had to take in a NHL game while there. I got lucky enough to snag some free tickets from the office and was able to go see the Edmonton Oilers play the Vancouver Canucks in the house that Gretsky built. Edmonton won a close game that ended up tied in overtime and went to a shootout. It was a great game to see as I had not seen a NHL game since I was a kid back in Pittsburgh.
One of the faceoffs from the game.
My first weekend there I was off so I was able to take a bus and go down and visit one of my friends Teresa in Calgary who I used to work with back in Houston. Her and her boyfriend (now husband) picked me up downtown. We ended up driving out to the Rocky Mountains to a place called Canmore. Canmore is a beautiful little ski resort town nestled in the Canadian Rocky Mountains not too far from Banff. It was breath taking there. I did not want to leave. The mountains, the clean air, needless to say I was in heaven.
Me in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.
After having a nice dinner there, we drove back to my friend’s house an hour away in Calgary. We chit chatted for a while and then headed to a Calgary Hitman minor league hockey game at the same arena where the Calgary Flames play. It was a fun time. After the game we headed back to my friends house for pizza, scotch, beer, and good conversation.
The next day I headed back to Edmonton on the bus. And I was very glad I took a bus down to Calgary and had not rented a car as we drove back to Edmonton in a damn blizzard.
The rest of the week was pretty uneventful and I just relaxed and stayed warm. I ended up that last week in the hotel bar every night eating dinner and watching sports nightly as it was too damn cold to venture outside.
The view from my hotel balcony.
I would have to say that the best thing I liked about being there was the breakfast buffet in the hotel. They had all you can eat pancakes, bacon, sausage, hash browns, eggs, you name it and they had it to eat. It is amazing though how much more you eat when in cold weather climates to stay warm.
Well I would not say that the free food was the best, the best thing that I loved the most about it up there was the CLEAN air, the snow, and the cold weather. Yes I did enjoy the cold weather as when I got back to Houston, the temperature outside was in the high 80’s. But it was cold up north and as much as I bitched about it, I loved. I went to Canada with a carton of smokes and came home with exactly 5 packs. You bet your ass it is cold when you are drunk every night (as those of you who don’t know, you smoke more when you drink) and you come home with half a carton of smokes.
If you ever get a chance to visit Alberta, I would HIGHLY recommend that you go to the Canadian Rocky Mountains. That was the highlight of my trip.
Next time I will talk about a warmer place I have been lucky to visit.