Saturday, April 21, 2012

Big shopping mall, bus fights, ski jump and bobsleigh

Wednesday morning and day number two in Edmonton. I slept really well and so was all ready for a day out again. Today was cold and grey though and so I jumped on a bus to go and visit West Edmonton Mall – Ok, it’s a shopping centre, but it’s the biggest shopping centre in Canada and has a few things that most shopping centres don’t have.

The first thing I did was grab some lunch in the food court. I sat down with a Chinese meal and noticed that the two women on the table next to me were talking Chinese-Mandarin and eating Big Macs from McDonalds’. Hmm, surely there was something a bit mixed up about this situation. I enjoyed my lunch though and after I finished I took a walk around Galaxy world –the world’s biggest indoor theme park – that what it claims and it was a big place. 10 storeys high in places with full sized roller coasters and massive spinning rides, but I think the indoor Theme park I saw in Kuala Lumpur was bigger. Next stop in the mall was the full sized Ice Skating and Hockey Rink. It was empty apart from one woman doing twirls. Third was an absolutely massive indoor water park, complete with huge slides and the biggest wave pool I have ever seen. I wished I had brought my shorts with me as I would have gone in for a relaxing afternoon in the water. But instead I continued my look around and came across the full sized replica of The Santa Maria sailing ship, just plonked in a lake in the centre of one of the malls shopping areas – A weird thing to find in s shopping centre, but very impressive. I would have waited for the sea lion show, but it wasn’t due to start for a couple of hours, so I went into the cinema foyer to see the ‘Fire Breathing Dragon’. It was impressive, but had signs up saying it was being serviced and there would be no fire show today. Oh well!

Indoor theme park....

...and a dragon.....

...and a pool...

...and a full size ship - all in a shopping mall!

I headed back into town and had a look around the ground of the impressive legislature building where I nearly shit myself when a massive hare jumped out of the undergrowth and legged it as I passed. I love my engineering stuff, so I then took a slow walk over the 99 year old ‘High Level bridge’, which used to have trains passing over the top of a roadway underneath, but nowadays has just the road, with tourist trams in summer, but is still a cool old bridge with great views over the city and the river down below, in which I could see massive lumps of ice that are floating downstream as they break off and melt in the spring weather. It must have been really cold here as they are huge!

Legislature building

High level bridge

Iceberg, dead ahead (or down below)

Thursday was a travel day. I jumped onto the early afternoon Greyhound after watching a bunch of kids play football in their school playground on my walk into town. I sat for the the four hour to Calgary, listening to two old women chat endlessly across the walkway in the row in front of me. I never get bored listening to old people talk utter bollocks about things they know nothing about. It turns out one of them bought a dog for her daughter when she recovered from Leukaemia (A fact that she expressed so many times I’m surprised she doesn’t have a t-shirt with it emblazoned on front) Anyway, she now has an excuse to go out for a walk when she visits her miracle daughter (To walk the dog) The other woman said something about having a cat, but that was LIKE a dog...FFS. I could hardly contain myself. They also found out that the bloke in front of them – aged about 55 – was from Australia and so doubled up on him, asking him all sorts of questions – Where are you from? Melbourne, he replied. Is that near Sydney? No, he said. I have been to Sydney, said one woman – I haven’t said the next and so it went on and on. The Australian kept quiet and tried to sleep to be woken often by the women about something stupid- ‘How big ARE kangaroos?’’ How does that song go?’ Which one he asked.... Tie the boomerang down!?!?! The old woman replied – Shoot me now!

We arrived in Calgary in the middle of Rush Hour but it was a nice enough day and after spotting a woman driving a car with a coffee in one hand and a dog in the other, I wondered just if there was actually a law against such a thing, like talking on a phone. If there is I want to see it written in black and white!!

I walked to the Hostel, booked in and then went for a look around. Now, in some towns in North America, you fall over fast food joints and bars on every corner – Not in Calgary. I walked for an hour and came across only 3 places to eat:-1. A crap fast food joint that sells crap sandwiches and has crap staff that doesn’t ‘speekee da engleesa’. 2 A Shell garage that was ‘closed briefly’, due to something being wrong with the fuel pumps – but would still not let me in to buy a sandwich. 3 A crap corner joint that was back in the 80’s – the 1880’s. Complete with cowboy behind the counter and a cardboard box for a till. I suspect a shotgun was also within easy reach. But it did sell great sandwiches and cold pop, which went down well after all the walking around. I wonder where the bars, 7/11 and all the fast food shitholes are (After overhearing a conversation at reception, I now think they are on 17street – about a mile away)

Friday and while the rest of the known world are celebrating the day they finish work for the week, I was on my 681st continuous day without even thinking about the ‘W’ word. Today was a fun day....again.

The bus out to The Olympic park was great. Two women got on at the same stop and after eventually paying their fares for themselves, they manoeuvred their prams (They both had kids, one with a dog aboard too) and sat down. The one that looked like a hooker ate her McDonald’s burger before getting off and leaving her garbage behind. The bus driver politely asked her to take it with her at which point she went mental and started effing and blinding at the poor man. She left after giving him a mouthful and threatening to report him – which he told her to do, as last week when she also did it, nothing happened. The 2nd woman, who also looked like a hooker, but minus front teeth, started a small row with the driver on her friends behalf, but had to stop when her kid, who had been screaming for at least 15 minutes, began to make noise again (The kid wasn’t hungry or anything – he was just a poor kid whose mum didn’t give a shit and had no control over him).
As the kids screaming got louder and more often, the driver asked, politely again, if the woman could please try to keep him quiet. The woman then also went mental – telling the bus driver to fuck off a few times before providing me with my quote of the day:-

Driver: Please maam; try to keep your child quiet....
Skaghead hooker woman: You fucking goat cheese! Don’t try to tell anyone I called you a name, I didn't call you a name, I called you a food product. I’m going to get my bike and run you down!

Surely its illegal!?

Hmm, I wondered which way the tower was!

Bus driver and skaghead hooker

Haaahaa, classy, very classy. She eventually got off at the next stop after the driver had stopped the bus and got off to call his boss, or the Samaritans or whoever else he knows who has a gun.
Just behind me was a woman who claimed to be a lawyer and blamed all of this of the poor driver, also claiming that the same thing happened a few weeks ago and the driver then had happily sat the screaming kid on his lap whilst he drove the bus. She also said that this had been good customer service and great for the kid. Really...really!? It also didn’t surprise me that the same ‘lawyer’, then started to go on about how cannabis should be legalise and would calm people down. Fook me, what a half hour that was!!

The rest of the day was also great. I made it to the Calgary Olympic park. Home of the Ski Jump where Eddie Eagle flew and also the bobsleigh run that made the Jamaican bobsleigh team famous for their efforts – both at the 1988 Winter Olympics. 

At turn 8

The view from the start

The view down a ski jump

Trying out the luge start

Jump the bobsleigh run

Jumping the ski jump - ski jump style!!

I walked up the side of the bobsleigh run, even managing to get onto the start line for a jump shot and photos, before wandering aimlessly across the top of the (closed) ski run to the ski jumps. They are silly and massive, but I would love to see someone jump them live. I did manage to get onto the 3rd largest one and sat at the top of the down slope, where the jumpers start their run. Those guys must be crazy. It was a really cool experience to get onto the jump and the bobsleigh run and also a great view over the countryside to The Rockies in the distance. A thoroughly enjoyable and tiring day.

On the bus back.........nothing happened!!

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