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Wanderlust cured’s Travel Diary

Monday, 25 May 2009

Location: Edmonton, Canada

MapThree stunning sunsets.

Last week I was shown a new trail called the G8, the trail head begins about a 2 minute ride from my home. After about 30 minutes of riding mainly uphill (and a few walks with the bike up the steeper/rockier parts) dodging over trees roots and sliding the back tyre on rocks the lovely, long, winding decent back down was awesome. Manicured trails zig zagged their way down the right bench, I even overtook someone which may be an indication that my skills are improving (or that she was on a trail which probably was too technical for her). Voices all around bellowed through the bush as the humans warn the bears of their location in hope not to have any bear hugs on their ride. Im starting to realise why Canmore hosts, and has hosted, some of the biggest mountain bike events in the world...these trails are something else, and I feel really spoilt to have the main ones minutes from where I live.

After an early minute from work on Friday I was collected to head to Edmonton for a weekend with friends. Leaving the mountains again had some portion of nostalgia as I think of the time when I will have to leave here for good, but this time I was excited to be seeing new things and places. Rural pastures, cows, horses, ploughed fields, barns and the flatest land I have seen in awhile lined the Hwy on the 4 hour drive. I could have been so many places in Australia, with the sunshine beating down, 20 degree tempretures and things looking so similar to home. One thing about being away from the mountains is the sunsets over the land, that orange globe slipping down behind the horizon. I took many pictures and will post them under Weekend in Edmonton for your viewing pleasure.

Arrival in West Edmonton to a backyard fire and a new game the locals call "Beersbie" which is two sticks up either end of an area about half the size of a cricket pitch, an empty beer bottle atop each stick with two people standing behind. The aim is to try to throw a frisbee and knock the other teams beer bottle off and if that happens the other end has to catch the beer bottle. If you drop it or the other team gets the beer off with the frisbee - you drink! The boys had been going since early afternoon, so by 1am it was bedtime for me - they continued inside playing poker until 5:30am!

Saturday morning had me all excited, with a start of bagels with eggs, cheese and tomato - which isnt the main reason for my excitement, more that I was heading to the Worlds Biggest Mall for the day! I had heard of this mall when I started thinking of heading to Canada back in Grade 9 many (many) years ago now, and here it was! In short - 5 acre waterpark, 2 levels, many kms of walking to take in all of the shopping, theme park with its own 'killer' rollercoaster, sea lion show, marine park, ice skating rink...and probably more which I have failed to mention. Oh and what Mall isnt complete without its own pirate ship and fire breathing dragon!!
I walked up to the rollercoaster to take a look and two young guys came to me dressed in what looked like running gear and said part of our challenge (they were competing in the city chase) was to take a stanger on the rollercoaster and that meant I could go on for free - what sane person wouldnt resist? I think the fact that I barely had enough time to take in the terrified screams, see that there were 3 loops of death and the noise of the wheels screeching along the metal track meant that I took them up on the opportunity. It was fun and the classic photo I posted up proved just that!

After 7 hours of shopping for western gear for my new job, bathers - or in Canada bathing suit or bikini, clothes, eating chocolate/banada/custard and stawberry crepes (with a little whipped cream for good measure) and baskin and robbins (damn Tasmania for not having one of these), watching the sea lion show and just generally taking in the Mall it was definately home time - my feet were killing me! Who's to say that shopping isnt tough!

A quick call to my lovely hosts for the weekend had us making dinner plans at the local Joey's for a deluxe dining experience. Once I got over that a glass of wine cost me $15 I thoroughly enjoyed my maple salmon with crispy potato mash and asparagus and washed it down with made to order apple pie with maple icecream. A friend as he tried to take the last few bites of his chocolate filled souffle leaned back, perspiration beading his forehead and said 'im having hot and cold flushes, I dont think I can eat anymore' hahaha. The night was finished off as we walked out into the car park and a couple...how shall i say this..."making babies" in their 4x4truck with even an elderly couple getting in their car beside them, looking right into the window, did not stop the car shake. Hrm is all I can say. Not classy.

Oh also, one thing to take from my experience, Canker in Canada is not a ear soreness for cats and dogs like it is in Australia, its a mouth ulcer...awkward.

Sunday was my day of rest and I took a stroll along the side of the lake, taking in all the gorgeous bird life of Alberta, the geese keeping an eye on me as they protected their fluffly yellow offspring. It was time to say goodbye with my friends and to pick up the boat for a summer on the lakes wakeboarding and fishing. A stop at an acreage in Edmonton to walk through the pines, have a lovely lunch in the sunshine and talk for hours about the current economic, social and environmental position of the world it was back on the road for the 4 hours home. A quick stop by Walmart, chatting for the ride home and another stunning sunset later it was time to unload all of my purchases and get an early night for the work day tomorrow.

I now have 1 full working day at the law firm left and I then start my new post horse guiding! I try to condense my excitement somewhat, but I am very very stoked to be doing this. I drove past the ranch last night and it was the first time I had seen my new work mates in their paddock after coming back to the Rockies after Winter and it made my imagination run wild at what I about to embark upon. Im counting my lucky stars...believe me!

Sending my love back to OZ and thinking of you all heading into Winter as I head into Summer. X R.J