Banff. Such a phenomenal place! Even though I was hell bent against coming & settling here (or whistler or anywhere where all the Aussies flock) I now realise why all the Australians and other internationals and tourists make there way to this place - it's amazing!The hub of the Canadian Rockies, Banff is a small alpine town nestled in the mountains, with the Bow River flowing through the centre & a fun place to explore, party & meet people.
Upon getting my waterslide attendant job at Douglas Fir Resort, I moved all my stuff (a backpack & a tent) down to my new staff accommodation on Muskrat St... which is parallel to Otter St & Buffalo St & cuts through Caribou St, Wolf St and Moose St...oh it's not too far from Squirrel St and Bear St either! HAHA... all the streets have animal names and if you can't tell I find it hilarious. The staff accommodation isn't too shabby. I shared a room with an english girl Heather and lived with two other guys Christian and Marius, from Chile & Germany, respectively. it's been good fun living there...both Heather & Christian stick to themselves quite alot but Marius is
a lovely, chatty guy. Downstairs there are a pile of other people who we work with as well. Tegan & Alison & Ashlee are a couple of sweet Aussie chicks; and Risse our token Canadian!
In the way of finding my feet in Banff and trying to branch out and meet people in the town, I have been throwing myself into all kinds of community events! I started going along to a free pasta night they have every Wednesday here. It's pretty sweet, lots of young people head there so its a good place just to hang out and save a couple of bucks. I decided to start volunteering there so that I could get involved, which just meant scooping pasta into people's bowls but it is all about just meeting people & networking, right? The organiser Christine is a lovely lady & some how we got chatting about this dragon boating festival which was coming to Banff a couple of weeks from then. I'm not sure exactly how it ended up happening but next thing I know I was saying yes to joining a dragon boating team, even though I had never done it before and could only
go to one practice before the competition!!!! haha!!!
The Banff National Dragon Boating Festival, as it was official called, turned out to be such a laugh! I was part of the Elk & Oarsman team (or the Headless Dragons as we like to call ourselves) and we were a bunch of mis-fits. Where most other teams (there were 30-40 odd) took their dragon boating rather seriously, with sponsor shirts & traveling from long and far to be there, we were a team of young, inexperienced & loud dragon boaters. We threw together some oversized left over pubcrawl t-shirts, so at least we all matched, but we still looked a little rough around the edges. Day 1 we came 2nd in 200 metre sprint and 3rd in the 500 metres. Our competitive sides pulled through with the goods, so this meant we were in a pretty good standing for the finals the next day. After a few pointers on our start from a professional we met, we were all pumped and super keen for our first race of day 2. The semi-final. We gave it all we had, and despite some damn experienced teams on either side of us we
ended up winning! We were so stoked & ready to dominate our final as we had a good chance of medalling. However man with a little power & a uniform decided to change all this....10 minutes before our final we had a visit from the Park Warden... he wasn't impressed we were drinking beers (illegal to have open alcohol in national parks and in public in general). He strolled on over to the festival organiser (who was completely aware that MOST teams were sipping on beers between races!!) who then came over to tell us we couldn't race, that we were disqualified & that we had to pack up and leave the festival immediately! The park warden then went on to give our team leader a fine for drinking in public! We were not happy....a walk of shame awaited us and we didn't even get to race! We were happy to take on the fine but were a bit upset that we couldn't race. We were in it to win it now but our chance has now slipped between our fingers. It turns out there was another team from Banff who also got disqualified which I'm not gonna lie made
me feel a little better inside. All in all though, I have a new found love for dragon boating! So. Much. Fun.
I've also been doing a bit of babysitting on the side which has turned out to be rather good money! I get paid more per hour doing this than my job at the waterslides and you also get tips! The other night i was looking after an 8 months old, who went to sleep 2 hours after I got there. So I just stretched out in the hotel room, watched TV & walked home with a 20 buck tip in my hand... a pretty easy days work.
Other than that I have filled my time with exploring more of Banff; familiarising myself with the many pubs & clubs; working 40 hours a week; and playing host to few visitors. Erica came to visit for a few days which was awesome! when she was here 2 aussie mates, Stuart & Tom, from Wollongong were also passing through. They all ended up crashing in my staff accommodation (which could have led to me getting kicked out & fired but luckily my housemates are awesome). We had some good
times climbing sulphur mountain, canoeing, exploring the Fairmont Hotel & having some epic nights out on the town. These nights involved far to much free popcorn, silent discos, loud aussies & some serious hangovers. So glad they all came by as I was able to show them that Banff is an awesome place to be!
I have been working at Douglas Fir for about a month now & put in my resignation last week... it has been a great job to get me settled in Banff and I have met some fabulous people through work but I am over working at pools to be honest. Ever since working there I have had sore eyes, hayfever & a blocked nose as well so I had to get out of there just so I can start getting on top of my health again! I have a job interview today so hopefully it won't be long between jobs. It's hard enough getting by on the terrible pay when I work 40 hours a week, so I literally can't afford to be jobless for too long. Alot of people are leaving Banff after the summer season & the winter folk haven't quite arrived
yet, so it's a good time to be here looking for work and also a room to stay. I just moved in with my Swedish friend Hilda to a house with 7 other people! It is a pretty awesome place (despite smelling like smoke!) and I have my own big room and bathroom! I haven't met everybody I live with yet but the ones I have seem pretty cool so it should work out well :) I am meeting more and more people in this place and the faces look more familiar as I roam the streets. It's nice to be settled in a place again & to start feeling slightly at home. I think I will stick it out here for the ski season if all goes to plan so I guess you could say Banff is my home for the next 6 months at least! it sounds strange to say it!
I'm heading back to Edmonton on friday to catch up with mates. My friend Tegan is coming along as well so it will be fun to show her around and to see everyone again! It seems like there is a lot happening there this weekend so
i think it is going to be a pretty crazy time! We might drive home through Jasper & along the icefields parkway back to Banff. Supposedly it is one of the most amazing drives around so that will be a good thing to do and may offer us an opportunity to do a bit more hiking and camping before the summer is completely over!
Weather wise it is getting cold here! The mountains have a slight dusting of snow on them now and wearing my thongs (flip-flops for those non aussies) in the morning to work is now proving very cold on my little toes! I say bring on the snow...let it pour, let it bucket. powder, powder, POWDER....come on!!!!
LOVE YOU ALL & miss you all.
I have definitely began having small pockets of home sickness... but I am having such a ridiculously great time that it never seems to last too long! which is good :)
Muchos love, Annicka
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