Calgary Stampede July 2011

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July 13th 2011
Published: July 13th 2011
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Sat 9 July Formulae 1, Brisbane
Up sparrow fart to go to airport. Dozed most of the way to Brisbane and was 8 degrees. Got my luggage, but Joanne and about 20 others did not have luggage. It came about ½ hour later. Then had few hours until checkin, went for drive and to stopped at shopping centre. Sushi here is only $2.20 per roll, ate one and bought another 5 to take home. Now no fridge, but cold enough to keep food good I reckon. Hopeless internet service so close to airport. Worst night sleep.
Sun 10 July Days Inn Calgary South, Calgary
Up super early and only 4 degree on way to airport for quick checkin and 3 hour wait. 9.5 hour flight was longest of my life with some super turbulence that was probably best I’ve ever had and don’t need again. Of course, just got coffee and was holding it trying not to spill it waving it around the 3 foot square in front of my face. Just like alcohol on a good night though –didn’t spill a drop! Watched a few movies, Limitless, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Unknown, slept through Sucker Punch and Paul. Had Korean meals and Korean fried rice was lovely. Seaweed soup was a bit much. Rice porridge was ok but very sweet and picked carrot type things were good. Shoulder ached all way through first flight and ended up taking some aspirin which settled it.
Then, getting into Seoul, was a bit of a rush to get connection, at least we though. Plane was delayed. Saw Cultural Heritage display on way which was cool. Delay was very well informed, due to late connection, then it changed to getting a new plane. That was a worry. Anyway, about 1.5 hours late we got off. I went to toilet at Incheon which was experience, plastic cover on seat you simply pushed button and it cycled through back of cistern, presumably getting a gel clean and comes back out ready to sit on. Was very slippery though and in wiping lean, slipped off and saved fall with left arm, which killed left shoulder. Then getting on flight, totally arrogant man asking if we were going to listen to chat all day or go through. I advised that it was not polite and I was waiting. He says, this is Asia. I said well I am not going to be rude. Grumble grumble grumble. Flight went quite quick and got a few hours sleep. Didn’t even get to watch movie. Played casino at end of flight and was winning heaps, pity it wasn’t real money.
Anyway – we get into Vancouver really late now and was rushing off plane and saw card with our name. Quick recheck where we were, what we were doing and were we expecting a transfer? Nope, none of the above. Korean Air knew we were connecting and had arranged to get us checked in. How cool is that!?
Still rush rush rush to immigration and queue was more than an hour long. Got a couple of lucky breaks, I say lucky because they were not managed for people needing connections or anything, just lucky. Got luggage and checked in again with a few minutes to recover from the pounding heart (both fitness and worry).
Flight to Calgary was lovely over snow capped mountains and amazing huge railyards and baseball fields everywhere. Caught taxi to hotel and was $41 asked driver about tip because he was great and he said not to worry. Then checked into beautiful room and quick Japanese dinner before planning stampede and going to bed quite early. Oops, not quite early is nearly 11pm now. Must say though – everyone had said how friendly and lovely Canada was and I can’t say I disagree. Everyone is happy to have a chat and be friendly – I like it!
Mon 11 July Days Inn Calgary South, Calgary
Great sleep, woke up early and then struggled at 9am. Quick brekky and managed to get bus to stampede and was there way before 11am but stuff was on and was great to walk around easy. Checked out sideshow and Indian Village where we saw some mounties without their horses. Then watched hypnotist show at Coca Cola stage before big storm was going to come in so left a bit early to go to Enmax Ice Show. Had to go through hall to wait and saw great showbags – the bag itself was awesome and was full of food for only $16. Apparently $100 value, but most of that I probably can’t use in coupons, but probably $30 of food I will eat. Drank couple of drinks to save carrying them around, but the salad dressing and tin of beans I had to lug around all day and might not get to eat, but you know me – I’ll try. Then wandered around to wait for couple of shows and ended up in Canadian military show – got to ride a missile that was saddled up, saw G Wagon, then back for motorcross but was ages away so went back to freestyle soccer with Canadian National champ and North American Champ which was pretty awesome. Had some jalepeno cheese sticks (about 400 gram of cheese) deep fried with jalepeno sauce – the first 2 were nice, the next 2 were a struggle, the last 2 I had to force down my throat else they were sticking to the last ones still stuck there. But still good. Saw motorcross with Taco Bell and the only godson of Evil Kinevil. Then had a lemonade outside Nashville North listening to music before heading to Grandstand for chuckwagon and show. Phew, you can’t tell but I just had a toilet break, I think typing jalepenos made a rush, the cheese obviously had no clogging effect. Poor Joanne copped full story, but laid paper knowing what was coming and was working until the flush had a serious swirling effect that left burnouts in the bowl, then no brush – lucky I only share with my sister  Anyhoo… wow – dodged the storms today, was so lucky, it tried to get us a few times. Then cleared up, but spotted us and tried again. Which brings me to next point of friendly locals again. Chatted to many people about the weather, life, anything really. Saw a guy ringing his phone he had lost, just as girl who had picked it up was coming past us and was heading back to where they saw him to return it. Then chuckwagon races were cool, so was the weather. But Volte show was awesome, circe de solei style but huge and awesome props. Then tried to rain on us again on way home, but managed to get first train which was great. Got home probably 11.30pm but now 01.45am so better get some sleep.
Tue 12 July Days Inn Calgary South, Calgary
Slept well thank god. Struggled to get up though with only few hours sleep. Bit of time this morning before heading off. Straight to working dogs which had biggest queue yet. Was quite good. Then went and squeezed in human cannonball which was ok but quick before quick poutine (Qebec meal of French fries with flavoured sauces and meats and houmouli cheese chunks on it). Then settled in for Rodeo which was great. One poor girl/horse fell in barrel race, but broncs, bulls, calf roping and bulldogging/steer wrestling were good. The best though – was the little tykes in teams of 3 trying to restrain and ride a pony, none succeeded but we had fun laughing watching them try  Back over to freestyle soccer with Eli Freeze and Joga where about 3 times we had to ask people not to stand in front of us. Back over to motorcross again with Evil Kenevil’s godson Keith Sayers, it was just as awesome as first time, then to the marching band finals. Saw the last of line dancing which was ok, but first band stood still, was a bit funny but put me to sleep (not totally the bands fault obviously). Then finally a marching band that marched, what a concept. Knackered by now and only saw two and headed home. Chatted to lady on train all the way home (nothing new over here, dad would never get anything done chatting to people all day 😉 Meant to mention lady at ice show yesterday gave Joanne and I twisslers (raspberry licorice) just because she sat next to us and had too much. Everyone is friendly and lovely – ok, I’ll have to stop saying that I know, but no promises. Stopped at maccas on way home and had thai mini roll which was nice, with my free ice cream and iced coffee for only $1. Bathed and ready for bed for about 4am start tomorrow and full first day of tour. Oh, I must mention the amount of junk I’ve eaten last couple of days, caramel dip, chips, that block of deep fried cheese, I am proud to say the amount of walking we’ve done should outweigh it, or inweigh it. Some funny info on Calgary – is about 1.5 million people, based on oil economy, very organised downtown with streets running North South and Avenues East West. And sign at Vancouver airport just said something along the line of a third of people who have reached age 65 are alive today.

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Calgary motorcross

I think this is Evil Kenevil's godson.

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