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August 3rd 2012
Published: August 16th 2012
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Belly dancers
3-4th August ’12 Calgary, Alberta

Oh dear it wasn’t easy to get up this morning! I dragged myself to the car and then we set off on the drive. We had a lunch stop and I still didn’t feel human. We reached Calgary and then it was a case of using the sat nav to help us navigate through all the busy city streets. We found the hotel quite easily and luckily it had an underground parking area as there was nowhere to park on the streets here.

We checked in to the Ramada Hotel and were given our key card, went up to the 4th floor, opened the door and walked straight in on a girl sat on her bed! Back down to reception and they checked and gave us a new room key, the girl did apologise but the manager told her to again. Howard said I think you should also apologise to the people in the room!

At the same time another man was creating hell in the reception as he and his wife hadn’t been able to get out of their room! A maintenance man had, had to be dispatched to let them out and he was demanding a new room. He had a valid point regarding what would have happened if there had been a fire and kept saying (in a German accent)’ vat kind of place are you people running!’. Not an auspicious start to our stay!

Feeling tired but back in the real world we walked out to find some food and we walked and we walked. The only places we found were really expensive and very far apart. Eventually we just gave in and ate in an Irish Bar. The drinks were mega expensive, so not a good start to the night. We only found 2 real ‘pubs’ but at £12 for 2 beers (not even full pints) and the place being so quiet it was hard to find the enthusiasm to carry on. In the end we just called it quits and went back to the hotel. So we missed tonight’s gig but after such a great time last night we weren’t too bothered. It was also going to cost a lot more to get into the gig and the drinks’ prices are just crazy here!

The next day we went to explore the city. Calgary is

Sitting Eagle
an unusual place, clearly designed to cope with the extreme winters. There are special enclosed walkways which say +15 and these join the shopping malls and office buildings in a network that can get you right around downtown without going outside. This is ingenious but consequently you walk street after street with nothing much on it except large building fronts.

We did find Stephen Winston Avenue which was further along our road and was quite a nice area, with trees and flower baskets lining the street. There were also a few pavement pub patios here and entertainment was provided by a group of belly dancers, who were really good.

We went into one of the large malls and found a food court for lunch and then walked up 8 blocks to the Au Claire Market. This was an interesting place in a large building with a collection of unusual shops. There were a lot of empty shop units though which gave the place rather a sad feeling and took away the atmosphere. It was a shame as it was a nice area right next to the park with a cheaper eating place – The Spaghetti House next to

Olympics being shown
it. We walked back to this later that night and couldn’t get in as it was full with a waiting list (not surprising given the general restaurant prices), so we ended up in bloody McDonalds!

Calgary is just a strange place, for a big city at the weekend there were just so few people around, it’s really odd! I bet it’s different when the Stampede is on!

My opinion of the hotel staff went down even further when I rang reception to ask the price of ringing Seattle. I got a very snotty guy who went on about how could he be expected to know when he didn’t know how long I would be on for, when I pointed out I just wanted to know the charge per minute he just said I can’t tell you. Eventually he told me to ring the operator, which I tried to do and just got him again, he was very snarky and supercilious with me so I just hung up – not impressed! However the room is very nice and I didn’t bother making the phone call.

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A nice idea

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