Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Passport to Edmonton

Edmonton skyline.
A few months ago I was dusting off the passport but life has a strange way of derailing plans.  So while the passport simmers it was a trip over the border - provincial that is.  Edmonton, Alberta is not exactly international travel but it's a beautiful city to visit despite unseasonably cold weather, that I'll say I griped about - a lot.  

My friend claims no responsibility?
The fire exit that started it all.
If you want to really see a place sight see a little outside the norm.  So we did.  First off there was the fire exit - always know your way outside the hotel in case of emergency.  However, note to self, if there's a sensor box on the top of the door and no sign - don't open the door unless there's a fire.  Unfortunately, I opened the door.  So with a siren wailing, I had to admit my error to the hotel concierge.
A bus window view of things.

With a bad start behind us it was off to the bus stop.  I rarely travel by bus but my friend insisted that it was the way to go.  Unfortunately on Saturday the buses only run every half hour.  We found that out as our toes began to curl trying to preserve what heat there was left in our feet.

The bus is a whole other world and you're only getting a brief glimpse.  Who is the young man that keeps hiding behind the hood of his hoodie?  Who is the older woman who is chatting up the young man with the heavy accent?  Are they lovers or...   Then there's the girl with the sad eyes and the bleached blonde hair with the heavy swathe of blue cutting across one side - what's her story?  Overhead are the signs warning against bad behavior on the buses.  I glance warily around the bus for the culprit that may have instigated such persistent warnings - for the signs are everywhere.  But the ride turned out uneventful.  Instead we soon discovered that like foreign travel, even when English is the first language of everyone involved, there can be communication break down.  This time it meant a six block walk in the cold.
Musicians, Edmonton Farmers Market
Edmonton's Farmers Market

It was then that we discovered a real find - a farmers market.  Again, not something I'd usually tour while in Edmonton.  I'm glad we did.  It was fantastic.   A group of musicians greeted us at the entry with a variety of warm and vibrant down-home music.  They set the tone for the visit.  We nibbled our way through the displays that ranged from the usual vegetables and meats to homemade cotton candy and designer hats, while we listened to lively music and chatted with local merchants. 

Edmonton was cold!!
By the time we reached the West Edmonton Mall it was near the end of the day and the beginning of sore feet.  As a result, I walked out of a store I have mentioned more times then my hubbie wants to remember with no bags in hand.  How could I go there and buy nothing after all that hype, he'll ask later - I'm sure of it.  But a cold beer and a warm Irish Pub just seemed like a nicer ending to a busy day than one more shopping bag.  And it was only one more bus ride away!

There's a world out there, outside the norm.  And this weekend I found it.  As a seatmate said on the return flight, "it was a change from what we were used to".  By this she referred to emigrating from the UK and coming to Canada.  Talk about stepping out of your comfort zone!  A trip to the West Edmonton Mall hardly seems worth mentioning.  But in the end it all makes for a good story - big or small a story is just a step outside the norm.



Leigh Russell said...

A change of scene can be really inspiring. I love your brief snapshots of people on the bus.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Leigh - In this case the bus ride alone was inspiring. Where I live people don't ride the bus like in Edmonton.