Monday, February 11, 2008

Dear Calgary:

After visiting you again on the fly for a few days last week, I have to say that I am wholly glad we broke up when I moved to the island a year and some ago. The long distance thing wouldn't have worked very well, and I have to say that I just can't deal with many of the things that go hand-in-hand with living together.

The floor mats in stores that are soaking wet with the snowy sludge of a thousand other people's dirty shoes? I don't miss those mats at all, and my pant hems also appreciate not getting doused anymore (although it is much more rainy here in Victoria than it ever will be in Calgary).

Crawling through traffic in a sea of Hummers and SUVs, spending hours on the Deerfoot just to get from Marty's parent's place to see my own family on the other side of town? I don't miss that, either.

Brown grass, salty roads, gravel and ice caked together where the adventurous dare to ride their bikes on the daily commute, so many people in a hurry all the time, biting wind that pierces through even the thickest of fleece/merino wool outfits, and temperatures that routinely change 30 or 40 degrees overnight (for better or for worse)-- I'm glad to be done with it all. Yes, Calgary, it was wise of us to end our long term relationship.

Our hot new van against the splendid (and green!) surroundings on the island

Our hot new van looking dirty and cold in the freezing conditions of Calgary. Notice the Traffic-esque cinematography of the blue hues. Nasty.

It's not all doom and gloom, though, Calgary-- although I have my issues, I am not so bitter an ex that all I can muster up is an unequivocal slam of you. Indeed, there are things I cherish about you and even miss about you. In no particular order (and not counting my family and friends-- those are just too obvious), these include:

Great falafels. Why oh why, in the restaurant capital of Canada, can I not seem to find a good, even a decent, falafel? There are some paltry imitations here in Victoria, but I have yet to stumble across anything that wins me over. Calgary, you still reign king in the falafel department.

Big skies. I always thought it was cliche and cowboyish to comment on the grandeur of prairie skies, but last Thursday, when the sky was mostly clear and the temperature was pleasantly mild, I saw more sky than I had seen in many months on the island. It was beautiful.

The MEC store. Two glorious levels of outdoor gear! Ach, Calgary-- you've left me pining for everything from hiking socks to full on kayaks!

Kananaskis. So close and so chock full of adventure! Also included in this category: a wide selection of detailed and accurate topographical maps of hiking trails. Why is there no such thing here on the island? Or random 'estimated distances' for island hikes? It doesn't help when the '4 km' hike ends up taking 4 whole hours! How are we supposed to plan our day trips that way??

The Farmer's Market at Currie Barracks. We have plenty of farmer's markets here in Vic, but nothing compares to the indoor goodness of the Calgary market and the sweetness of Lund's organic carrots.

Various restaurants: The Coup, Cadence, Diner Deluxe, Cedar's Deli, and Infusion restaurant out in Bragg Creek. Though I have to say, the sushi restaurants here in Victoria kick some serious ass, and the Blue Nile Ethiopian restaurant here gives our old favourite, Marathon, some stiff competition.

Yes, Calgary, you are complex and I feel love and non-love for you at the same time. Mostly, I love how you prepared me to fully appreciate the beautiful place I live now.


Rycrafty said...

There's a MEC in Victoria, and I've never been in there, but I know it is a pretty big building...

I can't wait to get back to the coast, where there's green, and the weather is so much calmer. I'm looking forward to rain!

dana said...

Yeah, but the MEC here in Vic is only one floor, and everything is crammed. Of course I still shop there, but I was mighty impressed to go back to the sprawling Calgary version!

When are you coming back to the coast?

Rose Fluxes said...

Our car is still "self-cleaning" from the last highway trip, just in time for our next trip.

Sing it sistah though I was apparently missing out as I have no experience with your Favourite Things Calgary list, save Kan.

carolyn said...

You are too funny! BTW I went to the coup the other day...totally thought of you. Next time you come back and spend more time in Cal..we will go the coup ok? for ol' times...

Mary said...

You'd love Vancouver then... The MEC there is 2 floors and HUUUUGE (I was a bit disappointed by the size of the one in Victoria too, but I guess it's big enough for a smaller city...) And the restaurants in Vancouver are the best. Victoria just doesn't compare at all. However, I don't miss living in the city after being here for 5+ years. I can't stand the traffic there and everyone always seems to be so rushed to get from point A to B.

dana said...

I think Victoria is a nice compromise... not too cold and crazy like Calgary, but not too big and bustling like Vancouver, either. And I can manage with the MEC here. And the restaurants for the most part. Victorians: do you know of any good falafel places here?

karen said...

well moan all you want, we miss miss you and your complainy.