Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Canada Vacation

Canada Vacation

The vacation began after the wedding of Ninong A on Saturday Nov 4. “A little rushed because of the hectic schedule. But, we actually managed to wake up on time to leave for the airport. Travelling with us were the two blue Samsonite suitcases which were wedding gifts, the Nikon D70s camera, the two newest his and hers bowling balls, and two computers. The bowling balls went into its own separate bag because of the weight restrictions. If placed inside the Samsonite, the luggage exceeded the 50 pound weight limit.

The first stop was at Seattle through Alaska Airlines. It’s a beautiful plane, but their tickets are a tad expensive. On the plane, two guys who weighed over 300 lbs sat next to each other. That was a difficult and painful experience to observe. The ride was uneventful. At Seattle, I marveled at the glass enclosure. Surely, technology is a wonderful thing. It allowed people to create great structures like airports made of steel and glass. We ended up winetasting at an airport store. It was not bad. Either my tastebuds are maturing or I was hallucinating. But I could taste what the winenotes said.

We got to Edmonton using Horizon Airlines. Thankfully, the SO booked a jetplane instead of a propeller plane. WE got to the West Edmonton Mall at about 7 o’clock. The roads were icy and the shuttle driver was driving slowly. We managed to geet to the opening reception for the SO’s conference. It was at the waterpark. Pretty nice enclosure that contained a very big beach. There were waterslides and bungee jumping. We had dinner with two delegates, one from UC Davis and another from Texas.

We had to order room service on Sunday night. I ordered fried chicken and French fries while the SO got spinach artichoke dip. Tip. Don’t order the dip.

Monday morning, I managed to wake up late. But I still went for a walk. It took me about 1.5 hours to walk around. The mall was huge. The winter light lit up the mall in the morning. By the time I walked at 11 oclock, the mall already had people walking around and working. I was relieve to see an Asian store where they sold bread, Chinese food and Asian food. For the last week, I have been eating peanut butter and jam sandwiches.

The room that we stayed at was a smoking room. It was on the Hollywood floor, which meant black walls and mirrors all around. The room had a Jacuzzi. When we first entered, the temperature was 25 deg Celcius. I had to adjust the temp lower because it was too warm. I also had to buy Febreeze to get the smoke smell out. I tell you, Febreeze works like magic. The smoke smell was decreased substantially. Even four days later, the smoke smell is not as strong.

While the SO was out, I was on my own. Monday, I basically walked around the mall and was taking photos. I saw a class of figure skating at the ice rink. Yup, they have ice rink in the mall. The figure skaters skated for nearly three hours as they practiced their skills. Pretty dedicated.

For dinner, we met up with other conference attendees. It was a large group of about 12 that went to a standard steak place. We ended up splitting into two groups. Luckily enough, I was with the Berkeley contingent who were fun. I had to order the whole rack of ribs, which I am paying for right now through my gout pains. But, I’m on vacation! Later on, we went to a hotel room where one of the attendees mixed vodka with red bull. It was pretty good. The SO and her office mates called up their boss. I ended up talking to him.

Tuesday, I woke up really late. That was the day the SO gave her presentation. I had to check up on a syllabus for a class I am teaching at a city college. I tell you, I missed teaching! It was awesome. In the afternoon, off to bowling. Hehehe. I had to practice STONES. That’s what they call it besides ten pin bowling.

Tuesday evening, off to Whyte Avenue. The same folks who went to the Moxie’s Grill went on Tuesday. Another attendee wanted to go, but she did not have a jacket. It was a goood thing because it ended up snowing later on. Dinner was at an Italian restaurant. The folks were looking for a karaoke bar. However, we basically did a pub crawl. First up was an Irish bar called Filthy MacNasty. Apparently, they did not know what a carbomb was. It was supposed to be a pint of guiness with Jameson whisky. The bartender gave a few ounces of guiness.

Next bar was at Hudsons which is on Gateway and Whyte. Pretty nice restaurant / bar. I ordered diet coke since we were going to walk to the karaoke bar Hudson’s on the campus of Univ of Alberta.

Karaoke was okay. Not great. The people in the bar were not that supportive and they sang unfamiliar songs. The group ended up sitting with some college students. I tried to speak and bullshit with them. They ended up leaving. I was rather disappointed at myself. I could not make them comfortable. The SO was supportive. After all, I am trying.

Later on, it began snowing as we were going home. Well, this was not a normal storm. Huge snowflakes were falling. I was so happy to get home that I gave the taxi a big tip. The snow usually stops taxis from working once it was 2 am.

Wednesday, I ended up walking again after waking up late. I managed to have lunch with the SO at Europa Café. Buffet. The SO went to tour the campus of Univ of Alberta, while I just sat around and bummed around the mall. I slept for two hours in the afternoon because my stomach was too full.

Later that evening, we ended up going to dinner at Tony Roma’s. Not a bad restaurant. I got the prime rib. Luckily enough, it was not very salty.

Thursday was the first day without the conference. I woke up with sun peeking through the sky. It was the first time I had seen the sun since Oakland. I stood up to take a photograph. I also went for my morning walk or constitutional. One time around the mall this time.

We tried to go to lunch, but I ended up falling asleep waiting for the SO to leave. That was not good as we were delayed two hours. WE at at Zeller’s Diner. I ordered a two pattie burger while the SO got a salmon burger.

Then off to the Canadian Rodeo Finals we went. Awesome rodeo. I was thinking of riding a bull, but after seeing them do it, I guess I can just remain a fan. I tried to take photos, but I had to check in my camera.

That’s the quick version of our vacation. Two more days and we will be back home.

Fantasyland Hotel

The hotel has themes on each floor. We are staying at the Hollywood theme floor. The corridors have black fluorescent lights, neons with the Hollywood sign, and black tiles. It’s on the twelfth floor, the penthouse of the hotel. Inside, there is a kingsize bed, a huge cabinet, and two lounge chairs. The first thing that struck me was the smell of the room. Smoker’s room. I was able to withstand it for about one night. But there was so much smell that I basically bought Febreeze to get rid fo the smell. Even buying the febreeze was a struggle. First, where to buy it. Could not see it in the Asian store. Then, went to Zeller’s and this place was huge. Finally found the febreeze in the detergent side.

The SO had officeworkers staying at a Polynesian theme. The Jacuzzi in that room came from faux rocks ala waterfall. The room looked a little tacky. Someone said that the room was for those with syotas. I can’t imagine a fantasy occurring in that room unless you have the complete outfit.

We also managed to go to the Rome themed floor. It turns out that some rooms are decorated and some are not. In one decorated room, the bed was circular.

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