domenica 18 ottobre 2009

A Canadian Experience

October from 12th to 16th 2009

“What do I know about Canada?” I'm wondering while the plane is landing in Montreal. More or less those few things:
1.its Capital city is ... Toronto. No no, Ottawa; is a very big and cold country;
3.Its flag is red with a leaf in the middle (and I must buy one for my nephew);
4.Canadian people love hockey...
That's all!

First approach
So you can imagine I have no idea about what to do, see or look for in this unexpected trip to another American Country.
I have been invited to Calgary, in the South-West of Canada, in the region named Alberta, where I will have to spend long time alone.
An amazing city in a night view, but quite sad by the day. Very focused on the job, with its skyscrapers and nobody in the street, specially after the first snow. Actually, it fall just during our first night in Canada, giving us a white surprise in the morning. It was a kind of matching with my expectations about the nation (cold-white...), helping me to figure out another interesting thing about the country: there are a lot of accident when the first snow falls, quite if as everybody has forgotten how to drive in snow! Aren't they prepared?

Two Canadian things
So, Calgary is still a closed book because of the distance of the hotel from down town, except for a day long visit to the Chinook Commercial Center, searching for a pair of boots. (Now I give a more Canadian impression in the street, with my less expensive than an original HUGG pair of boots!)
I begin to experience with something quite famous about Canadian people (except for me!): their kindness. Everybody is giving me directions and advice, and I easily find a real and discounted Canadian flag for Toti.
And the supermarket experience taught me that the leaf on it is a maple leaf, the official Canadian plant. With the maple sap they make the very famous Maple Syrup we see in any American movie, on waffles, french toasts, or pancakes, that now I'm really enjoying for breakfast. Why does Ana, a 9 years old living in United States, know that this syrup is Canadian and I do not?

Banff and the Lake Louise
Every one of us have had a big poster of some place with that kind of landscape of incredible beauty, a spectacular scenario usually portraying a lake in the middle of high snowed mountains...well, it could be Canada. It surely looks like Lake Louise, in the Banff and Jasper National Park, something that can take your breath away...a must to see, without the frustration of the crowd that overrun this star location in the high season. It is able to convey the spiritual solace that only a great natural show, enjoyed almost in solitude, can offer. A unique preserved and protected World-Heritage Site with very big mountains reflecting themselves in an incredible turquoise water, so clear and so blue at the same time...
All that close to the city of Banff, the Canadian Cortina, a small alpine village, very touristy, but that can not grow more because it has been incorporated in the territory of the park. Such respect for nature and the constant effort to be green reflect another feature of Canadian people, from whom we have a lot to learn.
Banff for sure offers a very good picture of some of the other characteristics:kindness (In a shop: “Don't buy the batteries here because they are expensive, please go to the front shop, they will cost you half the price!”. In the car, looking at the map, a pick-up truck stops and a blond boy with long hair asks us if we need any help...); multiculturalism(everything you can buy at the shops is made all over the world, except Canada!); open minded (condom vendors in the restrooms!).

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