Wednesday 15th February, 2006
Well I finally have internet access since arriving in Calgary on Friday. I am staying in a furnished apartment on the edge of the CBD that is only a 5-10 minute walk from the popular parts of town. Calgary is similar in size to Adelaide except it is much more spread out and the CBD is much much bigger due to many oil companies setting up headquarters here. (The province of Alberta has some pretty huge oil reserves similar in size to Saudi Arabia, but it is harder to extract since it is mixed with sand so close to the surface. As a result of the high price of oil Alberta is a pretty wealthy state, and construction can't keep up with the city's expansion.)
Calgary is an hours drive away from the Rockies and sits on the edge of the "praries", which is so flat you could see your dog run for 3 days (or so they tell me). The snow capped Rockies are visible in the distance off to the west and we'll be heading up there as soon as one of the other guys arrives and we get a better car (one of those large gas-guzzling SUVs to really fit in).
One of the city's highlights is the Calgary Tower, which is like Centrepoint but only 190m high. Part of the floor is made of glass so you can see straight down to the pavement below. The majority of people there would only peer over the edge but not stand on the glass. I can confirm that it is safe enough to jump on, however.
We've been lucky with the weather too. The day we arrived it was dry and 0 degrees but over the weekend a weather pattern called the chinook came through. This is basically a warm air current from the Pacific that gives above average temperatures for a few days. It was 8 degrees on Saturday and 12 degrees on Sunday which is (apparantly) typical spring time weather. Warm enough for at least one local to walk through town in short sleeves with an ice cream. Currently it is -11 degrees and today we had the first sign of very light snow, or "flurries" as it is called. Tomorrow morning will be -15 and it is expected that temperatures in parts may drop to -20 (ambient) in the next few days. And this is one of their warmest winters on record! Bring on summer....quickly!