A lot of American oil investment means Edmonton, Alberta Canada looks a lot like Milwaukee, but with the world's largest mall. The cab driver who picked us up at the airport kept reading signs along both sides of the road and asking us if we were familiar with each business we passed. You guys got Tim Horton's? He got me on that one but a few seconds later I found out Tom Horton's is owned by Wendy's.
All the oil money means Edmonton is one of the few Canadian provinces with a surplus of tax dollars. Right now the government is asking citizens what to do with the money. New roads? Schools? Hospitals? After a conversation I had with one of the locals today I'm guessing most people here in Edmonton will ask for their own individual pieces of the action in the form of a government check.
Today my co-workers and I went ice skating at the giant mall. I didn't have a choice, really. I'm in Canada. There's no way I could have avoided strapping on some rental skates. See, I don't know how to skate but up here I felt strongly I'd be able to shoot across the ice like I was born with blades on my feet.
The soles of my feet were on fire. I was having fun trying to glide around on the ice, but the pain was a lot to deal with. I switched to a larger size of skates but that made me feel unstable. The point is, there was no magical Canadian skating fairy sprinkling skating glitter on my head. I was a spaz. I didn't fall though.
A group of Asian girls with thick accents were on the ice with me. "Hi. Hi. Hi! It's her birthuday today. It's her birthuday!" they said to me as they pointed to a wilting girl in the middle of the crowd. "Happy birthday," I said as I struggled not to fall on my ass. They all giggled in what had to be mock embarrassment. My pants had not just fallen down around my ankles so I can't imagine why they'd laugh like that unless they were faking it.
The mall also provided me with enough Hello Kitty candy to put Allie into a Hello Hyperglycemic coma. I found the treats at one of the most incredible Asian markets I've ever seen (I love Asian markets). Did you know Heinz made banana ketchup? I didn't. How cool is that? Disgusting, but cool.
Speaking of bananas, we found two, new, yellow Lamborghinis parked in front of our hotel this evening. I guess this hotel is quite the spot. "That's where the Stones stay when they're in town," one person said to me this afternoon upon learning where I'm staying. I'm pretty sure I'm not in Keith Richard's old room right now, but if I find a syringe under the mattress I'll let you know.
Two to go, Deb.