Saturday, 29 September 2007

Exploring the city

Calgary isn't as fussy as Toronto. It is pragmatic, it is commercial, and it is whisper-quiet. There is a sense that wintery, dim days are the natural order, and though we are glimpsing a moderate climate free of precipitation, scrubbing the city walls clean would be a waste of time. They would only be smudged again by the inevitable winter.

There are parks, I found some. I retract my earlier statement.

I first thought that these vent treadplate-footprints were the work of a whimsical local government body, but then saw a woman with high heels stepping on them carefully; the grilles are like cattlestops for them.

The city is not entirely without caprice. This horse is made from rusty bands of steel, just around the corner from one of the cinemas which shows independent films.

...but this is a town built on the charred and blasted wastelands of oil sands. It is reluctant to change, conservative. Muldoon would feel at home here.

I am now the proud owner of the crappiest bike in the world. It cost $5 (NZ$7). I dare not clean it; the dirt is the only thing holding the rust together, and without rust, my bike would be nothing. I bought it from a European of indeterminate age and origin. The bike is likewise.

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