Alberta Impressions

The first thing that happened when I woke up on Thursday was that it became clear that I had acquired a cold. A slight fever, sneezing, and nasal congestion had all made themselves known. So before I could even head out to interview the fine folks at Highwood distillery, I had to get myself drugged up.

So any impressions of Calgary have been produced under the influence. You have been warned.

Every time I head to Canada, I feel as if I’m visiting my better-behaved, over-achieving relatives. Whereas America feels like one of those families where there’s an excessive amount of shouting at the dinner table and fighting over even the most irrelevant of slights, Canada feels like the family where they keep their house tidy and the shouting to a minimum. Every time I leave Canada, my eyes tear up as a look at the border from the back window, wondering if I’ve been adopted by America and Canada are my real parents.

And then I head back to my blog, and bitch about the most irrelevant of slights, and I realize that yes, I am an American. Damn it. If only we had better roads in America, it would make my life that much more bearable. It’s too bad we’re deathly afraid of taxes.

The thought that keeps coming through my mind is that this area of Canada is their version of Texas, albeit with better views, better road, better weather (I like snow), less evangelicals, less insane politicians, and less of an air of misguided superiority. If Texas were more like Alberta, I’d have no problem in visiting the Lone Star state.

There are ranches everywhere. Prairies literally go as far as the eye can see, as long as you look towards the east. To the west the Rockies look as if their are protecting the city of Calgary from the barbaric hordes of British Columbia.

And while I haven’t had the chance to explore the city of Calgary (I spent the day about 30 miles south), I will say that they have one selling point over the other provinces in Canada – The retail liquor trade has been privatized. As a point of
comparison, British Columbia (whose retail liquor industry is regulated) has 3,500 different products available to consumers. Alberta has 15,000 products available.

Yay, Alberta!

Side note – I’ve found two items that are indispensable to travel. One is a good GPS system in the rental car. This gave me one less thing to worry about in regards to finding addresses in unfamiliar places. Second is Tylenol Cold Medicine. Which I’m about to take once again as I go out to explore Calgary proper.


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