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Calgary Stampede & Beyond!

CANADA | Tuesday, 3 July 2007 | Views [1137]

Heya Patriots,

10 weeks of school holidays started for me with a monster of a day on Canada's National day. Rino, Panos and I headed to the horse races to meet up with Micky Peddler and a few other crew. The races were very different in terms of betting and very low key compared to the Perth Cup & Railway Stakes style race days but the booze was cheap and an awesome day was had, even though none of us came close to having a win. We missioned into town afterwards to keep boozing, hitting Granville Street and getting messy. We ended up with Nat, Jax and others in Doolins doing shots and trying to sing a different national anthem (Canadians don't know the words anymore than aussies do!!!).

The next day feeling seedy, we hit the Grouse Grind, a 2 km hike up Grouse Mountain to world class views of Vancouver. Even though Paps whinged the whole way up, the views were more than worth it. The real holiday started the next day with a road trip to Calgary Stampede. We hired a PT Cruiser and packed bucketloads of gear and 5 bodies in. First stop was Banff which is one of the most picturesque mountain towns going round. We stayed for two nights, giving the booze a real nudge on the second night when we met some really cool crew from Austin, Texas. In particular, Molly was very cool, if not a little crazy! Its hard to not get into it though when they are selling highballs for $2.50. We made it out to Lake Louise, a beautiful aqua blue lake surrounded by snow-capped mountains that is picture postcard perfect. No bear sightings, which is probably a good thing depending on which way you look at it!!

Calgary was next on the agenda for the infamous Calgary Stampede. Cowtown is simply INSANE!!!. For 10 days thousands of people converge on the town and go nuts with the whole cowboy thing. We were camping a little out of town, but each day we would mission in a head to the show grounds where you could watch chuck wagon racing, drink beer, check out stalls, drink beer, go on rides, drink beer, see bands, drink beer and participate in the best people watching on the planet!! The camp ground we stayed at was interesting to say the least. Each night at around 5 am, the winds of armageddon would holw through the grounds, making sleep impossible. Each night I would wake to Rino, spitting, cursing and banging the tent poles with a rock and Bridget giggling her head off!! Safe to say, most mornings were seedy as!

We managed to squeeze in a couple of games of footy on the Saturday against the local teams. We kicked arse in two games, but lost the main event.....not too bad considering the boys were all hungover and the temperature was in the mid 30's. That night was another monster as 20 plus footy lads and partners hit the town and ran amuck. Benny Crackers was a riot, Bridget was a mess and Rino disappeared. Unfortunately for us, we had a flight at 7am the next morning. What to do but just keep on drinking and stay awake!! It was not a pretty picture at the airport the next morning, especially as I had to say goodbye to Amanda for the next month.

Rino, Panos and I headed from Calgary to New York where we had three days to check out the city. New York is INTENSE!! Aside from all the usual things, just soaking up the atmosphere of all the different precincts like Greenwich, East Side and Little Italy is mind blowing. We went out to Liberty Island and its hard not to think of what it would have been like September 11. Central Park is pretty impressive and I could easily spend several days in there. The thing about New York is that you feel as if you are constantly walking around on a movie set, everything feels so familiar. That and the fact that you could spend a month there and not do it all, not even close. We did a couple of the bars, including Hooters where Panos had his piccy taken with one of the girls. All the staff are extremely HOT & wear the skimpiest clothes, but have that 'I wanna be a actress and haven't quite made it pout.........or maybe I am just getting cynical in my old age??

Definitely the best night out was when we hooked up with Rino's friend Lorell, a NY local. She took us out to quite a few bars, including one Sex & The City style bar with awesome views and monumental drink prices. I am cheap at the best of times, but $56for four bourbon and cokes is a bit steep........maybe they sub the cola for the 'real thing' in New York, who knows? One funny stereotype that proved true was the grumpy New Yorker, they ALL have the attitude. They really look at you funny if you show any kind of manners like holding a door open for them or saying please and thank you!

Anyways, enough rambling. Hope the world is treating you well, wherever you are and whatever you're up to.

Keep smiling, Ben.

Tags: On the Road

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