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Calgary - Who cares about cowboys? There are dinosaurs around!!!

CANADA | Wednesday, 22 July 2009 | Views [352]

I arrived the day after the famous Calgary Stampede. I think the city was still winding down from it cos the people and buildings were looking a little tired and worn. Suppose it didn't help that I arrived on a rainy day either. But here and there were still remnants of 'The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth'. Boots and cowboy hats could still be glimpsed on the streets. Leftover signs and bright murals were still on walls and restaurant billboards. And I'm sure somewhere, there's a whole heap of disposable cups and empty bottles waiting to be recycled (cos that's what Canada does), leftovers from the abundance of alcohol consumed in the 10 days of rodeo fun. Pity to have missed it, not the alcohol, but the fun.

Exploring cowtown was interesting. They have a series of above ground covered walkways and staircases called +15s that can take you through a large part of downtown (sometimes via roof gardens) without really walking the streets. And Calgary has one of the most interesting zoos I've ever been to. Not unlike the Singapore zoo, it's spread out over a large area and the animals have habitats, not cages. But in Calgary they've also created ecosystems of the African Savannah and the Rainforest, and you can walk through the Canadian Wilds. You step into these areas or buildings and feel like you're right there, with the plants and the animals and all.

But the best thing about Calgary, is it's proximity to a lot of dinosaur fossils!!! (Those of you who've known me long enough understand why I'm so thrilled.) There's the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, a leading centre of paleontological research and host to Canada's largest collection of dinosaur fossils. There were so many species I'd never seen before! And the museum itself is situated within a fossil-bearing canyon which you can walk around on! And better yet is the Dinosaur Provincial Park, one of the greatest dinosaur fossil beds in the world. You apparently have to walk around with your eyes closed not to find some kind of a fossil. Unfortunately, it's almost impossible to get to without driving, so I never got to go there. Oh well, an excuse to come back then!

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