Friday, July 27, 2012

The Saskatoon Farm

We just came back from The Saskatoon Farm in south of Calgary. I had made a call and had been notified that only Saskatoon Berry was available to pick up and not many ripened but we decided to go. It is not very far. After leaving the city from south, you just will have to pass the Okotoks overpass and turn left onto 338 Ave. and drive toward east for a few minutes.
The farm provides all sorts of trees, shrubs and flowers as well as vegetables and fruits. The main fruits are Saskatoon Berry and Sour Cherry as far as I could see but sour cherries were not ready. I had never seen Saskatoon Berry and never had tried one. It is similar to Blue Berry but different colour. It is darker and the taste is completely different. It is not as sweet as a Blue Berry but has its unique and pleasant taste of its own. It was hot and sunny so the two buckets given to us by the farm girl were not used both. When you are paying, you're not paying by weigh. You are paying by the number of buckets you have filled up. We had one after almost 1 hour and it was not even up to the rim, may be half an inch lower and cost $13.
There's a restaurant and gift shop that you can shop and dine as well. We got one Saskatoon Berry Pie for $10 which was good but too much for that size. I guess because the farms runs for a few months in a year they try to make as much money as possible in that short period. After all it was a good experience and we're going there again for Sour Cherries. We have not had any since our Surrey time and I guess there are not many places in Canada that you can have them.
(Photo: A Saskatoon Berry shrub. Only the dark ones are ripened)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Continental Drift

F. F. is a big fan of Ice Age series so suggested to go and see the froth of the franchise movie called The Continental Drift. The movie in 3D is not as bad as what some say and is kind of good. I did not find anything wrong with the story. In fact it was something new with more characters were added and good to watch at least once for someone at my age. While kids where laughing their heads of in a few scenes I couldn't help smiling. I would give 3 out of 5 and recommend it for sure.
(Photo: The poster of the movie consists the always running squirrel of the story holding the pirate's flag made by seemingly a skunk. )

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pig and Duke

There was this useless, asshole working with us whom I kept a good relationship with, regardless of his behaviour. Apparently and according to the other colleagues he had been trying to get a job somewhere else including Shell and obviously he succeed last week.
So he sent messages to a few guys including me, a message saying that he was willing to have his last lunch with us before he says goodbye. He picked Pig and Duke at the corner of 11th Ave. and 12th St. SW. I did not have any problem going there. A few of us gathered there and started ordering. I had a Classic Burger with side salad. It was really good patty and thick too but did not have a long diameter! The side salad, which every piece of it had been put in the bowl by hand I bet, was OK.
I enjoyed the burger but the surprise came after everyone finished his meal: Everybody was going to pay his or her own bill! I was like what the fuck!!? If I wanted to go and get a burger, I did not have to go with bunch of freaks! If you invite someone over for lunch to your apartment, would you ask them to pay for the food they eat!? What a stupid idea. I paid for my $14 burger and we left. Checking with F. F. later, she said that it was common here as she was going to Chop this weekend with bunch of her colleagues. I think the host at least have to take care of something, for example the drink or desert, something at least! Overall rating of the food and service at the bar so far after one visit: 3. The service was a bit slow.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Party in Desperado

An invitation was given to us almost two weeks ago for a party in Desperado Nightclub to celebrate Stampede, I guess. We were amongst the first people who arrived. Everyone had two vouchers for drink, one for buffet and one for desert. Cowgirls were the hosts and a band was playing. We straight went to the bar and got a beer to get ourselves busy. There were other people from other companies aw well, mostly non-Caucasians. The people were gathered in the tent because the club figures that they could not put everyone in their building.
I was a little hungry because I have not had anything for lunch but a few pieces of fruit and I was looking for food but 17:30 and still no sign of it. I asked one of the waitresses about it and it was then that the lines started. I always hate lines but I had no choice. Fortunately the food was really good and it was enough although I wanted to get more but everyone got only one voucher as I mentioned earlier. The food comprises a very tasty rice with pieces of chicken and tomato sauce or paste in it, some sort of Mexican dish, I think and then baked bins in sauce with green pepper, salad and eventually pulled Brisket that the cook would put on your plate just to make sure you do not take more than what you needed! I later checked with one of the girls and I realized that the food was catered by Dobson's. The reason why I asked was the quality of food which was really good. A sort which is barely found in restaurant but I think that menu is not available always because that is Stampede food.
Anyway it was time for Bull Riding after the meal which was kind of very stupid to me. There was no way that I get on that mechanical bull after a full dish of rice, beans and meat while I had dress pants on in that hot weather but many tried. The story is that the person who controls the bull starts smoothly and then after a minute or two moves the bull in a way that the rider loses controls and falls on the mat.
The next thing I was looking for was the desert because I wanted to go home and get ride of the damn cloths and take a shower but instead of a desert I got two because one of the colleague gave her voucher to me and that in fact was after I got a drink voucher from her!
I thought I was better try something new and I asked one of the bar girls and she made me a Whiskey Sour. It's not that the drink's recipe is something complicate or hard to make. It's just a shot of Whiskey (She could have put anything because I wasn't paying attention to the bottles!) and then adds lemon juice and ice. Because of the low alcohol content and my stomach being full of food, I did not feel anything. But the taste was pleasant.
The desert comprised two small cubic pieces of pastry, half size of the normal bars you get from the bakeries and tasted OK. I had two voucher so I added two much sugar to my system!
Nothing much was left so I took off shortly after the desert.
(Photo: people are lined up for the good meal of Dobson's, not knowingly but I would find out!)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Calgary Stampede at its 100th

This year's Calgary Stampede was supposed to be special because it was the 100th year. I did not notice much difference but I enjoyed a bit more but it could be the last year I went to Stampede. Two things I enjoyed was first their Zip Line and the Firework. We also watched sheep shearing. Nothing special but too see how fast these guy do their jobs. The Zip Line was a bit scary for me because that was my first time. The distance was short and they charge you $40 but it's good for beginning. I held on to the ropes all the way to the end while I did not have to! I am not really comfortable in height especially if I'm sliding down very fast but worst trying. F. F. didn't come especially when it wasrealized that we had to sign a waiver!
The normal shows were going on inside the Saddledome and other buildings and we tried a bit of each including the shepherds, the huge horse show and such. I even get a chance to try a pistol at where the Navy guys had a demonstration. It's a sort of a pistol that works with pressured gas and gives the same feeling as a real one. There is no target or aiming. Just the experience which was good. Feeling the kick of the pistol.

And of course we chose last Fri. which was the Family Day so we did not have to pay admission because we entered before 09:00 AM. One thing is the worst in the Stampede is its breakfast. If you want to get the free one you will have to stay in the line for hours. If you want to but you get the worst for the biggest price. We got two cups of coffee and a Cinnamon Bun for $10 and tasted like crap!
The firework was very nice. We watched it the same night from Talisman Centre. Starts at 23:00 hours every night and worth watching.
(Photo 1, top: This booth serves Steak Sandwich and as you can see it barbecues fresh beef and there is something missing here that when you eat the sandwich you do not enjoy a whole lot and that is seasoning. A small sandwich is $9)
(Photo 2, middle: This is the tower for the Zip Line ride in Stampede where you start, and that is not me!)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Stampede Parade

I have lived in Calgary for a total of 6 years now and last Fri. was the first time I watched Stampede Parade and not completely! My buddy at work said: Let's sneak out and watch the Parade and I accepted. It was not very far from the office but people were already occupied all around the Parade route. We were able to squeeze ourselves in the crowed and find a good spot for watching. Both of us used our camera phones and took photos. It was very organized and interesting to watch but after waiting for almost 15 to 20 minutes and watching for as little as 5 minutes I decided to go back while he stayed. If everything goes well I will probably take the next years Parade day off.
(Photo: Participants on 9th Ave. SW with Calgary Stampede flags. It was such a fun parade to watch)

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Onborad Canadian North

I had never heard of Canadian North until last Tue. that I flew to Northern Alberta to see the  Project Site. Woke up at 04:00 AM and by the time I washed up, shaved and got in the cab, it was 04:25. Canadian North provides its service in Calgary International Airport but in a smaller section in the south side of the main terminal which is probably 15 minutes closer to Downtown. I guess I got there at around 04:50 while my departure time was 06:15! We got on a small airplane with a handful of passengers and landed in Edmonton in 45 min. It  was in Edmonton that half of the seat were occupied by the passengers and we landed in Albian Sands Airport after another 45 min. of fly. In Albian we immediately got on buses and fastened our seat belts! Yes. Seat belts are mandatory onborad buses to Oil Sands Projects. It was a long and slow journey to Camp Wapasu where workers stay. It is a nice facility with everything available but I did not go into the rooms. Someone with a big truck came and pick up us for our 20 min. ride to the Project Site. Wow! The machinery were magnificent.
While we where there at almost 11:20, we never got the chance to go out and see the systems on a close range until almost 14:10 I guess. We put the full safety gear on, including safety boots that I had taken with me, safety glasses, reflecting vest, hard hat and even gloves.  Our small group walked to the beginning of the line and climbed up the platforms. It was very interesting to actually see the machinery from such a close range.
Then it was the walk beside the second and third part and going inside the 4th section for a few minutes. We had to catch the return flight so we got on the truck and headed for the Camp, this time with two guys who reside at the camp until the Project is delivered to the Client. I guess it was almost 16:00 that we reached camp and we have had only coffee and cookie for the breakfast and lunch. I so a room with different types of food but my superior said that was for the Camp residents only. I said OK and was going to make myself busy with another set of cookies when our colleague showed up and after checking in he said that he would get us dinner vouchers and he did. We went to a restaurant type section that we picked whatever we wanted and sat. The food actually was not bad. There were different variates and quality was good for such a place.
Our flight back to Calgary was full and no stop in Edmonton. I guess we landed at around 20:25. I got a lift from my buddy and was home around 21:30 or so.
All this long time, a total of 16 hours was for that half an hour that we toured the facilities but worth it. I hope I get another chance to go although it is very tiring.
(Photo: Camp Wapasu in the middle of jungle in Northern Alberta. This photo is from the time it was being constructed)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Chicken on the Way (Stay Away!)

This business at the corner of 14th St. and Kensington Rd., NW has been around for 10 years, I know. Its history goes way back, according to newspaper cuts that they have on the walls. I remember it from that the time I use to ride my bike back and forth to SAIT but never had tried it until last week.
The business is ran by all Caucasian guys and gals and you expect it to be cleaner and more organized than a side road cafe in a third world country but in fact it is worse! in Chicken, Stay Away, that's what I would like to call it, the quality of food is something way below average. We got 4 small pieces including one wing for $7, GST included. The pieces were so small and salty that you actually needed 4 litres of distilled water to clear that much salt out of your body! The place is a complete mess. Stack of boxes, piles of potato, you name it! The true meaning of dump! The first time we got in, there was a line. So I said screw it! Who, the idiot, is going to stay in a freaking line for a few pieces of chicken!? And on that time I even had not tasted the pieces. Now even if I'm starving and you take me there and buy me pieces, I will not eat them. I always had thought it must have been something better than KFC but then I realized that KFC with all the allegations, is healthier food compare to this!
So in a nutshell don't waste your time and money there. Get something else to eat, unless you're some kind of loser who can't cook something for him/herself or get it from another place!
Overall Rating: Not recommended at all. Not even to try once. Not joking.
(Photo: The notorious Chicken Stay Away(!), name changed by me, in 14th Ave., SW)