In what seemed like no time at all my stay in Calgary was over, and there I was, being driven by a Sikh to the airport with a bright sun rising over snow covered fields. Well, maybe not fields, more like vacant land that no one had built on.
I told the driver it was very beautiful. He wisely agreed and even more wisely pointed out that it was “very cold,” which it was. Speaking of wisdom, please, airport security in the US and elsewhere, stop mistaking Sikhs for radical religion of peace Jihadists. They’re not Muslims, you clowns, quite the reverse.
So what was Calgary like? As usual, I found the people friendly and the city a pleasure to visit, with a number of plus points: it’s cowboy hat friendly, you can get your hair cut in a gun shop, cheese and bread are very good, as are many of the restaurants. There’s a neat Armoury, complete with a Sherman tank and a Bren Gun Carrier, and the town has a fine regimental tradition.
I like to think, too, that Calgary has some of its frontier spirit. Perhaps that’s because of fierce winter weather and proximity to the Rockies. Mountains and snow evoke the frontier, after all, and the town was on the literal frontier not that long ago, at the turn of the last century. Maybe there’s something of that in the air of the place.
How Canada’s prosperous “cow town” weathers the storm of falling oil prices remains to be seen, and experts are recommending that the city diversifies its economy into guns and ammo. Hot tip, that’s one market which appears to be rising.
One Air Alaska (good airline with complimentary wine and beer) flight over, I landed in Seattle, where everyone was wearing shorts and humming Smells Like Teen Spirit. It was very different to Calgary or, for that matter, Texas.