Thursday, August 12, 2010

Life List Update

This summer I have managed to cross a few things off my life list.

I went to the rodeo at the Calgary Stampede and it was an experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have never really been enthralled by the cowboy mystique nor did I go through a horse phase as a young girl, so I wasn't sure about the whole rodeo thing. I turns out I was entertained from start to finish. I was impressed by the physicality of the animals, who it turns out, are bred for rodeos, the bucking horses and bulls as well as the horses ridden by the "cowgirls" in the barrel racing event. The men and women who took part in the events displayed remarkable skills in accomplishing their tasks. I haven't done any reading into the ethics of rodeos, and I'm sure that there are a large number of people who would argue that the rodeo constitutes cruelty to animals (on the day we were there, 2 bucking horses were euthanized, and Alal was quite concerned for the welfare of the animals throughout). In addition, traditional gender roles were clearly promoted throughout. Competitors who chose to wear pink shirts to compete were gently chided by the announcers and there was much emphasis on the cowboys winning enough money to "feed their families", though I don't recall this being mentioned during the women's barrel racing event. All in all though, for the $15 price of the ticket though, it was a great afternoon of entertainment (some of those cowboys were hotttt).

I also managed to get to the hot springs in Banff. It was a gorgeous day and the setting was spectacular. The kids however, were less than thrilled with the experience as they found the water to be too warm, expecting more of a recreational pool. Coming in the middle of 5 days of camping when the temperature during the nights dipped to close to 0, , on the other hand thoroughly enjoyed the hour of warmth and relaxation.

Finally, I visited one new province, Saskatchewan and five new states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana). The states that we drove through on our way to Alberta were all quite lovely, though we only saw a very small portion of them. We were quite impressed by the fact that the two state parks we stayed at (in Minnesota and North Dakota) had free wi-fi. Unfortunately, by the time we reached Saskatchewan we were all exhausted, so I'm afraid that we did not really appreciate the Prairie province as we might have. We did end of having to visit a medical clinic in Saskatchewan, so after 15 years of teaching about the birth of Canadian Medicare in Saskatchewan, I got to experience it first hand.

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