Sunday, June 11, 2006

Calgary trip - Summer 2006

Well, it took me a little while to load/save/upload all of these pictures, but I'm hoping it'll be worth it in the end. *that's a hint that you should leave a lot of comments.

I guess I'll start this off with our Banff trip. Years ago Joo's mom went to Epcot (sp?) Center in Florida and saw an exhibit of Banff there. She said that she had always remembered those miniature mountains. I thought it was about time we showed her the real thing. My bud Trish was our guide (she's been out there a billion times more than me). First we went hiking in Johnson Canyon.

It was great getting that fresh air back into my lungs. I had almost forgotten what clean air felt like. But it wasn't just the air, even the water amazed me. everything just seemed like it was put down that day for us.

And of course, with all that clean air... romance had to follow.

I looked like a foreigner getting all excited about the animals we saw. There were a number of deer, crows, squirrels, mountain goats, and chipmunks (I like this shot)

We ended up taking the Gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain. I was not wanting to pay the $25 dollar fee but, I must admit, the view was worth it. I felt like I was on the top of canada in this shot.

I think Joo's parents were blown away by the view of *cough* expensive *cough* Banff. Joo's dad kept talking about (at 2900m) how he was at the highest point he's ever been in his life. {the tallest mountain in korea is 2200m I think}

We went to Heritage Park the next day and met up with my parents there. My mom seemed in fine health and although both her and Val weren't able to walk around the whole place, I'm sure they had a great time just seeing us running around.

As somone who had to go to Heritage Park as a kid (for school) I had never been a big fan of the place. As an adult though (and as a semi-foreigner) I now have a better appreciation for it. It's amazing the quality of building back then.

Here's my best imitation of a cowboy - I never did go in for wearing the hat.

And of course, no trip to Heritage Park is complete without a picture of a Mountie. If you notice, there's a paper bag hanging in all the doors. They said it keeps the wasps away because the wasps think that it is a rival nest - cool.

We stopped by the Harley dealership so my father in-law could check out his favorite model. I was hoping Rob would have his bike together and take him for a spin, but unfortunately his wife Mehgan (sp?) was due THAT WEEK and he was otherwise occupied (we were hoping they'd have it while we were there - no such luck).

I've always been a big fan of Zoos. Since I was a kid, the zoo was my idea of a perfect day out. This time though, it was better than ever. I'd hazard to say that this was my BEST trip to the zoo! Trish (and Mandy for a short time) brought us there and Trish's aunt and uncle (who work there) gave us a behind the scenes tour. It was amazing. We were able to go into almost any exhibit!

Here I am feeding (and doing my best goofy face towards) a giraffe. Man, look at that tongue! (that's Trish's very helpful aunt in the middle)

The hippopotamus were my favorite though. I had remebered hearing about how in Africa they thought that hippos sweat blood, but when I saw the red beads on their backs I was amazed. Touching it though was too cool (translation - sticky).

And the best was being able to touch this old boy's mouth. Man, to think that this animal causes more deaths in Africa than any other, and I've got my hand in it's mouth!

We ended up feeding some horse meat to the lions and petting a cute little bat. Oh and we were also able to visit our (allbeit far removed) cousins. These gorillas seemed passive enough but we were warned that if we were ever on the receiving end of their force, they'd break us without realizing.

Speaking of big gorillas, I was told of a story about my buddy Dan. He went to the zoo (wearing all black) and when he stepped near the gorrilla exhibit the large one charged the glass! A zookeeper near by told Dan to crouch down and look passive. I guess being a pro bodybuilder does not get you points in the wild. Here's Dan with his (and my) favorite toy.

Visiting Calgary was a lot about visiting people and... eating! When you visit, you must eat. And we ate a lot! man, those Canadian serving sizes are just monsterous.

Here's a pic of my and some buds after a dinner (missing a few people like Kurt and Jen in this shot). These guys, now that I look at it, are actually all old training partners of mine. Mike, Dahn, and Dan. Wow, so many years of training together. Funny how everyone is still in great shape (well, I'm working on it).

And, not to forget the one who is responsible for all this (my going to korea), Nancy! we were able to meet here for a nice lunch and then later for a korean meal (which was twice as much as it is here in Korea BTW).

We also had lunch with Mandy and Vic (newly married and expecting) and my bud Ryan (who is taking this pic). Great to see some old friends again - and new ones. mandy, Vic seems like a good catch, good job!

Time was a bit pressed this trip though. I didn't want to in-laws to get too bored, and sitting around only speaking in english felt like it did that. Far too many of our visits were just quick "drop in and say hello" types. As always though we were able to say hi to a very old (as in years known) friend and his wife, Marcus and Sharon.

We ended up having a BBQ on one of our last days in town with my pseudo-mom Joyce and her son Rob. It was good to see Rob again healthy and happy and enjoying his beautiful family. I know this shot is showing Angie, but geez why can't I remember all the kids names?? If I was on the ball though I would have e-mailed Nicole and got her to come too (sorry).

The in-laws (ok, mostly my father in-law) were all over every kid we saw. They were giving us STRONG hints that they are expecting grandchildren soon. And I'm sure my Mom would echo their sentiments. Hmmm, maybe I should be spending less time writing this blog and more time ...

There are so many people missing from these pics; Although we saw my Parents a number of times, for some reason we only have a few pics of them, Al (who seems to be doing great nowadays), Jes (who came from vancouver to see me!), Rob (who is stressed but will soon be a pappa), Dawne (who is also stressed), Kevin and Stacy (who just bought a great new house!!), and Dana (who I could not seem to hook up with on this trip). If I have left you out, leave a comment /wink

Most of all I need to thank two people for making this trip so much easier for us.

Mike - you lent us your house and gave so much more. Thanks man, you're a brother to me.
Trish - you took the week off and brought us laughing around Calgary and area. Couldn't of done half of it without 'cha, thanks.

Now if only I could get everyone to come to Korea...