Sunday, May 12, 2013

Getting to know you, Edmonton, AB.

Now I am a seasoned Edmontonian, what with having been in the city more than 7 weeks, here are some more observations.

1. Pedestrians are seen not as a commodity to be protected but a threat to the territory of the truck. We are a curiosity, perhaps. Alberta has jaywalking laws like the US - crossing the street other than at a designated place is NOT ok. But sometimes you find sidewalks blocked without a pedestrian diversion. (Jon and I had to do battle with a construction site today which blocked our route entirely. The driver of the heavy plant vehicle swinging foot thick chains around made no attempt to cease and let us pass.) And if you end up getting across the road a bit late after a green walking signal, you will find yourself in a tussle with a vehicle as likely as not.

Everyone drives huge trucks with tyres as big as me, usually carrying just one person and nothing in the back. And these trucks have no qualms about confronting pedestrians as if they were equal rivals for the roadspace. The same applies to cyclists. It's a little unnerving.

2. The weather is mental. A couple of weeks ago we had a day with max temperature -1. It hovered around -5 for most of the day. And within 5 days we had a day with a high of 30. I am serious. It is weird. Spring hasn't really happened. You can see the trees straining themselves to produce leaves and buds and blossom in a few short days in order to catch up and make something of the short summer. No doubt they dash through the process of autumn as well.

3. The cakes are plentiful and great. People often eat at 'bakeries' - it's kind of a city hobby. And most coffee shops feature an array of ginormous, lavishly decorate slabs of calories. It's good.

4. People are obsessed with Kate Middleton and the royal family. There are more news stories here about KM and more magazines with her on the cover than ever I had seen in the UK. And the huge West Edmonton Mall (biggest in the world, I believe) currently has an exhibition on Diana.

5. It's kind of dirty. The snow has now melted, leaving in its wake grime and the mounds of grit and salt thrown down during the 7 month winter to keep it at bay. Everything is dusty and coated.

6. But the sunshine is lovely. A walk today by the river at 25 degrees with my husband, from whom I lived apart for 5 months, more than makes up for the rest of it.

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