Rick, Tess, and I didn't see anything at the con that looked interesting, so we voted for the next Westercon (San Jose vs. nobody else, as in "I Want My Cheap Membership!"), and then headed out to Banff. Yes, that's about two hours west of the con. It was a lovely drive out. We passed the Olympic Village, where we saw what ski lifts look like in the summer when the hills are bright green. We saw mountainside-long waterfalls with spring runoff. We had to pay to get into Banff, then headed for the town, hoping to find good chocolate and good food.
There was lots of chocolate in Banff; unfortunately, none of it was sugar-free, which screwed over all three of us. Rick watches his sugar, Tess is a brittle type 2 diabetic, and I'm hypoglycemic (and fairly brittle), so we had similar dietary needs. As it turned out, Tess and I also have similar tastes in food. I've known Tess for years, but this is the first time I'd really had time to spend around her. She and Rick are a lot of fun and really cool people.
We ate buffalo burgers at a place called the Grizzly Cafe. The menu had lots of cool graffiti; Rick and Tess wound up buying t-shirts and laminated menus. Next we walked up and down the streets of Banff, watching lots of tourists part with their money. I wanted to buy some ammonite jewelry, but given my ultra-tight budget, this was not a viable option. Tess bought some fossilized horse teeth. I picked up a shot glass for a co-worker. We picked up cheap party supplies at a dollar store, where I also picked up some cheap but cool barettes.
Next we went to a Safeway on the way back. They had Allegra on sale but were out of stock. I picked up a few boxes of cyclamates, foil, foil containers, strawberries, and white chocolate for the party. On the way home we saw a spectacular double rainbow where we could see the end in a field:
We got back to Calgary around 9:55pm and it was still light outside. Dinner was at an Indian/East African restaurant (although I couldn't tell what was "east African" on their menu). Yummy food. I now know I like cassava root.
We got back to the hotel at midnight. Open filking had never materialized, and I felt a little guilty. We hit the parties, one of which was shutting down, another of which was still going. San Jose had won the bid by a landslide (no surprise), which means I'll be able to commute Westercon two years from now. I tried each of the alcoholic beverages on tap in the suite, knowing I wasn't going to want to drink during my party the next day. I bedded down around 2am, this time being able to take the elevator, which was surprisingly functional on the 2nd floor. Apparently the hotel had to get it going for enough handicapped people that it had learned its lesson.