Saturday, May 6
We were able to “sleep in” until around 7 am this morning and enjoyed the waffles at the included hotel breakfast while reviewing options of things to do over the next three days. Unfortunately, it looked like we were on the wrong weekend for the downtown market and between seasons for all of the theatre productions at the numerous arts venues downtown.
Instead, I pulled out my map and we walked through the large legal district to get to the Buffalo Bayou and Allen’s Landing Park where there was a dragon boat festival happening today. There was a small market of sorts, so we looked at the booths of wood furniture and clothes before walking over to the bayou to see the teams of boaters prepping for their races. There were also a few cultural dances from the Korean groups present. It was a fun walking goal from the hotel and a fun local thing to take part in.
We decided then to follow the beginning of the 52 mile path that follows the bayou to see what else was happening in the centre of the 4th biggest city in the U.S. Apparently, not much. It is a really, really, quiet downtown. Not just on the weekends, but seemingly all the time. It was odd. We walked through the lobbies of a few of the theatre venues as they were all hosting grads and dance recitals. We tried to look for the mysterious red button on the path behind the theatre district and we went down to the underground tunnel system. We saw hardly anyone. It was lovely for this reason, but also a bit creepy.
There are several systems of underground tunnels, but because it was not a work day, none of the restaurants or shops were open. We did find a free health monitor machine and played on that calculating all of our health stats for a while. But it was sure quiet.
We were on our way back to the hotel when we discovered a mall! We were so excited….until we realized that nothing in the mall was open. And regardless, there were really only two stores in the mall anyway – RadioShack and Dress Barn. We did kill some time hanging out in these stores, but decided on waiting to make any purchases until later in the weekend. We were starving by this point, but when we walked up to Subway (the only fast food place that was open), they told us that actually, they were closed. Thankfully, the gentleman there told us to go down to the main level as there was a great grocery store across the street.
Baffled at the lack of resources available for all of the busy hotels, sporting venues, and conference centres, we crossed the street and discovered an awesome, local grocery store called Phoenicia Speciality Foods with great food! There was everything from wine to hummus to cakes to sandwiches and salad bar. It was amazing. It was also way over-air conditioned, so we hurriedly looked around, picked out some pitas and hummus for our pool picknic lunch and decided to come back later when we had more layers on.
We hit the pool for a couple of hours enjoying the great people watching and awesome heat that lacks in Calgary during the winter. Finally, we decided we should check out the Discovery Green and figure out what that is all about before finding a restaurant for dinner. We loved the park!! It is huge with lots of families settling in to watch movies outdoors, or playing in the spray park, or rolling down the grassy hills, or eating picknics on the ground. It seemed to be such a happy, family place. So much so that we decided we should explore Phoenicia more and find some food to take back to the park for a picknic for dinner. And I am so glad we did. It was wonderful. The prices of made-in-house wraps was fantastic and we had more food than we could handle and it was lovely to be part of such a positive atmosphere in the downtown park.