26/05/2013 - 28/05/2013
In Edmonton we couchsurfed. For those unfamiliar, couchsurfing is when you stay with someone (generally on their couch, though sometimes in a spare room) for free. There's a general understanding that if you partake of the service and stay with people for free, you'll also return the favour by hosting others on your couch. This was our first time staying with someone, however we'd hosted a couchsurfer during our time in Toronto. We had a lovely French girl stay with us for a weekend and we showed her round the city and had a really good time, so it was fun to also get to do it from the other side of the arrangement. Colin was a great host and even came and picked us up from the train station at half 6 in the morning. Not only that but he offered a lift to one of the people we'd befriended on the train as well. Really nice guy.
We were only in Edmonton for a couple of days, but I enjoyed our time there. On the first day, after getting to Colin's place and settling in, we went for a walk with him and a friend, taking in a bit of the city and getting a drink. We didn't get to see a huge amount of the city, but it seemed like a nice place - lots of green areas. Then in the evening we went along to a band rehearsal (a band that Colin's in, not just some random one), which was good fun.
Our main activity on the second day was to go to Edmonton Mall. That mightn't sound very exciting, but it's no ordinary mall. I doubt I can even remember all of the unusual things you'll find in there. As well as a water park (with wave machine) and a fairground, there are 2 mini golf courses, a rope climbing area, water massage machines, plus, strangest of all, a pirate ship that hosts animal displays (there was a penguin on it when we were there) and some performing sea lions. Yes, you can be going about your shopping and just pause to watch a sea lion doing tricks. It's surreal!
After our trip to the mall, Colin drove us to this great liquor store that had a huge selection of beers from around the world. We decided to buy 2 each, but then somehow ended up with 3 each and a shared bottle of local beer (called Jade Dragon). We then spent a fun evening of drinking beer and taking it in turns to pick music videos to play on YouTube. All in all a very successful couchsurfing experience. Loads of thanks to Colin (and his dog Steve, who was very sweet).