22 March 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #32: Ah, Calgary!

Whew!  It's been a busy couple of weeks on the road!  From Moose Jaw, to Chicago, to Seattle and back home again...only to get back on the road...again.  This last weekend found us on the road to Calgary to visit our good friends Bryan and Cathy, eat at Sultan's Tent, and complete the process for our NEXUS cards.

The drive to Calgary was a long one.  As we headed west across the "land of living skies," the setting sun illuminated the road in front of us and forced us to keep the sun visors down.  We drove through fields and low hills, exclaiming "deer!" and "cow!" whenever they reveled themselves to us along the sides of the road.  I am still amazed at the distance you can travel before seeing one lone farm surrounded by trees in the midst of flat grazing land or fields of canola.  We made a quick fuel stop in Medicine Hat...fuel for the car and some Starbucks fuel for ourselves before completing the rest of the journey.  While the drive from Moose Jaw to Medicine Hat was full of the glaring sun, the road from Medicine Hat to Calgary was socked in with some of the thickest fog you've ever seen.  Dave and I were both leaning forward as we strained to see the dashed line...our homing beacon along the way.  We pulled into Calgary safely and were greeted warmly by our awesome friends Bryan and Cathy who had a spread of bread, cheese, and other goodies laid out for us...all to be downed with a side of Bryan's excellent home-made wine.  The perfect way to end a sunny and foggy drive.

The next morning, after a 'family' breakfast with our friends and their kids, we drove to the Calgary airport for our NEXUS "interviews."  We arrived on time and were shuttled into a small room about the size of a closet to watch a video on how to use our cards.  These cards will allow us to cross the border from Canada to the States much more quickly and easily...no more long customs lines for us!  We stepped out of the room and had our paperwork reviewed, were fingerprinted, received a retinal scan, and...done!  All in all, we were there for maybe half and hour.  Short, sweet, and to the point.  From there, we visited the Chinook Centre (think a smaller version of the Mall of America) where I found myself on a perpetual hunt for a good dress to wear once the weather warms up (you know, for those two days in August)...alas, despite the multitude of shopping options at the center, battling crowds, and one delicious Teopia beverage later, we departed sans dress.

There is another reason to visit Calgary.  That reason is Sultan's Tent.  This restaurant is dedicated to providing diners with a traditional Moroccan experience, complete with traditional hand-washing, no utensils, and some of the best food I have ever tasted.  Each of us indulged and got the Sultan's Feast...a five-course meal that includes a lentil soup, Moroccan salads, a flaked pastry filled with your choice of stuffing, a mouth-watering tagine, dessert, and either Moroccan coffee or mint tea.  Amazing.  It truly is one of the better places I've ever eaten...made even more so by the excellent company and good conversation. 

Sunday found us on the road again on our way home...this time, the sky was overcast and our first day of spring was met with snow on the ground and our breath freezing in the air...while I fear "spring" may still be a ways off, our persistent winter is made bearable by weekends like this one.

And,  just in case you didn't notice...the Minute has a new look!  I'd be curious to know what you all think!  Leave a comment and give me a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" on the new design!

Good food and friends at Sultan's Tent!


We have yet to actually stop at the World's Tallest Tepee (seen below), but I can't wait!

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