Friday, August 18, 2006

M.o.M’s Tourist Guide to Edmonton, Part II

Last week, we told you how to get to Edmonton. Now that you are here, what are you going to do? Here are some ideas.

1. Purple City

Nowhere on earth has this, so prepare yourself for some mind-blowing exhilaration. Wait until night, smoke some pot, and stumble down to the Alberta Legislature. That’s the home of Alberta’s elected dictatorship. See those big lights that are illuminating the big, brown building? Stare into one of them until your eyes hurt. Then, look out at the city.

It’s purple!

You do not need to adjust your eyes, buy special glasses, or wear a funny hat to repeat this experience. It is absolutely free of charge – well, except for the pot, although, hang on, even if you don’t smoke pot, the city will still be purple, but if you don’t smoke the pot, Purple City won’t seem like the coolest thing you have, like, ever seen, like ever. So really, the pot cannot be called optional.

2. Visit a shopping mall

Like, duh! Where else can you shop at the Gap, Club Monaco, Le Chateau, HMV, and countless other chains? Only here, the experience will be a bit different from what it would be in say, Minneapolis-St. Paul, or almost anywhere else outside of Canada. When you bring a purchase item to the till, it will suddenly become 7% more expensive! Wait, no, only 6% more expensive. Now that’s kinda cool! Thank you Mr. President of Canada, whoever you are!

3. Go to a festival

Edmonton is famous in the capital region for its festivals! This exciting tourist experience will only work between May and September, unless you go to the First Night festival, which is held on New Year’s Eve. Far be it from the M.o.M. to editorialize, but the First Night Festival might possibly be the only festival on earth designed to simultaneously bore you and freeze you to death. Do not go.

OK, since we’ve got our balls out now, here are all the other festivals you might consider skipping. For your convenience, we have included the reason for skipping it.

Festival: K-DAYS
Reason for skipping: Too many children.

Festival: Folk Festival
Reason for skipping: Too many hippies. Plus Ani de Franco most years.

Festival: Street Performers Festival
Reason for skipping: We are assuming you are already familiar with the concept of contorting a balloon into the shape of a poodle.

Festival: Taste of Edmonton
Reason for skipping: Line up for a ticket. Line up to redeem ticket for a thimble of food. Repeat. Seven hours later you are sun-stroked.

Festival: Heritage Days
Reason for skipping: The Israel pavilion patrons won’t talk to the Arab pavilion patrons. For the real fireworks, CNN is so much better!

Festival: Cariwest Festival
Reason for skipping: Caribbean people getting up to their usual cavorting, just as they do back home. Hint, there is an inverse correlation between the amount of your cavorting and the size of your GDP, people!

Festival: EnglishFest
Reason for skipping: It doesn’t exist! But when it does, it will probably consist of people standing around uncomfortably, talking about the weather, being dour, and complaining about Caribbeans. Fun? Visit the UK instead for the real experience.

Festival: The Works
Reason for skipping: You probably tripped over something resembling a gallery exhibit from the Works in your basement. Far cheaper just to stare at a toilet for a bit and attach whatever symbolism to it you like.

Festival: Capital Ex
Reason for skipping: This one is exactly like K-Days. Wait a minute, it is K-Days. What’s going on here? Did K-Days change its name? What’s the new name again? Brand Y? Product Zed? Oh good, I like generic products – they’re always so much cheaper than brand names. But wait, this generic product is more expensive than the original. What’s up with that?

This leaves one festival that the M.o.M. fully endorses: The Fringe. Good thing it lasts ten days, or something like that, and that it’s on right now, so you can still go! There are a lot of thespians at The Fringe. For all you Republicans planning a trip to the Edmonton Fringe, a thespian is not a lesbian, even though the two words sound suspiciously alike. However, a thespian can, on occasion, assume the identity of a lesbian. The playbill might not warn you that this might occur in the play you are watching. So to be safe, skip the plays and just wander around, get drunk, and get fat from the food! That’s what most people do. While you’re at it, be sure to watch that strange Dougie fellow doing push-ups. He’s in the Guinness Book of World Records, don’t you know!

Well then, those are three things you can do in Edmonton right there. To review: Purple City, visit a mall, go to the Fringe. That will keep you breathlessly entertained until Tuesday.