Happy birthday Alberta--and goodbye Edmonton
Yesterday (September 1st) was Alberta's 100th birthday. I didn't see much of the celebrations, but I did manage to watch the firework display that took place at the Alberta Legistalure. That Thursday night was also my last night as a temporary resident of Edmonton (awfully nice of them to put on the fireworks for me, I thought!), as my contract at $TELCO was not renewed. (Some senior manager, who's main claim to infamy was power cycling a SF15K when he thought he was opening the cabinet, has decided that most contractors must go. I'll not argue with that policy, but I think his timing, with half the company out on strike, isn't that great. Oh well...)
Anyways, I thought I'd record some of best and worst memories of Edmonton. In no particluar order, the things I *won't* miss:
- The noise. Despite being on the 15th floor, the noise from outside was almost unberable at night. Definately a stark contrast to the peace and quiet I get in my house in Kelowna, up on a moutainside overlooking Glenmore valley.
- The smokers. I can't believe the number of people who smoke (both in absolute terms, and as a ratio) in Edmonton; they're everywhere! The worst thing is when bunches of smokers cluster around the entrace to a building: us non-smokers have to walk through a smoke haze to get to work.
- Being away from my home and family. This was the hardest, and IMHO, most unnecessary, part. There's no technical reason why I couldn't have worked from Kelowna (even my own home), as 99% of what my team did was remote anyway. Two blocks or 1000km, it's all the same. Alas, the "innovation" in the company's values doesn't stretch as far as allowing its employees and contractors to work from home on a regular basis. Again, this is not a technical problem, it's a cultural one...
- Walking 10 blocks to the nearest grocery store! Oh well, it gave me some exercise.
- The concrete--it's everywhere!
- The short summer.
- The cold!
And to end on a more positive note, here are some things that I *will* miss:
- My favourite restaurant, The Wok Box. If you like oriental food, you owe it to yourself to give this place a try. They're near the corner of 102nd Street and Japser Avenue (opposite Commerce Place), and their "Spicy Singapore Cashew" is to die for! My 2nd favourite restaurant, Chicken for Lunch, is also great (especially on Fridays), but get there early: the queue gets pretty long! And fellow chocoholics would be remiss to visit Edmonton and not go to the all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet, at the Sutton Place Hotel every Thursday and Friday night!
- The friends and collegues I made and met over the past 7 months, including (but not limited too; apols if I missed anyone!) Jim, Steven, Dave, Eappan, Jimi, Mike, Ian, Terri, Marg, Jay, and Francois. We shared many a good time...
- The cash. I enjoyed being able to go to Futureshop et al, and actually afford to buy something (mostly DVDs). OK, that's not specific to Edmonton per se, but I still miss it!
- The neat architecture: the pyrmaid-shaped city hall, the Muttart Conservatory, and Manulife Place (the nicest looking building in Edmonton, IMHO), and so on. (Mind you, Edmonton has more than its fair share of ugly buildings too...)
Well, that's about it for this list. But I must thank the anonymous person who's insecure Wifi connection enabled me to get onto the 'Net in my rented apartment: thank you!