Tuesday, 30 October 2012

MY BROTHER AND BANFF!


On his Business trip to Calgary, he took his dear sister that’s me Ahem! No Mona little one don’t get green you are equally dear to both of us ….only thing we grew up together sharing toys, games, inventing languages, exploring the huge rooms back home in Poona for the so called hidden treasures in the huge bangalow constructed during the British time, when the whole household was  taking their siesta in the lazy afternoons. We worked on our secret language to share some mischief together. I remember we named our Doctor uncle ‘Khastam ’ we detested him with a passion for injecting  those menacing looking  painful  injections…and giving us enema at the drop of a hat !Yes we also got sick together …We have shared our measles, chicken pox, thyphoid, mumps and what not…lying side by side in perfect harmony, companionship and disagreement much to the chagrin of our parents .

Now he wanted to share the unique visual delight of his, to explore and experience the beauty of Alberta. Which I did to the hilt ! 

We flew from Toronto at 7 am Toronto time and reached Calgary at 8.40 a.m.Calgary time. After flying for four  hours .Calgary is to the west of Toronto hence the two hours time difference. He graciously offered me the window seat. And before I made myself comfortable he had dosed off .Could not see much as most part we were either above the clouds or between them .The turbulent weather  tossed the plane  around with such ease as if it were a Frisbee  gave me such a fright  oblivious to the jerky ride  he was in sweet dreams .He opened his beautiful eyes when we were on the descend .He pointed out to the Rockies far away, the prairies and as we came closer to the ground he pointed out to the landmarks ….the Downtown The Calgary tower , The Saddle stadium. As we touched the tarmac – I reported safe landing to Mom and Dad and told them unlike the weather predictions of black menacing clouds we had a sunny bright day spread out before us. Well- I said  it too soon   The 680 News was right as we hired a Chevy and set the G.P.S  on his Apple iPhone  the sky covered  itself with a thick black blanket dousing the excitement of my brother who wanted  me to ‘dekho  the picture postcard perfect scenic beauty of the Rockies against he backdrop of  deep  blue sunny skies .His conversation took an apologetic note as to last this…last time that…because by now the rain came down  in sheets. I assured him that if driving was not a pain with him in the in Clementine weather I was thoroughly enjoying the novelty of it all .He seemed relieved and we relaxed.

We’ drove on in the brand new car on strong engineered straight road  with the river  along side . swirling  around the   trees downstream. to me resembling Tim Horton’s Coffee Double Double  as he likes it. I pointed out the  slurpy river gushing down looking so inviting in the cold rain ! Imagine a  hot chocolate river cascading down. engulfing the Evergreen trees . Calgary is dotted with the X-mas trees. It  makes  the place look so  festive !For quite sometime we went on and on a straight flat road with a prairie like terrain until we turned a long bend of the road and there we were hit by the sight of mammoth mountains seemed like holding hands blocking our way . It looked like a cull-de sac in the far horizon. Even as we were admiring it the clouds rushed in and covered the Rockies with their white mantle . .With the rain and clouds in play the far away sentinels disappeared from our sight.

With the pattering raindrops playing the drums overhead ,keeping time with the running commentary of my brother extolling the scenic beauty of the area we were traversing on sunny days that he had experienced when he was there on previous occasions… I didn’t miss much. So we were  on the Ice field Parkway road in high spirits with the sole aim of enjoying the day -come rain or storm!

Believe me I experienced the most spectacular long drive . .Even as I write I cannot imagine travelling through a diverse  variety of landscapes . Effortlessly and smoothly we overtook many a tourists  cars and buses. Different makes of the cars made the road so colourful .Technology  exhibition in motion  does not give one  a monotonous /dull moment. Many caravan trailers  were on the road .He explained that it was like home on wheels , very exciting especially when travelling with the entire family…they also had different rest areas. Many cars had a trailer holding their boats and bikes, fishing poles.

We  reached  Banff Town area .The name Banff comes from Banffshire, Scotland ,birthplace of a major financer of the Canadian Pacific  Railways ,elevation 1,384 ft.

Banff is a quaint town surrounded by six mountain ranges of Rocky mountain. It seemed that we were in a sort of an arena.The elks and deers roaming around nibbling from the foliage are used to the tourists and don’t mind modeling their antlers . We parked our car very near one of them and saw those huge big innocent beautiful eyes . He gave a  nonchalant look to our admiring eyes and continued nibbling. We  happily took a few pictures. Every summer the elks grow their antlers and every autumn shed it, my brother informed me.   The drizzle slowly turned to a heavy one, we hurriedly took a few videos and ran into the McDonald s to grab a Coffee ,sipping the creamy liquid watching Banff go by ..ran back to our car   …started our onward journey captured the Sulphur springs , as a  background with both of us posing happily contended . Had a snack at  the Castle like five star hotel and off we  went to  the  Banff National Park . Driving through it he told me , that it was the animal’s habitat and we human’s were sort of trespassing … we spotted a little crowd  at the roadside faraway …. we slowed down  he told me that perhaps it was some animal and sure enough we were treated to a mother bear and baby bear duo  alongside the road in a little clearing ...giving  the crowd  a royal ignore busy eating something . They looked so very cute ! There was a hushed silence of awe .They had us totally bowled over it was an epic moment which every one of us were trying to capture on our videos or camera .The excitement  of the audience was spilling on the road and the cars were lining up …however the discipline of the crowd was amazing as the ones who had enjoyed the mother and child bliss drove off  making place for new arrivals of fellow tourists to witness the humane scene of the black grizzly bears!. two for joy indeed! For quite a few miles the bears dominated our conversation .We felt like the proverbial ‘licking the cream’ and something to crow about for a long time to come!

 To be continued…..

    

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