Cool Runnings in Alberta.

Traveling from Jamaica to Canada is super easy – if only reaching other Caribbean islands was as simple!  A direct flight from Kingston to Toronto takes just 4 hours. And then about the same again to reach our final destination of Calgary. But the best bit is the whole flight cost about $500 bucks – bargains. Its gone midnight when we arrive in Calgary and the pilot tells us it’s minus 20 but feels like minus 22 outside.

From Jamaica to Canada
Jamaican Bobsleigh at Calgary Olympic Park

My husband throws his goose down jacket over me reassuringly and tells me to clamp my hands in my armpits for extra warmth. Arrivals is a curious mixture of cowboys, pyjama clad women and people sleeping. For some reason I feel like I’ve stepped back in time. It all feels really weird, I whisper to my husband.

 

Practicing plyometrics for warmth at Lake Louise
Practicing plyometrics for warmth at Lake Louise
Now, where did we park the car?
Now, where did we park the car?

The moment we leave the double doors of the airport, the cold grips me, after only a few seconds it feels unbearable. The sort of cold that hurts to breathe and gradually slows down your speech. So I open the white rum we’ve brought as a gift and take a swig in an attempt to warm up. It’s just like the airport scene in Cool Runnings, my husband declares with a wide grin on his face.  I’ll gloss over the 15 minutes we spent wandering aimlessly around the car park in the biting cold searching for the car. When we finally find it, we can’t get in; as the locks are frozen.

Smiling but I can't actually feel my face.
Smiling but I can’t actually feel my face.

I stand watching, as our friend desperately pulls at the driver door. He’s using his leg to try and create some kind of useless wedge. By this stage, I’m hurting all over so badly and can no longer feel my hands. Fortunately, for us, the trunk does open and we’re able to get in, albeit head first. The journey to our friend’s place I’m told is like a winter wonderland.
Look the Calgary Tower, someone shouts. I can’t appreciate it myself as my eyelids have stuck together with the January cold. The heating in the car is more of an arctic blast than warming air. The next day I fill up on coffee, soup, grilled cheese and delicious pancakes with Canadian maple syrup at  Red’s Diner on 4th and I’m all set to make my journey to the Rockies.

Cross-country skiing at Emerald Lake, BC
Cross-country skiing at Emerald Lake, BC

 

On our way to the Rockies
On our way to the Rockies

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