In-ver-beginning


In-ver-beginning!!! In-the-beginning!!! God I'm clever. Now all I need to do is come up with 4 months more of clever blog titles that relate to Invermere. Shouldn't be too challenging.

So my plan this morning was to scout out Invermere properly. I'm still not feeling at 100%. But I feel a damn sight better than I did on the day that I arrived. Or even yesterday for that matter. I got up as normal. Shower, breakfast, that kind of crap. And I'm getting ready to go out into Invermere at a bit after 10:00. I haven't really been out onto my balcony yet, so just for a quick morning stretch, and just because I have a balcony, I open the door and peer out.

Moose-rabbit I know this isn't London. So I know to expect wild animals to come wondering through town. But what the fuck is that? I look out from my balcony, and sitting on this grassy knoll, is some kind of cocktail animal. I've encountered moose a few times before. And that's no moose. I've seen a few elk in my time. And that's no elk. And I've seen a shit-load of deer. And that is no deer. It was some kind of creature made up of the body of a moose with the head of a rabbit. Seriously have no idea what that was. I guess there'll be plenty of wildlife like that greeting me over the coming months. So get used to the moose-rabbits.

This was the first time that I'd been into Invermere with any real intention other than food or Internet. It's not a big place, so I figure why not just walk down every street with a shop on? It won't take me long, and I'll get an idea of what the town has. You know Canada worries me. In what this town of supposedly 5,000 people actually has. It looks a lot less than 5,000 to me. I guess that includes all the surrounding area. Because the number of people actually in the town; that can't even be 1,000. And in such a small place, what are the essential ammenities that the town would need? Where would you want your council tax to be spent? I haven't seen a petrol station anywhere yet. I haven't seen a public bus; just one bus-stop. But what I have found, bang in the middle of Invermere downtown, is a curling rink. A fucking curling rink. You'd think they'd get enough of sweeping ice throughout the Winter in a place like this. I guess not. They also sweep ice for fun. Maybe this way they can sweep ice all year round. Fuck me. A fucking curling rink for fucks sake.

Anyway, early on on my travels around town, I come to a winter-sports store. It's closed, which is great. But peering through the window, I can see a few skis. It doesn't open until 11:00, so this'll have to be on my to-do list for the way back. Not far from here, I also get my first decent view of Lake Windermere. People were always banging on about this damn lake when I was looking for accomodation. "Appatment near lake Windermere, house near lake Windermere," that kind of crap. And to be fair, it's fucking huge. It'd be like saying "House for rental. Right by the Atlantic Ocean." Well maybe that's a mild exaggeration, but it was pretty damn big. If I'd had my camera with me, it would have made some pretty nice photos. But I didn't. It was all frozen over though, with just a few obvious cracks in the ice. And with the mountain backdrop, I'm sure I'll be back there with my camera before long.

Anyway, I carry on through downtown. And I get to Sobeys, which is pretty much on the end of the shops. There was a Subway and an A&W burger on the way into town. And I'm thinking to myself; do I really want to walk all the way down this damn hill. There probably isn't anything else at the bottom. In the end though, my business degree comes back to haunt me. I was thinking: If I owned a ski-shop, and wanted to compete with the shop that was right in downtown, where would I situate myself? And my answer to that, was right at the town entrance. The shop in downtown wasn't obvious, being slightly down a side-road. So if I was new in town, and I needed ski-equipment, where would I go? I can't see anywhere in downtown, so I'll go to the place that I passed on the way into town. It just seemed to make good business sense, so fuck it. I needed the exercise if nothing else, so I started off down this hill. And sure enough, as I get to the bottom, a little way past the Subway, I come across some kind of snowboard shop. I guess I was just distracted by the Subway as I was coming into town. So I wonder in. And I look at skis for a couple of minutes. Which is nice. The only problem is, that to me, the only good or bad thing I can tell you about one set of skis to another, is the colour. And if I'd bought a pair there and then, that would be the sole basis for my purchase. Luckily I must have looked like a retard, because before long, one of the sales people has come over to me.

He's a tubby fucker in a hat. Though despite his obvious lack of desire to do anything sporty, he does seem to know about skiing. So we talk for a while. He tells me a load of things about skis that I don't understand. Just kind of nod and smile as he starts banging on about the way the skis are put together. Then we move onto boots. And that conversation goes pretty much the same way. And then onto goggles, and helmets, and binding, whatever the fuck that is. After all of that, I've got a load of information that means nothing to me. In the end, I pretty much say, "How much to kit me up with everything that I'll need then?" And for skis, with binding, boots, helmet and goggles, I'll be looking at around $1,000. Obviously I don't make that kind of purchase without sleeping on it, so I thank him for his help, and get the fuck out of there. As parting words, he does say to me, "If you buy it all here, obviously we could arrange some kind of deal for you."

I didn't understand too much of what this guy was saying. But I liked him. He seemed pretty genuine.

There was another shop just across the street from here. There's probably only about 5 buildings in a 100 metre radius, so when I say right across the street, not as in right across the street as in London. There's nothing obvious to say that this place even does ski equipment, but I wonder over to have a look anyway. Turns out they do. So I walk in and have a look at the skis I like the colour of, look lost for a bit, and wait for someone to come and help me. Now you know how I've been saying that they hide all the fat people away in Canada. Well they do. They hide them in the ski-shops. Clever I guess, because you'll only have to see them once a year. But I get some help from this cholestorally challenged female working there. She's pretty much just like the last fat person, and she starts banging on about all sorts of jargon that means fuck all to me. Are you wanting to go in-park, or something like that, she says. I'm not sure if it was in-park. But something along those lines. To save face I just say "Yeah. Well I want to do pretty much everything." Then she starts banging on about parks for a while whilst I stand there "hmmmm"ing. Once she finally gets to recommending me a pair of skis, when I ask her how much, they don't have a price on. She brings back a man, who I can only assume is the owner, and he starts recommending me some different skis. But then she insists that those skis wouldn't be right for me, because they wouldn't be any good in parks, or something like that.

I need not only skis, but need pretty much everything else, so I then start asking about boots and stuff. I think this guy saw me as a guy he could make a few bucs out of. Because he then took over from the fat girl, and starts making rubbish jokes to me. And I ask him about boots. And before telling me anything, he motions me over to a load of ex-rental boots that he has. "You're looking at $300 for new boots. These are only $100." Wow! I might look a bit funny, but money is one thing that I do. And I can sense in a second when someone is trying to pull the wool over my eyes. And this guy was trying to shift some dodgy used boots on me. You could just tell, by the way he was looking at me, by the way he was talking, that he sensed that he could screw me out of some dollar, and he was going to see what he could get. Before I know what's happening, I'm trying on one of these ex-rental boots, and pretending to be interested in all these great facts about these boots, despite having absolutely no intention of buying them. The stuff you rent to people, is always the shittest available. When that stuff is no longer good enough to be rented out, do you think I'm going to pay $100 for it? I don't think so jackass. Anyway, we finish off here. The whole package of what I need, poles on top of what I got quoted in the last shop, about $1,000. Ex-rental boots 'n' all. That was a quick no.

So it seems that to get myself fully kitted for the Winter, will set me back about $1,000. That's a lot of money! Maybe a months pay up the mountain. I didn't really realise I'd be looking at that. What I will say though, is that if I'm buying them anywhere, it would be from the first shop. He seemed a lot more chilled out and trustworthy. Like I'd actually leave the store with what I wanted. The second one would just rape me for every penny that he could. And I'd leave the store with shit. But at least now I knew that I could buy what I needed in Invermere. No need to go to Calgary. Which was something of a relief. Even if it would cost me $1,000.

I'd only walked down one side of the street in downtown by now. And although I was going back to the condo on the other side, I figured why not do my daily shop whilst I'm at Sobey's. I hadn't seen any other obvious ski shops on the other side of the street. And I had an empty backpack on, so why not throw a few things in it as I'm on the way home. I'm still in the phase of stocking up my cupboards with staple kinds of foods. The things that I'd just expect to be in the kitchen regardless. And I am so short of vitamins that I'd have had by the bucket-load before I left England, that fruit was high on the agenda. A bag full of apples, and a shit-load of tinned fruit. One thing I'm noticing about Invermere: Food is fucking expensive here. Buying the cheapest brand of everything; it still doesn't work out cheap. I still haven't bought any bread yet, because the cheapest loaf is typically costing $3. That's like £1.65 or something. That's crazy money. I think I might make myself a little thinner for the Winter. Because at these prices, eating a little bit less, will make you a shit-load better off. Today was also a day of stocking up on other essentials, like rice, and tinned safari animals pasta in tomato sauce with cheese. I guess I'm almost fully stocked up now.

Having a full backpack of food now, I wasn't going to bother going back to the ski-shop that was closed as I walked through downtown earlier. I had the information that I needed; it was going to cost me $1,000. I didn't need to know much more. But in the end I thought fuck it. It can't hurt. So I walk into this store. The girl behind the counter is busy with some guy telling a really, really, really, really, really, really, fascinating story about some guy who got a free lift-pass for buying so many pairs of underwear once. Oh it was really a doozy. And I walk to the back of this place where all the skis are. And there really isn't much. And what there is doesn't even look that good. I mean I just didn't like the colours. The sales girl is still tied up with the underwear story, so I'm about to walk out. But as I'm going, I can hear that it's getting to the end of the story, so I stop and pretend to look at ski-boots for a few seconds. Like fuck I know what I'm looking at, but this guy soon leaves before I can finally get some help from the chic working there.

So I kind of explain my situation. I'm a shit skiier, but I need good all around skis that'll last me all Winter and that I can get better on. And I need everything else to get started on as well. "Well I guess the most important thing to get started with, is boots" she says to me. "What size are you?" And she pulls out these boots. She's really helpful. She doesn't bang on about a load of things to do with boots that I don't understand. She tells me how to put the boots on the best. This is what I need! Tips on how to get dressed. Not about the fucking bindings, or whatever the fuck it is. And she even helps me get the boots on.

This chic man... she didn't jump out at me when I first walked in the store. But the more I'm talking to her, the more I realise I think I'm actually in love with her. She's got that really natural pretty. Not caked in make-up. But just a really naturally pretty face. And when she's on her knees in front of me helping me put on those boots... you know how my mind works. Classy as well. Just showing a good amount of cleavage. Not enough to look like a slut, but enough that when she's looking in the other direction you can get a good glance down her top. I never even realised it as I came in... but damn. I think I'm in love. Really cool girl to talk to as well. With the fat sales-people I was just getting jargon. They were just trying to sell me stuff. This chic was just cool. Just chatting. Finding out what I needed.

And those boots that I'm trying on... $40! $40! The other places were trying to sell me boots for $300. These were second-hand, but they were still a shit-load better than those $100 ex-rentals in the last place. The most expensive boots here; the top, top ones: They only cost about $280. That's $20 cheaper than the shittest ones in the other places. Then we move onto skis. This whole shop is about 50% new, 50% used. And I kind of tell her what I'm looking for. All-round skis, good for a beginner, but that I could still use once I get good. And she tries to recommend some, but she's really honest. She pretty much says to me: "I could try and sell you these. But the real ski expert is Stacy, the owner. Stacy'll be in on Saturday, so you'll be better placed coming in then. I could try and sell you these, but we don't want you coming back in a week saying Why did you sell me these?" Now I know what you're thinking. Stacy. I bet they make-out in the stock-room all the time. Turns out Stacy is a guy, which is just disappointing. I think I can trick my brain into thinking otherwise though. After that I say to her: "Well you could have sold me those. I wouldn't have known any better." To which she replies, "That's really not what we're about. We just want to make sure that people leave with the equipment that is right for them." Man I am so glad that I found this place. I go on telling her that in the other shops they were quoting me $1,000 for everything. Apparenly it's all this years flashy new models. What the fuck does that mean to me? This years, last years. It's all the same damn thing to me. They're just bits of wood that you slide on. Apparently if you want to look the bollocks on the mountain, you go to those shops. I don't give a fuck what I look like, so I guess I'll be getting my stuff from here. Maybe second-hand. The first pair of boots that I tried on actually fit. And they were only $40. I hope I don't regret not buying them there and then!

Anyway, we get back onto boots somehow. And she tells me to call back in, in a day or 2. Because at the moment everyone is bringing in second-hand equipment. And some more stuff in my size could come in at any moment. And then she pulls out a business card for the shop. Actually, it was a fridge-magnet. So, classy. And she writes her name on the front. Devyn. And asks me my name. Then puts out her hand to shake hands. Now is it just me, or does this go beyond the normal practise of a normal sales person? First-name terms. Physical contact. I'm just saying. And as I'm leaving, she says something like "Make sure to call in a couple of days. Ask for me." Now am I reading this really, really wrongly. Which is very, very, likely judging by my history of getting things wrong. Or was there something there? What I can say, is that regardless, I think I pretty much love her. She was amazingly hot once I'd really noticed her. And she had a really cool personality. My kind of girl. But then I could be reading this all wrong. She might genuinely have just given me her name and number so I could call her to talk about skis. I just don't know. What I do know, is that I'm more than likely now to get my skiing equipment from this place, judging by the amount of money that it could save me. So even though Stacy is actually a guy, I'll probably be in there on Saturday to talk to him. Maybe Devyn will be there as well. Who knows? And hey. Seeing as there's only one young person pub in the whole town, I'm sure I'll see her again soon. Though as happens more often than not in this predicament, I've read the whole situation wrongly. And in fact she's engaged to the biggest person in all of Invermere. That'd be a blow.

You know, that when I write things like that, it's exactly why I'm too cautious about telling people about this website. I'd happily tell people who I'm never going to see again all about this website. But what if someone in Invermere happens to catch onto this blog? I am 100% honest in what I write here. And as has been proven many times before, honesty gets you in a lot of shit. Outside of this blog, I lie my balls off in everyday life. And it never serves me too badly. But I want an accurate account of my travelling. Which means that regardless of what's happening elsewhere, I will tell the absolute truth in this blog. But what if someone in Invermere does happen to read it? I've pretty much declared my undying love for a girl I met for about 5 minutes, earler in a ski shop. It wouldn't make me look too good. Let's put it that way. What if Devyn happened to read it? Well for a start, her huge boyfriend would soon come knocking on my door. Plus she'd never talk to me again, which would mean that I'd have to shop at one of the expensive ski shops. And I can't afford that. And if it got too awkward that I couldn't go out in the one young person pub in town... I'd have to sit at home everynight. Now it's not that I say anything here untruthful, so in theory I'm not doing anything wrong. But people lie in their lives everyday. Even if they don't lie verbally, they lie with their expressions, the way that they act around people. Maybe subconsciously, but they do. That's how we exist as peoples. Because if people knew the absolute truth about how everyone felt about them, then they wouldn't be able to co-exist. No one would be friends with anyone else if true feelings were revealed. And that's kind of what I try to do here. I lay out exactly how I feel. No punches pulled: This is how I feel. Which is great for me to look back on one day. But if people that I'm currently interacting with, did happen to know exactly how I feel. Damn, it could cause some shit. People just aren't designed to know the depths of emotion regarding one another, that I occasionally reveal. And if they did, they wouldn't be able to co-exist. So there's a part of me that thinks, fuck it, I'm not doing anything wrong, just keeping a blog. I haven't told a single lie in any of my blog entries. Not deliberately anyway. So why do I not tell people about it? But then there's another part, that just thinks that if people really knew what went on inside my head... they'd probably never talk to me again. And these blogs only scratch the surface of some of the weird crap that runs through my brain at times. But still. It intrigues me somewhat, to know whether or not I would still keep these blogs in the fashion that I do, if I knew that everyone that I spent my daily lives with, was going to read them. I don't know. But I guess that's why I don't exactly run around shouting about it from the roof-tops. The less-people that know, the less I have to worry about any consequence.

Once I'd left Devyn, I headed back up to the condo. Bit of lunch, watch some NFL which I'd completely forgotten was on because it was thanksgiving in the US, and I organised the photos I'd taken from Vancouver, so they were ready to be uploaded to the photo gallery. One problem there, I don't have Internet. So I headed down to the library in the hope that their one laptop connection wasn't being used. And it wasn't.

I was thinking before I left for the library, "fuck this. I can go 1 whole day without Internet can't I?" Well evidently, no. But this time, I'm glad that I didn't. First off, I have another email from Matt Someone, one of my managers from Panorama. Seeing as I won't now be getting skis until as early as Saturday, going off to Banff or anything this weekend, is way out of the question. I was though thinking: I have my orientaion on the 4th. And my first day of training isn't until the 8th. That's 3 full days to get away from Invermere to try and find some place to learn to ski. Not anymore. The first day of training has been moved to the 7th. So with only 2 full days to go anywhere else, learning to ski here was out of the question. But at least I know now. It does though mean, that assuming that I buy skis on Saturday, the 29th, the only possible period where I could get out of Invermere and teach myself to ski, would be from say, the 30th to the 03rd. Though with Greg arriving bang in the middle of that period, I'd have to bail on being here as he arrived. Which might be a bit harsh. Though at the same time, I would quite like to save myself the embarressment of looking like a nob on the first day on the mountain. Though making Greg find this place by himself, and let himself in without a key, is probably a bit much. I'll have to think that over.

The next important email I got, was from the FSCS in England, finally allowing me to initiate my claim for my Icesave savings, which means that once it gets delivered to one of my other accounts, I should have a few extra funds that I could access. Not that I really want it. Having money locked away like that means I can't get drunk and spend it on hookers or strippers or something. Though having to pay out of the ass for bits of wood to slide down the mountain on, I guess it'll be nice to have access to.

And then finally, I was uploading my photos from Vancouver. And this took a lot longer than anticipated. So there was a lot of sitting around finding shit to look at on the Internet as I was waiting. So I check my adsense account. That's the account where the money I earn from the ads at the side of the page goes to. And guess what? Someone has actually clicked on one of my ads!!! This isn't the first time this has happened. It's just the first time it has happened when it wasn't me. So whoever you are out there, I just want to say thankyou. You have contributed 24¢ to the Jro travel fund. And for that I salute you. Google rules prohibit me from asking people to click on these ads. So I want to make it clear that I am not encouraging in any way, shape, or form, that anyone clicks on the adverts on this page. However, if you do happen to see a product advertised that appeals to you, then it is in the interest of both them and me, that you click through. So feel free to click through. I'm not encouraging you to do so. But just feel free to. As much as you want. The fact that doing so will contribute to my travel budget is merely a side-issue. This is your decision. This is your life.

Incidentally, if you happen to want to search Google for anything, and happen to use the search box at the top of the page, and then happen to click on one of the sponsored links that you find, it's ok to do that to. Obviously I am not encouraging such an act. But I'm just saying that if it happens, then it's ok. It's ok.

But a big thankyou to the first person who isn't me, to click on an ad on this site. Your contribution is very much welcomed. I hope the link served your every need and desire.

Anyway, I found that out as I was uploading my Vancouver photos. I only just got the photos uploaded and the tags edited before the library closed. So if you do happen to find any mishaps within the Vancouver photo album, then let me know. Because I haven't had a chance to check through it yet. I damn sure need Internet if I'm going to keep this website though. I still haven't been able to upload my video of the Seahawks game. I have to arrange myself some kind of Internet.

After the library, it was back here for steak. And after the steak, it was writing this blog. So essentially, I could have written this blog with the sentence: Got up, went to shops, went to library, ate steak. If you've made it this far though, then I bet you're really happy that I just told you that. It's not like you had anything important to do with that 10 minutes anyway. Was it?


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