superbowl49: party of a lifetime

This was America’s version of heading to Mecca. A ride to the Stadium that should have been twenty minutes was an hour and a half. It wasn’t the drones I had to fear, it was the crowds. In the end, the Seahawk’s cheerleaders were kind, subdued but ticked by that last call, but reasonable.

Should I feel bad for the cardboard signs with people attached on the side of the road: “father and son looking for two tickets” or “two real fans looking for two real tickets”. Or were they going to resell them for $24,000? That was apparently the highest purchase of resold tickets.

The pre-Super Bowl party with Tostitos (product placement) and barbecued pork and beef and free Bud Lite, le Dulce de leche empanadas and enough churros to pad my belly for winter… with a cover band of Journey, Neil Diamond, and Kesha, and two stepping to Zac Brown Band, we had crazy fun. I stood feet away from Emmett Smith. Americans know how to party–make Canadians look sedated.

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We argued out who deserved the bar seats in the Arizona sun more, them or us. (The Arizona sun finally came out on Super Bowl day). Turns out they are from a town only an hour away from our home.

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It was worth the show. I am now a reformed ‘disinterested football trophy wife’. That was a crazy fun football ride, watching Seattle and New England play ping pong in the last quarter. I’m guessing my husband was a little surprised by my intensity. Were we watching the same show?

The halftime show was amazing. Though I think your visual memory would be better than mine if you were watching it close up at home. Certainly my photos aren’t better.

Halfway I told my husband I felt bad cheering so heartily when the other side is losing. Naturally, he was in disbelief, and told me to imagine them as Satan, it would make it easier. But then I couldn’t stop nervously twitching in the last quarter, hoping Seahawks wouldn’t lose momentum when momentum moved in favour of New England. Pray Seahawks fans, I wrote. Later, I’d remember that God loves cheaters too.

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Our private charter bus was one of dozens, hundreds maybe. 72,000 in attendance, and they all parked at the mall.

Americans know how to take advantage of supply and demand. $6 water bottles? $6 pretzels? My only gripe, which I happily air, because it’s a sincere gripe, is listening to the forty old woman behind me whine about how long the charter took to get out of the parking lot after the event. And whine, and whine, and whine. My third world exposure might heighten my reaction. I wanted to turn around and tell her to be quiet. Do you know the privilege you must have to be able to attend an event like this? Suck it up. Anywho, minus this most unsavoury example of first world problems, and first world spoiledness, we were whisked home (two hours travel time) to discover the resort restaurant was overrun. I stood in a McDonald’s car line to discover that won’t serve me without a car (my husband did tell me that). Dinner was a microwave warmed gas station hamburger. And more minibar M&Ms. And I won’t complain.

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Arizona: first thoughts

Officially, we in Canada call this snowbirding…leaving the dregs of winter for balmy dry Arizona.

First thoughts on Arizona? It’s rainy. Not expecting to feel humidity in the air as we left the PHX airport.

Apparently they’ve been in a serious drought. How do they know they’re in drought where there are twenty foot cacti everywhere…

The only sun I’ve seen was the Prairie sun, beaming through my WestJet window seat in Calgary, Alberta.

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A male dominated flight if I’ve ever seen one.

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A few trophy wives. That would make me one right? I’ll have to find some silicone, botox and stop eating the mini-bar m&ms.

We had a full flight and were exhorted to tattle on passengers with too many carry-ons. I’d be more worried about the numbers of beers each passenger consumed. Par-tay. This flight was high school incarnate: “How many beers have you had, six?” somebody asked. We had none. Instead invested our life savings in crackers and hummus.

There are 4.3 million in metro Phoenix. A hefty million in Phoenix proper. By tomorrow, there might be double.

On our drive from the airport, Phoenix reminded me of Calgary, Alberta…as though we were on Deer Foot, until I saw the space age overpass. Later, I saw more Kamloops, British Columbia–the semi-arid Canadian city, plus a slew of cacti and more craggy hills. Jim noticed they washed their cars more…and that there’s a lot of xeriscaping going on.

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I do like my cacti…first plant I ever owned. In Canada of course. And it fit in the palm of my hand.

On our hike this morning, we saw a huge mosque. On our bus ride to Super Bowl media downtown, we saw the Sunny Slope Mennonite church. Oh, and the Paradise Hills Assembly of God church is for sale. Anyone want to snowbird the entire congregation for the winter?

Coming from a teeny mountain town with next to no fast food restaurants, this place is surprising. Huge fast food restaurants. The city is sprawling. Houses are big. Stores are ultra big box stores. And of course, there are lots of really big people.

Really friendly people. Always eager with a smile and a hello, and that’s not just on the resort. People getting off the bus would thank the driver. That is new to me. Very friendly people that like to chat. I’ve been told I have an accent. And I didn’t even say “eh”. Always eager to chit chat, I can talk comfortably with most strangers. But my football repartee is severely lacking so I’ll just to have smile brightly and warmly gaze at my husband till he translates…ahhh, yes, a practicing “trophy wife”.

I’ve never seen a shopping mall that busy. Four times as busy as Christmas. Might be that ESPN is filming out its back door. My husband was on ESPN. No, not being interviewed. No, not sitting pretty beside the interviewer. Not even really his full figure cheering from behind the set. More like, his shadow was on ESPN.

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Our American continental breakfast is the most decadent continental I’ve seen. Krispy Kreme doughnuts and cheeses and salamis and apple cheddar sausages and croissants and freshly made omelets, orange juice freshly squeezed from the orange trees out front.

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How is one supposed to stay trim with big box fast food restaurants and breakfasts like these? Maybe there’s no need, because the emergencies promise fifteen minutes to see their medical doctor.

It’s been two years ago since my husband and I have had a weekend away alone, and I’m loving it. I’ll make my own sun.

a Canadian road trip

Okay, we’re just heading to the largest airport near us, but this is a twelve hour driving trip. Because we’re nestled far in the mountains of southern British Columbia, the nearest airport is nicknamed “Cancelgar” — a play on its name, because it has a reputation for cancelling flights. Too many clouds in the valley.

Five minutes from our door, we first took the largest, free ferry in North America, and enjoyed the view.

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Some of us chose the electronic view…

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We took the newer vehicle in hopes of avoiding mechanical troubles, only to have a gasket explode in the new vehicle.

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A Canadian road trip includes a visit to Tim’s…for the bathroom, and other things.

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We waited a good couple hours to have that fixed. Four kids on the side of the road in winter. Good times. But fifteen years, we’ve learned to keep our cool.

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Start at 8 in the morning and find ourselves nestled in an airport hotel at ten at night. Minus the kids. We left them with grandma and grandpa.

A trip all on our own? What will we do….in Phoenix…