So, anyway, the three of us went to Drumheller. I took loads and loads of pictures, because I'm putting together a CD of them to send home with Mayu. Some of the key ones are below:
(Some of these pictures were taken through the window of a moving car, and may not be entirely focused)
Windfarms, which are popping up across Alberta
Bleriot Ferry, which uses the power of the river's current and some stationary cables to move back and forth and carry up to about 6-8 cars across the river.
I've decided that I want a career change. I want to be the guy who rides the ferry back and forth all day and waves the vehicles on and off.
An oil Derrick, because this is Alberta.
We spent about three hours at the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology, learning about dinosaurs and seeing fossils. We were able to rent a little machine that had a pre-recorded guided tour in Japanese for Mayu. At each major exhibit, she put it to her ear and listened to a description of what she was seeing and other related scientific tidbits.
After the museum, we stopped to see the HooDoos.
Then we stopped to cross a suspension bridge that crosses the Red Deer River. It goes over to an abandoned mine, which is closed, so the point is to cross it, get jostled around and not fall on your ass. It's essentially made of chain link, so it was a wobbly trip.
Really, though, what I liked most was the scenery. I think I may have scared my dad when I started to point out the houses for sale and talk about the costs/logistics of moving to the area.
After the suspension bridge, we took a roundabout route home and stopped north of Calgary at the Cross Iron Mills Mall. (Mayu is a 16 year old girl, after all.) We managed to track down gifts for each of her parents, and chocolates for her - and I quote - "homies". I did not teach her that word.
We got home in the early evening, ate some left over pizza for dinner and watched the Mr Bean movie. (For the record, Mr Bean transcends language barriers, and is apparently laugh out loud funny to Mayu as well.) It was a good but very long day. I was (am) absolutely exhausted. I felt like I needed toothpicks to keep my eyes open to get to the end of the movie, but Mayu was enjoying it and I knew that she'd go to bed if I did.
When it was finally over, I went to let the dogs out for their final pee of the day and I realized that tonight is the first night since Mayu arrived that it's been a clear sky. She had three wishes when she arrived in Canada - see the mountains, taste maple syrup and see the stars. The stars are the last one on her list to do, so we couldn't pass it up. We jumped into the car in our sandals, pjs and wet hair and headed down the road to the edge of town. There, Mayu got a clearer view of the stars than she's ever seen before. (Apparently, the cities are so bright in Japan that stars are very dim, as well as few and far between.)
I don't know the constellations very well, but I showed her the big dipper and the north star. Then we got back into the car, opened up the sun roof and Mayu rode home with her neck cranked, looking up through the sun roof to watch as many stars for as long as she could.