Calgary, Amber and Eric’s Wedding and Rainmageddon

Taking a little break from Italy pictures, noa and i arrived safely in calgary last thursday for Amber and Eric’s Wedding.

First off, congratulations to the newly wedded couple. it was a fantastic wedding, i thoroughly enjoyed myself, and it seemed like everyone around me did too. Amazing job Amber and Eric!

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So having said that, let me put some context to this weekend.

we landed in calgary at 1pm local time, and got to our very nice hotel downtown. Since we were hungry, we wandered to downtown calgary to find some food. Now, downtown calgary is an interesting place. i dont know if many people live there or not, but there were not a lot of people around. i guess everyones working, but still, downtown vancouver is always hustling and busting, and so is Tel Aviv, for that matter.

a very desolate downtown

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There are some nice things to see though.

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so we had lunch, then walked back to the hotel, and decided to go to the hot tub. at this point, we were both feeling RIDICULOUSLY jet lagged, and we thought this might wake us up. Well that plan backfired, being in really hot water just makes you more tired. also at this point i felt like the world was spinning around me while i walked. but we had to persavere, and make it to at least 10pm so we would not wake up in the middle of the night. So we then took a short hour nap, and forced ourselves back up and went for dinner. now at this point it had been raining off and on all day. we managed to not get really wet, but at dinner the heavens opened up on us and we did get a little drenched.

So apparently before we had arrived, there was some serious flooding going on in some area’s of alberta. everyone was talking about it, and it did seem like it was pretty rainy. before arriving, i assumed summer in calgary is nice and hot, and the same in BC. well, apparently we misjudged, because we see nothing but rain in the forecast, and i packed a lot of shorts. good work me. but anyways, so everyone was talking about the rain and flooding, but we didn’t think much of it. So we made it to 10pm finally, and passed the heck out. the next morning, we woke around 8am, and noa got her laptop and was like, this is weird, i guess the outlet broke, my laptop is only half charged. in our sleep daze, im like, weird. and i go over to the bathroom to turn on the light and low and behold, theres no power!

So we get dressed, and go downstairs to find out whats going on and to eat breakfast, and we enter pandemonium. No one knew whats going on, and theres hotel guests loitering around everywhere. The hotel staff tells us there is no breakfast in the hotel, and so we go and wander the streets again to try to find some food. as we are wandering, we notice there is no power in a 8 block radius from our hotel. and all the restaurants have signs that say due to the evacuation, we are closed today! what the heck! so we keep walking and walking, and finally the only food we find is a continental breakfast at another hotel that has power. so we eat there, and then return to our hotel.

At this point, they have a better idea of whats going on. they tell us power was shut off on them, due to the likelihood that the river will overflow and take out the substation. then we get an email from amber telling us she has rebooked everyone into another hotel thats higher up. We ask the hotel staff if we can cancel our reservations, and they inform me that if you have somewhere else to go, go. they did not think they would get power back that evening at all. Then we find out bill and ruth are in the hotel, we call them, and we all pack our bags and meet in the lobby. Bill drove, so we manage to cram all our stuff into the little civic, and he drives us to the alternate hotel. Amazingly amber managed to rebook all 40 guests from the one hotel to the other. not what you want to be doing the day before your wedding day!

While all this is going on, theres another panic on two fronts. One, noa and i were going to drive back from calgary to vancouver today, staying the night at Lake louise, then jasper, and driving home. Noa has never seen the rockies, and this was our big opportunity to do so! Well, eric’s brother, Dan, and the band, the moonshine express, were doing a BC to Alberta Tour, and had played in Banff on thursday night. the following morning, when they tried to leave, they found out that highway 1 had been washed out by the river, and to the north the road had a landslide or something and to the west there was flooding on the road! they were trapped on three sides, and could not get to calgary! banff is only 1.5 hours away, but there physically was no way to get out.

So when we found this out, we quickly cancelled our hotels and rental car, and rebooked ourselves on a flight to vancouver. so that disaster was averted, but now there was the added disaster that Dan, groomsman and brother, and the band were not going to make it to the wedding!

Then we decided to see what all the fuss was about, so bill decided to hold a disaster tour, and take some of us to the river to see what was going on. well, we were not alone in doing so. it seemed half of calgary was walking about, since no one downtown was working anyways. so we got to the river, and this is what we saw.

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Holy Moly, that was nuts. and the water was creeping up on all sides of the river banks, going in to downtown too. So having seen that, it put a little context to how bad this really was. That evening there was a little get together, and everyone was talking about how the guys in banff were going to get to the wedding. we all had high hopes for them, but it seemed super bleak, and were positive there was no way they could get out of banff.

The following morning, on the wedding day, we all took a school bus to the wedding venue, which took about an hour since so many roads were flooded and closed. when we got there, low and behold, there was the band! they made it! apparently they left at 2am that morning, and there was one road they were able to take out of town. they drove through wheel high water down one highway, and took a 11h detour to get to calgary! they had been driving all night and got to the venue at 2 and set up! so crazy. everyone was relieved that they made it safe and sound, and the wedding was off to a great start!

So today im posting these images, and writing this up, while we wait to check out of the hotel and take our flight to vancouver. we will be in a few days earlier than we had planned, but we will put that to good use and try to visit with people these next few days before we go to the island for a week.


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