T'was a peculiar day here in Winnipeg. I had a good sized breakfast at A&W to start the day off (don't do that by the way, their coffee is very nearly unbearable) and then stopped off at a nice computer store to rewrite yesterday's blog post, contact more Couch Surfing hosts, and send out some important emails. I was sitting there smackdab in the centre of the showroom floor on a Mac desktop for about two hours and they were absolutely cool with it. I don't think that would ever happen in Toronto.
My next errand was to a thrift store where I bought a belt for about a dollar before I met up with John at a Booster Juice which was located right next to the University of Winnipeg. We debated the benefits of wheat grass shots and failed to come to a consensus. I'm sure they're full of nutrients but have read that humans can't properly absorb them because grass can't really be metabolized by or feeble bodies. Heck, cows need four stomachs to digest that stuff properly. Seems like hype more than anything. It tastes awful too. Why put yourself through gustational torture for nothing?
As we walked further downtown the Church of Scientology building peaked my interest. We tried to enter but the doors were locked. Fortunately, as we turned around defeated, a friendly middle aged man invited us in and we engaged in a dialogue about Scientology. We devilishly pretended to be interested in joining. The man started off his sermon sounding relatively sane, but eventually derailed when he started taking about how the founder L. Ron Hubbard "proved" that there was a soul by listening to people talk about their past lives. These "past lives" apparently seemed to match up with real historical events and happenings. He even offered an anecdotal story as proof of the claim: during an "audit" (from what I understand audits are like hypnotic therapy sessions that Scientologists semi-frequently endure to assess their overall happiness) the man reminisced about the hospital room he was born in and was apparently able to identify the walls of his birth room as being green. His doctor apparently confirmed it - the walls were indeed green! Green walls in a hospital fifty years ago!? Scientology must be true!
After trying to sell us several books and seminars (that's what churches are all about right: money, power, and control?) we left feeling slightly icky and dishonest. Maybe now would be a good time for an audit.
Once we escaped the man's conjecture, we hiked further downtown to visit the planetarium which sadly closed right as we arrived. Fortunately the gift shop was still open and was full of items I strongly contemplated buying for people. Some of the items included space ice cream, a potato clock kit, and a volcano making kit. I decided not to buy anything. John found something penguin related he needed to buy for a mystery person.
We then walked along the river to a popular area called "the Fork" (which is where the two main rivers in Manitoba meet). The Fork happens to be home to a really nice indoor market where I bought an apple jack pastry and some Skor bar fudge (delicious - Skor bars are hands down tree best candy bars). I even found a unique souvenir for a friend who requested that I get their souvenir from Manitoba. I can't say what it is though, if they're reading it would ruin the surprise.
Eventually we made our way to a small, free museum in the upper section of market. It had interesting facts posted all over the walls. Did you know that Niagra Falls once dried up and that when it did they found weaponry from the war of 1812 at its base?
After another cheap and delicious dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory, we took a guided boat tour down the muddy river we'd previously walked along. The name Winnipeg has Cree origins and actually fittingly means "muddy river". The name "Manitoba" also comes from a Cree variation of some sort that originally meant "land of the creator".
The boat tour guide explained how one of the rivers we were on (I think it was the Red River) actually turns into the Mississippi river somewhere in the states, and then becomes the Amazon somewhere in South America. One dude apparently made the trip all the way down there by canoe!
After the tour we stopped off at an arcade in an old train and played Frogger and Space Invaders for a while before making our way to the next train car over which housed an impressive candy shop. I bought some salt and vinegar crickets. I'll let you know how they taste when I try them tomorrow. I suck at old arcade games by the way. I didn't know what the hell I was doing in Frogger and so I couldn't quite make it past the first level. How sad. I think I'll just stick to Mario and Zelda games thank you very much.
...and so it was decided that Winnipeg is indeed a great city. I'll have to visit it again some day. Now I sleep. No pictures. Please forgive.