Ivan Musoke

Giddy Up

Calgary, AB

Hi Diary,
There was very little in the way of movement on day 2 owing to the fact that it rained. You’ve known me long enough to understand that rain brings everything to a standstill. Apart from sleep… and copulation.

There’s a reason Toto’s lyric, “I bless the rains down in Africa” strikes a chord with many a listener and I can assure you it has nothing with appreciating the finer intricacies of meteorology.

The day was grey. If this were literature class, we would no doubt go into a deep dive about how that statement alludes to the feeling of hopelessness and despair that engulfed the author, but no, the day literally had a greyish hue to it, forcing me to stay indoors and wait things out.

And this is summer. You’d expect bright sunny days, birds chirping and Disney characters moving about singing cheerfully, but Calgary’s got other plans.

Let’s jump forward to day 3 – where the clouds were sort of undecided about what to do with the rain they held – sort of like when you wake up in the middle of the night to pee, but second guess yourself. Or, like when one of James McAvoy’s personalities in Split let that girl go.

When an image doesn’t quite fit the reference perfectly

We took a somewhat leisurely stroll down to the center of town hoping to run into cowboys or people dressed as them because this was the beginning of a great Calgary tradition – Stampede.

As I understand it, it’s a festival that sees people ride horses and bulls and listen to music against the backdrop of meals and drinks. Such is the fanfare surrounding this thing, there’s a procession through the city and loads of big names in music make an appearance.

This year’s no different with Tim McGraw, Snoop Dogg and Kiefer Sutherland all due to put in performances. Ah yes, so is T-Pain (‘memba him?) Night life back here comes to an end at 2am, I am told, which puts a bit of a dampener on my eagerness to watch Mr. Pain being meta -singing 5 O’Clock in the morning at, well, 5 O’clock in the morning.

The walk into the city didn’t have nearly as many ride ’em, whip ’em lasso-tottin’ types as had been advertised, but as we approached the Core Mall, I ran into Lamborghini’s Urus – retails from about 232,000 CAD, thank me later- and suddenly my life made no sense. Then again, the expression “ran into an Urus” doesn’t sound right either. Anyway, there’s not much else I can add to this particular paragraph except maybe a picture I took without asking for permission.

The trip to the mall afforded me yet another opportunity to interact with that object of my desire, Sony’s Wireless Noise Cancelling headphones elevating our relationship from a long distance one to the kind where we’re both in the same town playing, will we – won’t we. Except as the day wore on, it became obvious that I was late to the party. No matter, true love waits.

For all the hype, when the cowboy gear finally made an appearance, it was a little underwhelming. I guess stetson hats and denim are no match for the elements – I did toy with the idea of picking myself one (the hat) but coming from a country where you have to explain yourself whenever you wear clothes with a camouflage pattern, I wasn’t keen on being on one end of an inquisition into why I attempted to upstage the president’s fashion. Long story short, no hat for me.

Ah, nuts, I almost forgot.

I went by a pharmacy where I was asked whether my diet had changed recently. “Well, up until Wednesday, I was in Uganda. So…” I paused for effect, hoping the guy at the counter would be impressed by my sarcasm, applauding my wit and smacking his thighs in appreciation.

He wasn’t and he didn’t.

He simply walked me over to an array of drugs, made a recommendation and that was it. I guess not every black guy leaving Africa, heading to North America can be Trevor Noah.

Day 2 ended as any cold grey day should – with pizza, beer, Stranger Things and the promise of a better day 3.

But then the jetlag hit again, leaving me awake at 3am, mentally cursing out the people that were moving around with my noise cancelling headphones.

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