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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
Dutch newspaper Spits

This project has been supported by these great and warmhearted companies:
Netherlands: Paping Buitensport, ODLO, IPtower.nl, AVRO Dutch Broadcasting Org., Travelcare, TunaFish, Book A Tour, StadsRadio Rotterdam; UK: Lazystudent, KissFM, The Sunday Times, The Guardian; Isle of Man: SteamPacket/SeaCat; Ireland: BikeTheBurren; Belgium: Le Temps Perdu, Majer & PartnersAustria: OhmTV.com; Norway: Scanrail Pass, Hurtigruten, Best Western HotelsSouth Africa: eTravel, British Airways Comair, CapeTalk, BazBus Spain: Inter Rail, Train company Renfe; Australia: Channel 9 Television, Bridgeclimb, Harbourjet, SeaFM Central Coast, Moonshadow Cruises, Australian Zoo, Fraser Island Excursions, Hamilton Island Resort, FantaSea Cruises, Greyhound/McCafferty's Express Coaches, Aussie Overlanders, TravelAbout.com.au, Travelworld, Unlimited Internet, Kangaroo Island SeaLink, Acacia Apartments; Malaysia: Aircoast; Canada: VIA rail, Cedar Springs Lodge, BCTV/GlobalTV, St. George Hotel, VICKI GABEREAU talkshow, Ziptrek Ecotours, Whitler Blackcomb Ski Resort, Summit Ski & Snowboard Rental, High Mountain BrewHouse, Cougar Mountain Snowmobiling, Whistler Question Newspaper, Snowshoe Inn, First Air, Nunanet.com, Canadian North Accommodations by the Sea, DRL Coachlines Newfoundland, The National Post and Air North.


Reports

Wednesday, 16 July 2003
--> Calgary, Alberta, Canada (5th day)

Erin's mother Betty Collins would make me work in the garden if I'd stay a day longer, she joked. Well, I hope she joked!

So it was time to get moving again. After staying two nights with the Collins family, I moved on to my last place to stay in Calgary.

After another escape from the house because of a house visit by the real estate agent and potential house buyers, I was picked up by the 33-year-old single mother Tammy.

As she loves the Wednesday flea market in this area, she took me along for a stroll around fresh fruit stalls. I met up with her friend Shelley. Both were amazing me in how much women can simply moan about something like fresh fruit or meat pies. "Oaarhmm! Chicken pie!!! Oargh! Strawberries!"

Tammy's current job is to get people with long outstanding credit to pay their bill. "I call these people and hear their entire life through the phone, as an excuse why they can't pay their bill."

My hostess for today had discovered the existence of this travel-project of mine after reading me in the National Post. "They call you a freeloader, you know that?!" I know, I got kind of used to it.

After doing some shopping for pies and fresh fruit we drive to her humble home in the northeast of Calgary, Shelley joined us along.

At her home we basically relaxed in the living room, my hostess and her friend drinking Coronas and me drinking orange juice with the fan on. Outside it was bloody hot. And I am staying away from that beer for a few days.

We had those pies for dinner as they filled our bellies very good.

Shelley told me about her own business, as she is a painter. An indoor house-painter to be clear. And just like me she stays at stranger people's places a lot. And entertaining stories about the weirdest, kindest and most remarkable people came to the surface.

Tammy has a thirteen-year-old son named Tyler. "It was an accident, yes, but I don't regret it at all." She was twenty when she received the baby, but wouldn't change anything in her history if that was possible. "I have learned so much from then. And my son makes me appreciate things in life. Not many people can do that."

However Tammy broke up with the Tyler's father a long time ago, but they still go pretty good along with each other. "We don't have the hassles that divorcés have, we have the friendly agreement that one week Tyler is with me and the next week he's with him.

I asked Tammy before hand by email if I could stay another day at her spot. It is clear to me that I am nearing the end of my possible travel time; soon I would have been some hundred-and-fifty days in Canada and I am mentally very tired. Another day at the same spot is fine with me too.

"I believe the contract stated 'a day', if not you'd have to change everything to www.Letmestayforaslongasisay.com and that's not so appealing," she joked at me by email. Eventually she got over that and saw no reason not to let me stay another day.

"One of the reasons for inviting you over and knowing that you do no harm is that you are sponsored by big corporate companies! Those people won't really help you out if you have been bad and raped and killed people, would they?"

I don't know. Sometimes some former hosts of mine are awfully quiet, aren't they? Hehe.

"You know, tomorrow I'll try to get back from work early, so I can take you for a drive to the mountains?" By the mountains, she meant the great Rocky Mountains, which I have already seen smoothly at the horizon. Sounds great!

Good night Calgary!

Ramon