Today we joined the Mormon History Association for their guided tour of Banff and Lake Louise. It was a pricey tour, but somehow when I was signing up for this trip it didn't occur to me that if a bus could get to Banff from Calgary, so could our car, and for a heck of a lot cheaper. However, we were both pretty tired of driving and the one thing our car didn't have was 40 random strangers talking about Mormon history. So the tour was a good choice...for me, anyway.
One point I should mention about this tour. Ryan and I were the last people to arrive at the bus in the morning (my fault, or maybe I should blame Facebook for being so darn interesting...okay, okay, my fault) so when we got on the bus it was full and the only open seats were in the back. As we worked our way past I realized that we were the youngest people on the bus by a good 15-20 years. It was...uncomfortable. Not that there is anything wrong with hanging out with people my parents' age, but I felt conspicuously different and I really do not like that feeling. I prefer some social camouflage, a little bit of wallflowerness and not the shining spotlight of uniqueness. They were all very, very nice people and made me feel included the whole weekend, but I felt a little out of place. And that first walk down the long, long aisle to the back of the bus took forever.
The drive to Banff was an hour and a half, but it went quickly with the bus driver's narration. Have I mentioned how much I love random trivia? I so want to be a tour guide when I grow up. The bus driver would just ramble about the different things that he saw out the window, so we learned about the summer uses of the Olympic ski jumps, the construction of the Trans-Canadian Highway, animal rights in national parks, etc. It was more interesting than I'm making it sound.
We got to Banff and took a gondola ride to a vantage point that overlooks the town. It was pretty. These are the views from the observation deck.
After the gondola ride, we went into town for lunch at a restaurant. We sat next to a man and his son - the son was in his 50's, my guess, and the dad maybe 70's? The dad had written several books and articles for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and the son was, I think, on the MHA board but not a Mormon scholar. They were interesting to talk to, although here is the absolute most hilarious thing about the entire MHA trip: the son, after chatting with me about my research and scholarly interests, turns to Ryan and asks, "So what do you do?" Ryan replies with, "I'm an animator." The guy looked blankly at Ryan for several seconds, clearly racking his brain to come up with something, anything to talk to an animator about, came up empty-handed, and turned back to me. This has literally never happened before in our entire marriage. You say the word "animator" and your conversation immediately revolves around Hollywood, movie stars, cartoons, etc. The stay-at-home mother generally has very little to contribute to a conversation like this, and never is able to trump "animator" with "homemaker." It's never bothered me before, but to see the tables turned was fascinating and, I'm not ashamed to admit, it was a little heady. *I* was the one people wanted to talk to, who had a tiny little bit of something interesting to contribute to the conversation. It was an interesting role-reversal.