HoJo is a NoGo

West Edmonton Mall has been regarded as the gem of Alberta. Accurately, I would say it is of the copper pyrite variety. The golden mineral, once you spot it, often causes screams of sheer joy to escape your mouth. It is usually followed by you pushing or “repositioning” children out of your way. This opens the path for you to get your greedy little hands on the tantalizing substance. For a brief moment, you fantasize about throwing money in the air and rolling in it. Then you discover the shiny gold-like substance is in fact not gold. It is just a rock. A plain, boring rock.

After a flat four-hour drive from Calgary, Edmonton was a welcome sight. That feeling lasted two minutes. Turning into the parking lot of the Howard Johnson Edmonton Mall I knew we were in for a treat. The half-burnt-out neon sign subtly accented the harsh curves of the fatality post positioned at the street corner. Inside, with ample luggage and camping gear, we were certainly glad that the elevator wasn’t in working order. For if it was, we would have missed the pungent aroma (urine) that delicately sprinkled the four flights of stairs. The room; what a sight for the eyes! The coffin-like hardness of the mattress truly could fix any poor posture one may have. The late-night walk for ice turns exciting, after nearly stumbling upon a woman (hooker) wearing a fancy little black number wrapped around a gent for walking support. After countless hours of playing a fun little game called “don’t let any bare skin touch the soiled sheets”, morning awakes. Daybreak routine means having a warm cup of what you hope is tea, on the balcony made of matchsticks and tape, overlooking the morning drunks. The definition of tranquil. Pondering staying a second night? I for one would never deprive others of this joy by occupying the room another night. Check-out is a breeze, naturally, after the perfection that was the night before, allowing them to keep the prepaid second night is our pleasure. The happiness created when finding out the car wasn’t broken into the night before is refreshing. Whether it was the wonderful sleep the evening prior or the hallucinogen of raw emotion, I thought I saw a piece of fool’s gold on the pavement before we skidded out of the parking lot.

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