Flaneuring Bow Valley College

This past week I had some time between meetings downtown so I decided to start flaneuring to see what I might find.  It took only minutes to stumble upon Bow Valley College’s (BVC) new South Campus building, which I am embarrassed to say I had not visited. 

As soon as I opened the door the ambience changed with lots of students milling about - sitting around chatting, studying, reading on their computers, chatting on the phone or wandering the halls.  It definitely had the feel of a campus…very different from Calgary’s corporate world.  I also noticed the ethnic diversity of the students – it didn’t feel like downtown Calgary! 

As I had just come from the announcement of the design/build team for the new Central Library, who promised to create a people-gathering place, I couldn’t help but think GEC Architects and the BVC building committee has created a wonderful space where people of all ages and backgrounds fell comfortable hanging out.  There is even a Tim Horton’s on the ground level, which had a long line-up – love the street animation!

BVC students are surrounded by contemporary art where ever they go. 

Just one example of how all of the walls have been designed to accommodate art. 

What probably impressed me the most though was the art – it is everywhere.  And, I’m not just talking pretty pictures for decoration; this was serious art – Joanne Cardinal-Shubert, Ron Moppett and Colleen Phillipi and Maureen Enns.  Not sure why I was surprised, as the original North Campus building always had lots of interesting contemporary art, but somehow this seemed more impressive. 

As I continued to flaneur, down the hall, up the stairs, past the food court there was art in every nook and cranny.  I loved the fact that there were large didactic labels for each work with information on the artist and the art. It was also obvious that the art had been installed strategically to allow the viewer to make connections between the works. In one area there is a series of works by artists with First Nation heritage that make a very interesting mini-exhibition.

Joan Cardinal-Schubert drawing is just one of several pieces by major Calgary and Canadian artists. 

Painting by Richard Emery Duck Chief from the Blackfoot Nation of Siksika is just one of many pieces that celebrate the First Nation culture. The piece is titled "Spirt N Spirit." 

I was also intrigued by the light box sculpture in the main hall of the South Campus, which reaches up two floors. I later found out it is titled “Chromatic Light Column” and was commissioned by the AFA for the new Calgary Courthouse, but is now in BVC’s permanent collection (there must be a story there).  It was completely refurbished with the participation of the artist, Nicholas Roukes and is a great addition to the building’s impressive main hall. 

Given I have recently been advocating for more fun things in downtown, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two Franz Spohn Gumball Mosaics, one of Mayor, Nenshi and one of Premier, Alison Redford have a place of prominence on the second floor.  And, yes these portraits are made from coloured gum balls – kind of pointillism gone wild!

The space definitely had the feel of public gallery, but was much more animated, which is a good thing. 

Franz Spohn's gum ball portrait of Mayor Nenshi captures the mayor's signature smile with the iconic Calgary Tower in the background.  There is a wonderful sense of optimism in this artwork that is at the root of Calgary's sense of place and BVC's place in that culture. 

 

Background

 

A quick email to Carol Ryder, who I remembered has been involved in the “mega makeover” of BVC for years got me lots of information about the art and plans for the future.

The Art Committee was formed over four years ago to celebrate art and the importance of exposing BVC students, as well as the public to contemporary art and the statements it makes about time and place.  

The Committee Members include BVC Staff:  Sharon Carry (President, BVC), Val Hoey  (Associate Vice President College Advancement, BVC), James Holroyd (Artstream BVC), Charlene Tomlinson (Director, Ancillary and Facilities Services) and Tina Overwater (Stewardship Officer).

Public members are:  Daniel Doz (President ACAD), Margo Helper (Board Member AGA), Robin Murphy (artist and City of Calgary Public Art Consultant), Helen Zenith (artist and owner of NewZones Gallery), Kelly Jones (artist) and Carol Ryder - Founding Chair.

I also found out the Committee has hired, Katherine Ylitalo on contract as the Curator of the BVC Collection. Ah! That is why the art is hung so sensitively and that there are museum like labels. 

Currently, BVC has over 150 pieces of art installed on campus and will have more on display once the North Campus renovations are completed.  The art has been chosen from various public collections – Alberta Foundation For The Arts, City of Calgary’s Civic Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art MOCA and the BVC Collection. Several local collectors have also donated or loaned work like Paul Ziff, Ted Washington and Patrick Windle to name a few.  As well, artists have also donated works.  Obviously, it has been truly a community initiative. 

Yes those are gum balls! This is a close up of Premier Redford's smile.  

 

Yes you can donate!

 

Yes, BVC is in the final steps of a public art policy that will be used as a criteria and guideline for future donations and additions to the BVC Collection, both permanent and temporary.  

BVC welcomes individuals and corporations to donate art within their guidelines to the collection and tax receipts are issued for the professional appraised value of the artwork donated

 

Public Art Commission

 

I found out BVC is the planning stages of posting an RFP for a major art piece to grace the NE entrance to the College. It will serve as a gateway piece into East Village for those travelling east and into downtown for those travelling west.  

This is grand hall of the South Campus building which is a bee-hive of activity and serves as a wonderful public art gallery. 

 

Last words

 

In the May 2010 edition of BVC’s “The Current” (employee newsletter) I found the following quote from Hoey, “For many years, it has been the vision of our President Sharon Carry to create an art collection that replicates the mosaic and diversity of the College.” 

In the same article Ryder states, “Public art will energize our public spaces, arouse our thinking and transform the halls and walls of the College into a welcoming and beautiful environment that invites interaction. Public art can make students and faculty talk and ask questions. It adds calm to a hurried life and offers a sense of place and community.”

I think they have been very successful. This left me wondering; “Does Calgary really need a civic art gallery?” But that is a topic for another day.

 

If you like this blog you might like:

Calgary Civic Art Gallery: Do we dare to be different? 

Poppy Plaza Review

Olympic Plaza needs a mega makeover

Rise of Public Art / Fall of Public Galleries

Ron Moppett's "Moonlight"  is contemporary painting that fosters a sense of thought and contemplation which is perfect for a post-secondary campus. 

Free Trip To New York City (well almost)

By Richard White, September 14, 2013

This week I got a free trip to NYC (well, almost) via the September 8th edition of the New York Sunday Times.  I am not a regular reader, but one of the bonuses of dog and house sitting this week is the home delivery of the NYT Sunday edition.   There was an extra dividend this week as it was the Arts & Leisure’s “The New Season” edition with three full sections featuring all the arts activities happening this fall in the Big Apple.  For me, it was a reminder of the incredible depth of NYC’s cultural scene.

It was also a trip down memory lane and my three trips so far to NYC. Once in the ‘80s as an emerging visual artist (to study the graffiti and street art), once in the ‘90s as a contemporary art gallery curator (to study the gallery/museum scene) and once in the ‘00s as a downtown manager (to research urban vitality initiatives). Seems like I am due for another visit soon.

 

Swann Galleries' full page ad immediately captured my eye.   I am a sucker for lush passionate colours. Sorry the pics don't do justice to the actual ads. 

Bigger is better!

Perusing the pages of NYT’s “The New Season” was like flaneuring the streets of the city - new surprises with every turn of the page.  In the “Art, Pop Music, TV & Video Game” section, my memory cells were excited by the Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary 1926 to 1938 exhibition at MoMA.  My mind recalled the images I had seen in numerous exhibition visits. Turn the page and there was Braque and Burtynsky causing more memory cells to fire. 

My imagination was captured on the next page with the word “The Power of Poison,” an exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History.  This was followed by image of a Leger from an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a reminder me of another trip. 

The Swann Auction Galleries’ full-page colour ad for its fall auction scheduled featured as wonderful Alfred Maurer “Fauve Nude” image suitable for framing.  Flaneuring a few more pages, I came upon a wonderful full-page colourful Chagall image, for The Jewish Museum’s “Love, War, and Exile” exhibition. 

Who needs a gallery gift shop when you have the full-page colour ads in the NYT? The section was full of fun factoids too – who knew that Grand Rapids, Michigan was hosting ARTPRIZE this fall with $560,000 in total prize money? 

The Movie section featured “20 to Watch” which, as you would expect highlights 20 young filmmakers from around the world.  As I don’t even go to 20 movies a year, this could easily be a DIY Film Festival for someone like me.  There is at least a week’s worth of reading in this section alone.

 

This is the image from the full page ad for the Chagall exhibition at the Jewish Museum. With a bit of flattening this would make a great poster, the colours were as rich as those of his artwork. 

 

WFG

The “Theatre, Dance, Classical” section quickly sparked memories of an off off Broadway production of Samuel Beckett’s “No Exit” that will forever be etched in my memory as one of my top ten lifetime cultural experiences.  It is not surprising that my attention was quickly captured by the double bill - “No Man’s Land” (Harold Pinter) and Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting For Godot” - that you could see on the same day at the same theatre both produced in the historic Cort Theatre by Sean Mathias.

The existentialist in me was also intrigued by how Kafka’s “Metamorphosis” would be interpreted as a modern dance piece.  The old memory cells were working overtime now remembering my front row seat at Lincoln Centre watching Baryshnikov leaping in his prime (I have never gone to a ballet performance again, as that was truly the quintessential ballet experience for my lifetime). 

 

Image for The Metamorphosis ballet by the Royal Ballet reminded my of one of my yoga classes.  Seriously this capture my imagination immediately as I flaneured the paper. 

The city never sleeps…

I remember reading somewhere that there are 60,000 professional dancers living and working in Manhattan; for most cities this number would be their entire downtown working population.  No wonder NYC is “the city that never sleeps.” I expect 250,000 or more people who work every night in the entertainment industry have a work day which ends at 10 or 11 pm, meaning happy hour is at midnight, dinner is at 1 am and heading home happens in the early morning hours just as the bankers and brokers are heading into work.   Another factoid tells me there is a  “New Trumpet Music” festival. Who knew?

For me reading the NYT’s Sunday edition is like a free (well almost, it cost about $5/wk for the Sunday Times subscription) trip to NYC.

 

I have never been to the Armory Show.  Maybe I will have to plan my next trip to NYC around this exhibition.  But I know any time is a good time to visit NYC.  

Calgary: History Capital of Canada

Calgary is the history capital of Canada.  I know you think I am crazy, but read on and you may change your mind. Or maybe at least think of me as a little less crazy than you thought at first. And, hopefully, you with think of Calgary in an entirely new light!

Sure, Winnipeg has the impressive new Human Rights Museum and the historic Exchange District. Toronto has the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario with their history collections. And yes, Ottawa has the National Gallery, Museum of Civilization and War Museum.  Montreal has its Old Town and Vancouver Gastown. However, I think after you read my top 10 reasons for saying Calgary is the history capital of Canada you will have a different perspective on Calgary! 

#10  Harry The Historian  

Did you know that Calgary has its own official Historian Laureate in 2012 - Harry M. Sanders? Sanders is a wealth of knowledge tweeting some historical fact about the city's past everyday to followers and giving talks and tours.  A story I love is about a quiet street in Calgary's south downtown Beltline community with an unassuming Tudor Revival house that today is the Laurier Lounge.  Built in 1908, the house was the birthplace of George Stanley, designer of the Canadian Flag.  He would also tell you that Sir Wilfred Laurier was the Prime Minister who, in 1905, oversaw Alberta's entry into Confederation as a province.  Oh, and he might even tell you the poutine at the Laurier Lounge is tasty. 

#9  Atlantic Avenue: The Original Main Street

Did you know that Calgary has two historic “main” streets? The original Main Street is on the east side of the Elbow River. Still intact with its many two story brick turn-of-the-century buildings it is now called 9th Avenue SE (formerly Atlantic Avenue, it was the main street for a struggling frontier town). There are still two old barns standing on two different side streets. Today, this Inglewood community street is one of the coolest BoBo (bohemian / bourgeois) streets in Canada with a great mix of retail, restaurants, pubs and music venues.  Atlantic Avenue was a pilot project for Heritage Canada's Urban Historic Area Demonstration project and also a signature project for the Alberta Main Street Programme. These programs helped fund the refurbishment of the heritage buildings in the ‘90s. 

#8  Stephen Avenue: The Current Main Street 

Calgary's other “main street” is Stephen Avenue Walk (or 8th Avenue Pedestrian Mall).  It links Calgary's Cultural District to its Financial and Shopping Districts.  The three blocks from Centre Street to 2nd Street SW have been recognized by the Federal government as a National Historic District for the number and quality of preserved turn-of-the-century buildings.  The street is named after Lord Mount Stephen, the first president of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  At one time, all of the downtown streets and avenues had names of CPR railway executives and its real estate subsidiary, the Canada Northwest Land Company, which subdivided the Calgary townsite in 1884.

#7  Royal Canadian Pacific Vintage Trains

Speaking of trains (and so we should given they are integral to the city’s history), bet you didn't know that Calgary is home to one of the world's best collection of vintage train cars (1916 to 1931).  And yes, you can even book a tour through the Rocky Mountain on The Royal Canadian Pacific train pulled by first generation diesel locomotives.  Not only do you get to enjoy the majesty of the Rocky Mountains, but you might be sitting in the seat as Princess Elizabeth who road one of the vintage cars shortly before her coronation, or maybe the same seat of Sir Winston Churchill. These vintage rail cars ooze history.  The vintage train cars are housed in a special shed located right downtown, along with the CPR Pavilion, which is a 12-meter high glass rotunda with marble floors attached to the historic Fairmont Palliser Hotel for special events. 

#6  Fort Calgary

On the eastern edge of downtown is Fort Calgary, originally built in 1875 by the North West Mounted Police and originally named Fort Brisebois, but quickly changed to Fort Calgary.   The original palisade and barracks building have been reconstructed to create exhibition areas, theatre and gift shop.   Plans for an ambitious expansion have been approved and fundraising is underway.

Just across the Elbow River from the Fort is the Deane House. Built in 1906 for the Superintendent of Fort Calgary, Captain Richard Dean, it has had several lives, including a boarding house, an art gallery and today a restaurant.  It too is a designated Registered Historic Resource.

#6  Sandstone City 

After the fire in 1886, Calgary turned to the local Paskapoo Sandstone, as the material of choice for its new buildings. As a result, Calgary has numerous outstanding sandstone buildings including Alberta's first library (the Memorial Park Library, in historic Memorial Park), numerous old schools including the 1884 Haultain School (currently home to the Parks Foundation Calgary) and 1908 McDougall School (the Southern Alberta Governments offices) and the elegant 1911 City Hall with its 70 foot central clock tower (still home to Mayor and Alderman).  

Interesting to note there is still one wood building that predates the fire. Built in 1885, originally known at the T.C. Power & Bros. Block, today it is best know as The Pain Block on Stephen Avenue. It gets it name from Pain Furriers who occupied the building from 1935 to 1965.  Who says Calgary doesn’t preserve its history?

#5  Canadian Sports Hall of Fame

Calgary houses many of Canada's most interesting sports artifacts at the new Canadian Sports Hall of Fame. Gallery exhibits have cleverly been organized into the following categories: Ride Gallery, Motion Gallery, Contact Gallery, Bounce Gallery, Hockey Gallery, Glide Gallery, Blade Gallery, Olympic and Paralympic Gallery, Locker Room and Media Room. They’re also several interactive exhibitions: Be A Sports Journalist, Be A Broadcaster, Ask The Athlete and Hero Station. Since 1955 Canada's Sports Hall of Fame has been collecting sports memorabilia from all aspects of Canadian sports history including Terry Fox's iconic single running shoe. The collection currently stands at 95,000 artifacts and continues to grow.  

#4 Heritage Park 

Calgary is home to Canada's largest living history park-Heritage Park!  The Park encompasses 127 acres and includes four distinct areas: Western Canadian history (circa 1864), Pre-Railway Village (circa 1880), Railway Prairie Town (circa 1910) and Heritage Town Square (circa 1930) to 1950.  It also includes Gasoline Alley with is extensive collection of antique vehicles a 1950s service station and retro drive in movie theatre.  There is also not only a steam train ride from the parking lot to the entry gate, but once inside, you can take a ride on the S.S. Moyie paddle wheel boat on the Glenmore Reservoir.   

#3  National Music Centre 

The National Music Centre (NMC) boasts one of the world's largest collection of keyboard instruments, 400 in total.  Furhermore, NMC has over 2,000 artifacts including Elton John's songwriting piano (which he used to compose his first five albums) and the Rolling Stone's 1968 Mobile Studio, which has also been used by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Bob Marley.  The oldest artifact is a 1560 Virginal, a keyboard instrument that predates the piano.  The collection will soon be housed soon in the new iconic, purpose-built National Music Centre building currently under construction.    

#2  History Museums / Parks / Plazas

The Glenbow Museum, founded by Eric Harvie, a Calgary petroleum entrepreneur, is one of the largest museums in Canada.  In its possession are over one million artifacts and 28,000 works of art.  Its extensive collection includes historical artifacts and art from Western Canadian, as well as Asia, West Africa, South America and the various islands of the Pacific. 

Calgary is also home to the Military Museums of Calgary, the second largest war museum in the country.  Its four galleries showcase an extensive collection of material from all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces (Navy, Army and Air Force) and an extensive library housed at the University of Calgary.

In addition, Calgary is home to the 100+ year old Memorial Park with its numerous monuments to different wars Canadians have fought in.  And, Calgary's Memorial Drive is also dedicated to Canada's military history with its Memorial Plaza, trees and monuments.

#1  The Calgary Stampede

Calgary is home to Canada's oldest agricultural fair, one that has evolved over the past 101 years into Canada's biggest Canadian cultural festival. The Stampede annually celebrates our First Nations culture, our agricultural culture, our music culture, our youth culture, as well as two unique prairie sports cultures - rodeo competition and chuckwagon races. 

The Stampede is not an imported myth from the U.S. frontier, but started as a tribute to the authentic ranching culture of Southern Alberta and continues to celebrate that culture today.  The Ranchmen's Club established in downtown Calgary in 1892 and still operating in its historic Renaissance Revival building is evidence of the City's long history as ranching agricultural centre.

Last Word 

YES, little old Cowtown, often cited as having no history and just a bunch of corporate cowboys, offers up a lot more local and Canadian history than you think.   Next time you are in town, stay awhile and enjoy our western hospitality.  

AND, if these “top ten” aren’t enough to convince you…how about a bonus reason!

#11 Honouring Its First Nations History Everyday

In Calgary, the names of most major roads are linked to celebrating our First Nations neighbours and their leaders, with names like Sarcee and Blackfoot recognizing nations and Deerfoot and Crowchild being leaders. In addition, these roads are not called highways or freeways, but Trails a further “nod” to our historical routes - Edmonton Trail follows the original trail from Calgary to Edmonton and Macleod Trail the route south to Fort Macleod.

Still not convinced? Need another factoid?

#12 Calgary Celebrates its Prairie Town Roots Everyday

In what other major city in Canada - maybe in the world - do cars stop and let pedestrians cross the roads at unmarked intersections mid-block.  Yes, in true prairie small town tradition, in Calgary if you stand at the edge of the sidewalk, cars stop and let you cross; just like they did when cars were first introduced and pedestrians had the right-of-way100 years ago.  

I stand by my claim: Calgary is the history capital of Canada.

Laurier Lounge which was  George Stanley's the designer of the Canadian Flag's home. 

Atlantic Avenue, Main Street Inglewood was Calgary's original Main Street before the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived.

Downtown Calgary's signature Hudson Bay department store on Stephen Avenue aka Main Street.  

Glass Rotundra that links historic Fairmont Palliser Hotel to vintage train shed in downtown Calgary.

Fort Calgary baracks building on the eastern edge of downtown Calgary. 

Sandstone City - Calgary's historic city hall is still home to the Mayor and Aldermen's offices. 

The Sports Hall of Fame located at Canada Olympic Park has an incredibly diverse collection of artifacts from hockey to rowing, from figure skating to lacrosse.  There are many hands-on activities and a captivating movies about Canada's sports history.  (photo courtesy of Canadian Sports Hall of Fame)

Heritage Park Canada's largest living history museum. (photo courtesy of Heritage Park)

The National Music Centre's oldest keyboard instrument a Virginal from 1560 - it predates the piano.  photo courtesy of the National Music Centre. 

Glenbow Museum one of North America's finest museums and the largest in Western Canada. 

Every Remembrance Day in Calgary along Memorial Drive. Other Remembrance Day ceremonies take place at Memorial Park and Military Museums.

The Indian Village has been an important part of Stampede since the very beginning. And, I am told that they like the name "Indian" village and don't want it changed to aboriginal or first nation. A new location for the village is in the works along the Elbow River as part of the new Stampede Park master plan for the 21st century. 

Aerial photo of the Calgary Stampede with all of its colour and pageantry. Truly one of the greatest festivals in the world appealing to people of all ages and backgrounds. (photo courtesy of the Calgary Stampede).

Memorial / Central Park early 20th century postcard.  Park has been updated but still looks very much like this today.

First Baptist Church at corner of 13th Ave and 4th Street. 13th Ave is wonderful Heritage Trail with Calgary's first school, Alberta's first library, Lougheed House and Gardens and Ranchmen's Club all from the late 19th early 20th centuries. The area is rich with history. 

Get "Off The Beaten Path" with these 10 tips!

#10 A good first impression is critical to a good time.

We suggest you look for something close to your hotel that you know you like to do and check it out immediately after checking-in.  Maybe hang out at a public plaza and people watch? Head to a neighbourhood pub and chat with the locals to see what is happening while you are there.  Maybe there is a great museum or shopping close by.  Make sure you start your adventure on the right track. 

#9 Take the Bus.

We love riding the bus more than the subway when we have a choice.  Travelling above ground allows you to see things that you might not have otherwise seen.  Can't count the number of times we have jumped off the bus because we saw something interesting that we didn't know about. There is often a local bus route that is very scenic or passes by many of the local attractions.  Be a bus rider!

#8 Dare to be different.

Challenge yourself to do something you wouldn't normally do.  Maybe it is a museum or gallery if you aren't normally a culture vulture.  Maybe a sporting event if you aren't a jock. Be prepared to try new things!

#7 Ask a local.

ocals are a wealth of knowledge don't be afraid to ask them for tips.  We find they are more than happy to share their insights...great way to find a hidden gem. We ask people on the bus, in line ups and at cafes are the best.  Don't be afraid to ask!

#6 Pretend you are a local

Brenda loves to check out the local grocery stores and shop for a picnic or pick up some food for breakfast or lunch in our hotel room  Grocery stores are a great place to do some urban exploring, mix with the locals and learn some cultural difference. It was great fun in Frankfurt to wander the aisles of the Grocery store and stop in their cafe and watch how they managed recycling bottles and plastics - bottles and cans are sucked into some sort of machine like something from Star Trek. 

#5 Avoid the Franchises.

We have a rule that we never eat or drink at a national or international franchise if we can avoid it. We know it is tempting to o somewhere familiar, but resist the temptation - it will be worth it

#4 Do your research in advance.

You don't want to waste time on your vacation doing research so make sure you have a list of things you want to see or do.  Perhaps organize them into 2 or 3 things each day.  We like to have one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.  e would never have found the Tiki Lounge in Great Falls MT with the mermaid swimmers if we hadn't done our research. 

#3 Be spontaneous.

I know we just said make a plan, but don't get locked into the plan.  If you see or hear something that is captures your interest then GO FOR IT! The best experience are often spontaneous ones!  Like the time we exited I90 at the last minute to check out Livingston Montana. 

#2 Be a flaneur!

Always reserve some time to just wander aimlessly - take the sidewalk less traveled, head down a back alley that looks interesting, take a bus to the end of the line and then get off on the way back t a stop that looked interesting. 

#1 Stop / Look /Listen

Don't always be in a rush.  Spend an hour in the morning at a local cafe / breakfast spot and watch the locals grab their coffee and scurrying off to work. You will appreciate that you are on vacation!  

 

Found this amazing washroom in a thrift store when we decided to get off the interstate highway and check out Livingston Montana.  Also got some great books at the thrift store.

iding the tram in Lyon provided us with a much better appreciation of the city and how people live there today vs centuries ago. 

While in the local grocery store in Anchorage we found this guy putting out an amazing display of orchids.  Had a wonderful chat with him about growing and care of orchids.  That wasn't in our plan. 

ecided to check out Main Street Coeur d'Alene while staying at the lakeside resort and lucked out as it was parade day.  Kids were having fun riding their bikes, push cars, walking dogs up Main Street.  It was very fun and colourful. We could never have planned this! 

We love street markets.  Paris has markets everyday in different locations, so we had is all mapped out so that everyday started with a market. From there we just let things happen.

n doing our research we knew that we arrived in Frankfurt on Saturday morning which was flea market day on the river.  We hustle our buns from airport to hotel, threw our bags in the room and headed to the river.  It was a lovely April day and the "green beach" was full of people hanging out.  Guess what we did all afternoon?