While we're in the same place for the next few months we've invited guests to contribute to There & Here by telling us what they love about their favourite place in the world. Our guest this week is Zoë from Calgary.
What I love about the balcony is it's ability to turn the derelict into the delightful.
10 ft long by 4 feet wide - the balcony is the apartment dweller's alternative to a yard. Our balcony, like most in downtown, overlooks a dirty parking lot - certainly nothing to brag about. It looks like any other balcony, with a mini propane BBQ and plastic flower planters and patio furniture that makes the small space even smaller. In this case a massive balcony couch consumes 3/4 of the area, but the comfort it offers is well worth it. It's not marvellous by any standards, but it's the melange of bizarro-nature, comfortable outdoor dining, and impromptu entertainment that makes it my favourite place to be. "Urban Grotto" is how I would describe the setting. Maple trees with plastic bags in their branches, attract masses of raggedy wildlife. A poorly paved parking lot funnels into a plugged drain that turns into a lake when it rains. The "lake" becomes a bird bath, duckling pond, or drinking hole for pizza-eating squirrels. When the lively buzz of the animals settles for the day - the colourful characters of downtown Calgary start up. Drunk people attempt to scale large fences, shady transactions are conducted by even shadier people, and all activities become a play that we have front row seats to. We have spent entire days on the balcony eating amazing meals in our laps, and sipping cocktails all while enjoying this microcosm of downtown.
Bottom right: Urban rabbits stop at red lights and aren't afraid to sleep in the middle of parking lots.
Drinking is essential to patio life
Bottom right: Remnant of 3 story high flames - so much for wooden fire escapes.
Zoë currently works in Calgary Alberta Canada in an in-house Communications department where she make people's shit look good, and coaches them about email best practices. She doesn't have a website - She's mysterious like that. Instead you can find cryptic clues of her life on twitter.