I have met the real locals.
On our day in Calgary we decided to walk to the Greyhound Station to purchase tickets for the overnight bus to Vancouver on 3 September (the day we are due to return the car to Calgary).
We walked down the pedestrianized Stephen Avenue Walk and continued west on 8th Avenue at the end. We passed banks, Oil Company offices and several University of Alberta administrative buildings. The scenery became seedier and the number of liquor stores and car lots increased as we headed towards to the bus station.
After turning South on 9th Street we took a right to continue West on 9th Avenue
The trip had been pleasant but uneventful as we approached the Telus World of Science building on 11th Street. At that point a 25 year old man broke off from a group of Native Canadians sitting under a tree next a collection of rundown buildings.
He made a bee line for us and I quickened my step to ensure that it would be me that he engages rather than Karen. Karen's open friendliness is very unhelpful in these situations. It has led to long and sometimes repeat conversations with a large number of weirdo's in the past - the depressive Manky Dave and the rude Lebanese waiter Moses in Brighton alone.
My brusqueness and ability to puff up like a silverback gorilla at any slight provocation helps tremendously. In this case, that approach was not required. The gentleman introduced himself as a Blackfoot Indian (named Darren I think) from a town called Thunderfalls. It was nice and friendly as he cut quickly to the chase - "Can I have one dollar please?" My aggression dissipated and I moved quickly into dismissive contempt.
He was six foot three, had several friends and an impressive short Mohawk style haircut that screamed (my ancestors used to pin you folks to ant-hills for all your belongings!). All that and he only asked for one dollar - he was either just starting out or was a very bad injun. I adopted the standard British moron abroad approach that had served my ancestors well as we stole large parts of the world - patronising contempt. "Very nice, I think I've seen your home on a map" and with that we pushed by without missing a step.
One interesting side note to this story is that many of the native Canadians had the same skinhead crop complimented by a short Mohawk on top. So do a lot of the the white Canadian youth in Calgary. Unfortunately, whilst the original locals look good, the younger newcomers just look like people who live in deep woods and who are far too interrelated for their own good.