23 May 2009

Well, that was a Bust

We're baaaaack!

As I'd written the day of our departure, Daphne and I were excited about attending the Canada Social Forum, which was held in Calgary May 19th to 22nd.
It will not only be an event with lots of opportunities for networking and inserting our persnickety views, it will also be four days and three nights of getting spoiled!

Yea, well, not so much on the networking or the spoiling, but we did inject our persnickety views in a decidedly loud, direct manner on Thursday morning. By that point, with neither of us having slept well and the censors in my head gone on vacation, we didn't so much express as vomit up what we'd been trying to keep down. May write about this later; am still too angry and disillusioned to do it now.

As for the "nutritious and bountiful food," that was a bust.

Daphne and I are vegans. We'd indicated such in our registration info. The organizers at the on-site check-in gave us little cards with "Vegan" and our names on them; we were to give these to the wait staff at the hotel who would fetch our specially prepared vegan meals.

Such a system was not in place for the continental breakfasts, which consisted of sugary muffins and cakes, jams and butter. (Yours truly doesn't respond well to sugar.) Although we asked for them, no bagels and peanut butter were provided for two out of the three breakfasts; on the last day, bagels were included, but again no peanut butter. On that last day, the omnivores got protein - scrambled eggs; the vegans didn't. Of the two lunches to be provided by the hotel, the first came to us without a protein component - no tofu or lentils or chick peas or other legumes.

In other words, out of the five meals prepared for us by the hotel as part of the event, three lacked the necessary protein component of a vegan diet. This is not unique to this event or to the Hyatt Regency in Calgary. This has been our experience at every hotel we've stayed at in the past several years - in Vancouver (3), Whitehorse, Kamloops, Toronto and now in Calgary. Doesn't matter how fancy the hotel; their highly-paid chefs appear to be unaware that vegans need protein as much as omnivores do.

We don't fault the organizers for the food situation. They did their part and they provided us cash to pay for the suppers and travel-day lunches not included as part of the event. The fault is with the people at the hotel who were in charge of meal preparation. As usual, the least-paid staff, those serving the food and taking care of the rooms, performed their tasks in exemplary fashion.

Part 2 - Ocean's rant.

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