Road Trip To Saskatoon

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					Road Trip To Saskatoon
Michael Pham, ACE

The Saskatoon Aquarium Society had a meeting and auction on Sunday, April 28, 2002. Gabriel
Yeung and I went because Spencer Jack had some big Frontosas for Gabriel. We had never been to
a Saskatoon meeting, so we thought it would be nice to visit the club and city.

We left Edmonton early Saturday morning. The weather was beautiful, it was sunny and warm.
There wasn't too much traffic on Highway 16. We stopped at Lloydminster for breakfast and
refuelled. We crossed the Alberta and Saskatchewan border. There was clearly more business on
the Alberta side. The road and the landscape from there on was very flat and straight. There were
fields of brown grass because it was still the end of winter.

We arrived in Saskatoon about 1:00 P.M. We got to Jason Clark’s place. Spencer Jack and the guys
were waiting for us. It was the really nice treat for us to see Jason’s fish room. We unloaded our
stuff in Jason’s and looked at his tanks. Jason has a beautiful 108-gallon planted tank with all kinds
of plants. Of special mention were the Madagascan lace plant and the black sword Hormanni plant
which were big and healthy. The tank absolutely is gorgeous even with some little algae in it. I
only had seen a tank like that in a magazine. There were some wild Angels with a few types of
tetras. He had another tank with some Frontosa and Neolamprologus leleupi. They are very pretty
fish. I like the leleupi but Gabriel loves Frontosa. Jason also has a fish room with all wooden tanks,
which he made himself. He keeps mostly Tanganyika cichlids. The tank is sky blue with sand on
the bottom. There are no small tanks in Jason’s fish room. All the tanks are 70 to 100 gallons. The
fish seem really happy. It took us almost two hours just to look at Jason’s tanks and fish. We
forgot that the guys were waiting for us to go for lunch. We did go for lunch at Tony Roma's
because most of the restaurants close at 2:00 P.M. Lunch was really good; all of us were hungry and
had a lot of fun. We would have goon back there that night if Jason’s wife wasn’t making us supper.
  After lunch, we just took a tour around town. It is a small city compared to Edmonton. We
visited Petland, the only fish store worth seeing in Saskatoon. It was a big store with a lot of birds
and dogs. There was a good selection of fish there, more than most of pet shops in Edmonton. The
prices were quite high compared to Edmonton. We got back to Jason’s place and had a BBQ.
James chose the steaks and John cooked them. Jason’s wife Darla made a wonderful Caesar salad
and the steaks are done perfectly. After that we all sat around the fire in the back yard with a few
drinks and roasted some mash mallow. Mostly we talked about fish and the hobbies but there are
stories about camping and some ghost stories too. We went to bed around 12:00.

Sunday we all woke up late because of late night on Saturday. Spencer and Jason bagged the fish
for the auction. We went for lunch and got to the hall around 1:00 P.M. Everyone put their items on
tables in front of the room. People just went through to look at the auction items. The meeting
started at 1:30 P.M. There are more than 100 people at the meeting. Spencer Jack and John Sabo
were doing the Fishing for Answer presentation. Everyone got a sheet of paper and a pencil. Each
time you got a right answer you got to raise your arm and received a raffle ticket. All of the
questions are related to the fish keeping hobbies. Some of them were quite easy but some of them
quite difficult. There was fun for every person there because everyone had to participate. Gabriel
was having a blast. I never saw him laughing so hard before. During the presentation Spencer and
John got a question about Arowana fish. They pointed to their Winnipeg club T-shirt with Gabriel’s
Red Dragon fish in the back. Spencer took that picture while he was in Edmonton early March this
year. Now the Winnipeg club uses that picture for their club’s T-shirt. So now Gabriel is famous in
Winnipeg and Saskatoon. There are 46 questions in total. I had only 33 right. The top three scores
were 38, 37 and 36. Those three persons went for the second round for the big prices. Tom
Sawchuck was the grand winner. All the others had a chance to win by drawing the raffle tickets. I
got some fish food and a bottle of water treatment. After the quiz presentation, the auction started.
There were around 250 lots. The auction was a bit different than our format. The auctioneers picked
items randomly from the table. Whoever won the bid then went up to the front and paid for it by
cash. There were a lot of livebearer and plants, so they went quite cheap. Gabriel picked up a
couple bags of Anubias and a few Tanganyikan cichlids. I got two pairs of albino guppies for a very
good price and a couple bags of another fish. At the end of the auction, the bookkeeper asked all
sellers to line up and cash out right away. There was no computer to enter the items, everything was
done by hand. I think we can learn a lesson here because all the accounting was done right after the
auction. There was no waiting and writing or sending cheques out. There is only the club share
going to the bank. We got out of the hall around 5:30PM. We got a chance visiting with a few
members there while we waiting for Jason to finish the club’s business.

We got back to Jason’s place for supper. Darla made spaghetti for us. The sauce was incredibly
delicious. After that Jason and Spencer were helping us to pack the fish. We left Saskatoon around
7 PM. We got home around 130 AM. I was quite tired but happy. All the fish got home safe but
one. We had a great time in Saskatoon with our wonderful hosts and learned a lot from those guys.
I’d like to go back there again soon.