Wednesday, May 28, 2003

things noticed while in ottawa

1) Sunday is the ideal time to drive into downtown Ottawa - it's dead.
2) As in Toronto, the American embassy appears to have cramped traffic, blocked off by concrete, a forlorn-looking guard protecting the compound. I later saw an elderly man walking back and forth yelling out (with a pitch that bore an uncanny resemblance to a megaphone) that Dubya was a mass murderer.
3) It's nice to have old friends in far-off places. Had dinner with a couple I hadn't seen for a few years. Time has been kind to both of them. Had a great roast chicken dinner, plus got to see the wedding pix.
4) When I walked into the hotel lobby, I had a familiar feeling. I think I stayed at the Crowne Plaza before, under a different hotel name, on a grade 9 field trip to the nation's capital. Main memory - my room slept through an early morning fire alarm. Also seem to recall somebody making a real ass of themself at a sugar shack in Rigaud by pretending to be very swishy in front of American tourists - think it was the same person later responsible for making a person wear rancid tuna on their body during a "slave day". I discovered that maple syrup makes a great flavouring agent in pea soup.
5) The hotel pool towels just aren't large enough.
6) Driving through Hull is disorienting at first, espcially coming off a freeway - roads going every-which-direction.
7) I may have caught a glimpse of the Little Guy from Shawinigan. After checking out, I walked down along Wellington St (alongside Parliament Hill) to go to the National Gallery. As I reached the main entrance to the Hill, a three-car motorcade with a police escort whizzed about. I stared into the cars, to make out who was in them. I figured it might have been the PM or GG. It stopped a few blocks down, at the future Canada History Centre. Sure enough, I later heard on the radio that Chretien had gone down there to announce the establishment of the new museum.
8) The crowds still huddle around the National Gallery's most controversial purchase, Voice of Fire.
9) Nothing says artery-cloggin' goodness than a lunch of sausage, kraut and perogies from a deli in Byward Market. The last indulgence before lighter eating habits begin (once the current nuclear stockpile of food at the Warehouse is gone).
10) Ottawa is not a mecca for record stores - went into 5 downtown, nothing was an eyegrabber.
11) Montreal-style bagels here are also excellent.

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