However, first off my bowl of Cafe au Lait. Important details to start, of course. About the size of a medium soup bowl. Caffeine heaven.
Now for the collage. Though the individual pictures have been added to my photoblog, I thought it'd be easier to lump them here as one collage than have many strung out in a row.
Known locally as "The Response", this is a picture of the National War Memorial lit up at night. You can see the gleam of the clock in the Peace Tower of Parliament behind it.
This statue sits on a roof top terrace of the American Embassy. Despite assertions from the American government, Canadians believe the statue is flipping off the Canadian government, as it faces parliament. The American government maintains that the statue is supposed to depict a tree. I'm siding with the Canucks on this one.
These little grotesques, yes that's the name for these little carvings, cover the Parliament building.
Marmots! So cute. If you look closely, you'll be able to see the nose of a third one poking out from a hole between the other two. Marmots were not an uncommon sight in Ottawa, but this mother and her two pups on the grounds of Carleton University let us come closer than most. I suspect they're often fed by students.
View of the locks on the Rideau Canal. Parliament Hill is off to the left.
A view of Parliament from Quebec. The rectangular structure is Parliament. The rounded structure in front is the library. They're built in slightly different styles as Parliament burned down in 1916, except for the Library. The Centre Block of Parliament, which houses the Senate and House chambers, was rebuilt in a modern Gothic style, while the Library is a beautiful example of Victorian High Gothic style.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica in Ottawa. Notice the silver looking paint on the roof and steeples? It's actually an aluminum based paint. Most cathedrals in Ottawa have the same paint on their roofs. The joke is that Alcan (the Canadian aluminum company) salesmen did a great job in Ottawa.
A view of Quebec from the Peace Tower at the top of the Parliament building. In the foreground is the roof of the library.
Inside the French Embassy in Ottawa. No, I'm not a French citizen. Doors Open is a weekend in Ottawa when government buildings and some embassies not typically accessible to most of the population open their doors. Not every building or embassy participates. However, I think it's a nice concept and quite fun. The American Embassy just started this year, however we couldn't get in as they only let in a certain number of people who reserved ahead of time (in order for background checks to clear the guests).
The cat sanctuary by the Parliament building. Yes, they feed and care for wild animals, mainly cats. I took this picture because my dad feeds wild cats (and all other critters that will eat free dried cat food) too.
View of Ottawa from the Civilization Museum in Quebec.
Ottawa is a beautiful city; I can't hope to do it justice here. I took many many more pictures, but those have pictures of other friends in them, and I'm not comfortable posting those (especially without their permission). Sadly my pictures of Baltimore didn't much come out.
It's been a crazy series of months for me. Spring Break followed by helping friends move, then finals (grr) followed by travel. Followed by illness. But I'm back!
There is a Buddhist saying which I try (and sometimes fail) to follow: "No expectations, no disappointments". In one month I took eleven flights, was in eleven cities, and had a ball. My expectations of my trips to Ottawa, Ontario (Canada) and Baltimore, Maryland were mainly to have a great time with two people both incredibly important to me. My expectations weren't just met, but vastly exceeded.
I took my first trip to Canada and so here's what surprised me about Ottawa the most.
Cafe au Lait comes in BOWLS!!!!!! The size of soup bowls. *sigh* Makes me so happy.
I caught fewer people tacking "eh" on to the ends of their sentences than I expected. Isn't it a law to end every fifth sentence with "eh" in Canada?
The dogs. Canines were everywhere! And I think it's great. In some areas of the States, it's very hard to have a dog if you don't have a yard. And it's nearly impossible to take your dog with you to public areas unless it's a service dog. Even then it can be an issue. My dad needs one on occasion, so this matters to me. Ottawa seems much more welcoming of pet dogs, big and small. And Ottawa was so clean, cleaner than most pet hostile US cities.
Shoes. I've never seen a greater percentage of women wearing sneakers or such with work clothes or with skirts and dresses. When I wore my four inchers, that got attention. Definitely marked me as a tourist. That and the clothes are more conservative than I've often found in the States, especially home in Miami.
The department stores - not many of the American brands or stores, but especially a dearth of high end American stores. I'm a girl. I notice these things, mainly thanks to my dad. But all over Europe there was a higher percentage of American retailers than it seemed there was in Canada.
The size. As the second largest city in its province, the population of Ottawa is only about a million people, with its suburbs the total comes to nearly 1.5 million people. In the States it's not uncommon for state capitals to be smaller than other cities. However, I wasn't expecting the national capital to be quite as small. Comparatively, Washington DC has a population of 750,000 people, but the DC area numbers about 5.6 million people. I understand the population size of the US is much greater than that of Canada. But it still surprised me.
About Baltimore I was mostly surprised at vehicular particulars.
The drivers are C-R-A-Z-Y, and I'm a Miami driver; we're reputed to be the worst drivers in the United States. I don't know, Baltimore may have Miami beat. Even if the drivers there don't do the famous Cuban or Miami turn (turn left against traffic from the far right hand lane in an intersection, preferably at least 4 lanes of traffic) or drivers who merge four lanes at a time horizontally on the interstate, they were impressively bad. I think it'd be fun to drive there. Ok, if that doesn't convince you that I left some marbles in Neverland, I don't know what will.
The dearth of parking. Seriously for a big city, where are the parking garages? Though I say the same thing about my college town, which Baltimore really is. Just overgrown.
The vehicular crimes. Smashing in windows seems to be the city's past time, whether it's to steal your car stereo or for a gang initiation. My friend's windshield had a crack in it and he recently had his stereo stolen. Regardless of the make or model of the car, this is a problem city wide. Lesson of the day: don't leave anything out in your car.
And at JHU, there must be an issue with shoplifting:
Much less of a sea breeze which I'm used to in Miami but I could still smell the salt in the air. Yummmmmm!
However if I have to pick a favourite of these two, (after Miami, of course a horse of course, against which none can compare,) it'd probably be Ottawa. I barely got to scratch the surface of these two cities and look forward to more visits.
Anyone else surprised by any place they visited recently?
There once was an actor named Sheen Who when asked claimed he was clean
Career is now spinning
Tho he might be biwinning
From CBS he will get no more green.
Charlie Sheen has exploded all over the interwebs with his crazy interviews and tweets. The following clip is from on of my favourite old tv shows, Stargate SG-1. Jack O'Neill and Teal'c the only people on Earth stuck in a six hour time loop. This is driving Jack batty, as he describes to Teal'c. I believe it could be applied to Sheen's state of mind.
What do you think of Sheen? And aren't limericks fun?
I have a friend who has his life all plotted out. I like to tell him that plans change the hour they're made, but so far his have mostly held true. He's still a student (in med school) and like most students, he goes home during the summers. He was surprised recently when his folks packed up his room and converted it into an office. They took the loft above the garage and moved him in there. Which he's now joking is his "summer home".
I know people who have a second home. So I got to thinking, what would I want for a weekend home. Here's my pick: Cool, right? Ok, I admit it. I'm not serious about the weekend home bit.
I had a tree house growing up. Actually it used to be illegal to build a treehouse in Miami-Dade County. One of those laws cops never enforced, like jaywalking or turning left across traffic from the far right lane. My dad was issued the first building permit for a treehouse. He will never do anything that's not above board. Unlike most treehouses, there was not a nail in the tree. There were three distinct stories, none of them stacked like a house, but spread among the branches. Each had a roof, sheltering us from the sun blazing through the leaves. I loved to read there during the middle of the day, when the heat kept us from riding. It was the coolest spot not indoors. And while we don't have that treehouse anymore, I have great memories of reading Tolstoy and Costain and more while sprawled on a blanket on its wood floors.
Did you guys have a treehouse growing up? Fond memories or horrid ones?