My shiny little online spot to help y'all keep track of me while I galavant around London.

Monday, January 30, 2006


In order to get my work permit visa in less than five and a half weeks, I needed to apply in person at the British High Commission, the only location of which is in Ottawa. Right. So in addition to delayed flights, I needed a stop over in Ottawa before I headed back to London last week.

Digicam self-portraits... what did solo travellers do before them?

On the upside, I got to stay with the infamous Rob South, in his rather cool apartment, complete with charmingly creaking floors.

Anyways. I got into town about midnight -- the only flight they'd give me arrived at 12:03am -- and cabbed it to South's. Thankfully, he lives in a quite central location, so I could walk everywhere I needed/wanted to go downtown.

And walk everywhere I did... Damn -- my legs are still sore. First stop Sunday morning was the Canadian War Museum. Natalie told me they had some war poster/propaganda exhibit she wanted to see, so I went to see that. A new museum (opened in May-ish), it's a bit dull, which is retarded, given the topic. The walls are covered in photos and writing, but honestly, such material is better bound in a book. And honestly, seeing an authentic uniform behind glass doesn't really bring the war (whichever war it is) to life.

And according to Pier -- who is from Lux, and therefore would know --
they do/did resist. He also informs me that the flag slogan means:
"we want to stay who we are."
They missed the boat on a few things, too (resisting the urge to make a Dunkirk joke -- am such a geek). The Vimy section was small; just a map, a paragraph and a blurry photo of the monument. This was a massive battle where Canadian soldiers distinguished themselves and their country; it's considered a turning point in national identity, but you'd never know it from the display.

The were two really good sections, however. The first was the Progpaganda exhibit, which while oddly organized was captivating. The second was a collection of moulds from the making of the Vimy monument (hey, maybe one of these could have been in the other section? d'ya think?) which were nice to see up close as we didn't get much of a view on our visit last year.

Vimy moulds. Or is it molds?

After that, I met South for lunch at the Elgin Street Diner (where he took James, Ben, Mike and I when we were in town for a CUP conference a few years back) and then wandered around Parliament Hill and ByWard Market while South helped his girlfriend with some powerdrilling. Oh yes, joke headache my friends, joke headache.

Next day, I got my visa, and damn if it wasn't a whole lot easier than expected. I think they appreciated the fact that I had all my paperwork and was applying for a visa I actually qualified for (unlike the guy who was applying for an internship visa and planning to bring his whole family of 12 with him... um, what?).

Elated and relieved to have my visa in hand, I took a walk along Sussex Drive, past Rideau Falls to number 24, soon-to-be home of PM-elect Harper. It was a nice walk and all, but 24 Sussex Drive isn't very exciting. But this sure isn't the White House, or hell, even 10 Downing Street.

Harper house. Didn't get to see the leopard print staircase, tho...

My feet aching, I bused it back to Parliament Hill and went up the Peace Tower, the tall clock tower. It was cooler than I thought, and even better, free. The best part was seeing the roof of the library. It was recently replaced, and the copper is still bronze; it'll turn green, like the rest of the buildings' roofs, in a few years.

Weirdly not green...

Then I walked to Quebec, which for those of you who don't know Ottawa-Gatineau, involved crossing the river. It was a Monday, and inexplicably, all the museums are closed Mondays, so I couldn't visit the Museum of Civilization in Gatineau (no loss, as I didn't like it much last time -- the museum, not the city) or the Museum of Modern Art. But I walked over to the Museum of Civilization anyway, as it's a cool building, and I needed something to do.

Anyways, then I saw South for about ten minutes, argued about politics in his doorway (ah, to be in Ottawa on election day! It's like Paris in the spring, except... not...) and headed off to the airport...

More pics be here!


Blogger Nat said...

Well it's hard for a museum to compete with being in the actual tunnels and holding rusted weapons.

Guess I won't be going to Ottawa after all.


Blogger Nicole said...

Of course it won't be as good, but it could have been better.

Don't go to O.O. (As I think I shall now call it) just for that museum, but if you go to Ottawa, go to the museum. Right? Right.



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