Arriving in Ottawa was surreal. The airport was completely different. It was spacious and had a waterfall. Eventually it occurred to me this was actually a completely new building.
I took the bus into the Rideau Centre; which is a mall that was built smack in the middle of downtown Ottawa in the early 80s with no consideration to the surroundings.
X wasn't able to pick me up until the afternoon so I wandered the mall for a bit, found it depressing (and full of French public school girls with bad hair) so I went into the Market.
The Market was as charming as I remembered with a mix of independent shops and restaurants and a few chains. Sadly my old haunts Sips and Wimm's were gone. Still, Christmas trees were sold on corners, and the sun made it a pleasant afternoon. I lunched at the Blue Cactus by myself, and the fajitas were gigantic and I couldn't finished it.
Afterwards I returned to the shops. Eventually X appeared and we shopped some more before heading back to her place where we ate and then tried to watch Fushigi Yuugi but became absorbed in old high school year books and trying to google our old friends.
Sat There (aka Adam or Jell-O Boy) joined us after he finished work and we got the low down on some of our high school mates.
The next day X made me some yummy pancakes. We then loafed for a bit and headed into town. We ate lunch at the D'Arcy McGee pub on Spark Street. The food was delicious and what is great about going to a pub in Canada is that smoking is illegal so everything smells wonderful.
There was a cold wind but we went past the War memorial past Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier (panoramic video here up Sussex Drive past the Peacekeeping Monument to the National Art Gallery of Canada. The walk was gorgeous. Ottawa really is a beautiful place.
The Gatineau Hill are visible and so is the river. It's spacious full of green spaces and cute buildings.
There were gigantic spiders outside the gallery (the same that were at Tate Modern a few years ago) so we posed with them before heading for the art inside.
I always loved the Ar Gallery in Ottawa and it was as I remembered. Tranquil, light, spacious and serene. I always loved the architecture itself of the building. It was a welcome change from the over-crowded and stressful galleries of London. The art collection is pretty good as well.
I did drag X all over the place looking for the Group of 7 room but when we finally found it most of them seemed to be gone on tour. It was disappointing.
Still I enjoyed the garden and looking at the giant Christmas tree in the Atrium where a fancy dinner was being set up.
We then went to Orleans, where we grew up. To the Cafe were we both had our first jobs, sadly it had shut at 4pm that day. We drove to the infamous Taffy Lane, where most of the houses go absolutely mad for the Christmas and decorate their houses like it's the last Holiday Season ever.
We then drove to Champlain St (not blvd as in the link above!) where I used to live to see if my old neighbour were still demented as always and they surpassed themselves this year. I think there was a house beneath the lights and decorations but I am not sure.
X and I went to the Tim Horton's by the mall were we used to hang out late at night. It was in a state. The staff were useless and the place a mess but we stayed anyway. Fortunately the donoughts and hot chocolate tasted the same.
We then went for a yummy curry where we sat by a screaming child. Still the food was delicious!
Adam rang while we were finishing so we went to pick him up in China Town (where he lives, but he's not Chinese) and back to X's for some Super Mario World on Nintendo. We also watched video tape of ourselves from high school and it was hilarious. Initiallyit was rather mortifying but as the tape went on and we got older we got a sense of fashion and we all looked better. It was very fun watching all of it and it brought back a lot of memories and laughter. I had made the compilation and I really have no memory of doing most of it!! It went on for quite a long while and had clips from 1993-1997.
We chatted some more and all the old chemistry we had was still there. We were older and wiser but beneath it all we understood each other after all these years and it made me sad that life had taken us in different directions.
The next day we indulged in the gorgeous samosas that they used to serve at the cafe (suddenly the brand escapes but they are the best samosas in the fucking world!) with the tamarind sauce.
We went to the Science and Technology Museum, which still has the lighthouse and rocket outside (But I am saddened to report that the McDonald's next door no longer has the kiddie party caboose.)
The Museum was wicked. There were lots of buttons to push. The place had been upgraded and it was so much fun. We went to the Autopsy of a Murder exhibit and solved the crime. We rocked it baby!
We then went to the Crazy Kitchen, a loopy little room that is all crooked and weird so that you can walk straight, and we both got headaches from it and had to sit down.
X: "Man, we are getting old. It didn't used to give me a headache"
LMB "We probably did, we just didn't care"
We then played in the museum shop for a bit before heading back to X's place as I had to get my things before meeting Adam for dinner. We were short on time so we went to um....Harvey's
X then kindly drove me to the airport where we said good-bye. It had been a great weekend and it went by so quickly. We agree to not let so many years go by next time.....hopefully....
**Pictures will come once I get back to London. I forgot the cable for my camera!**