The closest U.S border is at Prescott, Ontario, a mere 45 minutes drive from Ottawa. Armed with cold drinks and cookies (Tim Hortons, obviously), we hit the road. Crossing the border is still a cool experience for me, the French girl, and I admit I get a kick out of using my Canadian passport. This is only the second time I go to the U.S as a Canadian citizen – the first time was last winter, in Niagara Falls.
Monthly Archives: May, 2010
Almost four years of blogging later, today I’m publishing my 500th post.
It all started in October 2006. At the time, I had been a permanent resident in Canada for exactly a year (and I had been in Canada for already two years) but I was still getting comfortable with my new country. I had no idea what I would do with a blog nor did I have any idea how all that (all that being me in Canada, working as a teacher) was going to turn out.
After the Egyptian and the Thai performances, I just couldn’t leave without watching the Latino’s. Mexico and Venezuela put out quite a show!
Both countries featured a lot of very young dancers, both shy and proud to be the center of attention. Older dancers swirled and spun, their colorful flounced skirts following each one of their steps. The dances were fast, contrasting with the slow Thai performance, but as graceful.
After the Egypt performance was finished, I was about to exit Major’s Hill Park when I noticed a strange procession making its way to the stage. Hidden behind bright red sunshades, Asian-looking girls and women were shyly posing for photographers. From the pattern of their clothes, I gathered it was time for a Thai dance, and once again, I hide besides the stage to watch the performance.
I was on a photography hunt last Saturday when I heard some music coming from Major Hills Park, by the Parliament. I hurried there and stumbled upon the Tulips Festival’s final weekend celebrations. The festival is not just about gorgeous flowers, it also promotes international friendship and a number of performances from around the world are invited to star on the aptly named “International Friendship Stage”.
On one side, my experience with university in Canada is pretty good. First, I hope that eventually I will be able to complete a Canadian degree, even if the goal seems to be very far away. Second, it helps me keep a balance with my crazy work environment. Culturally speaking, it is also interesting to see how things are taught on this side of the Atlantic Ocean: perspectives, especially on economics, history and politics are quite different from Europe’s.
As the saying goes, “the road to hell is paved with good intention”. But for Canadians, the saying takes a very deep and literal meaning in the spring.
A popular Canadian joke claims that there are only two seasons in Canada: winter and construction. Indeed, after our long and harsh winters, crews of construction workers are dispatched all over Canada to tackle new projects, fix the roads and repair the many cracks in the pavement.
In North America, not spending money is almost a sin – what, don’t you want to help the economy? That’s probably why everything is conveniently set up so that people can shop anywhere, anytime.
In France, consumers have to abide by retailers’ will. Not so long ago, stores were closed between noon and 2 pm so that shopkeepers could go have a lengthy French lunch.
I think I finally found where Ottawa’s rebel youth is going to smoke pot and to talk about overpowering the government — at least, I like to think that if there is such a place, that’s where it is. Phew. I feel slightly relieved: at times, pretty Ottawa can seem a tad too polished and clean.
I often drive on the Ottawa River Parkway and keep on noticing this old bridge. I couldn’t care less about “danger” signs when I want to take pictures.
Who doesn’t like free stuff?
Free activities, free services, free goodies… it’s always good to take! Canadians are pretty generous, there are tons of free stuff out there — you just have to find them. I put up a list of ten free-everything available in Ottawa.
Many of the finds here are also available in other cities across Canada, you don’t necessarily have to live in Ottawa to benefit from them.
Yes, it’s this time of the year again: tulips have taken over the city.
Being my usual counterculture self, I actually went to take pictures on a cloudy day, ten days before the festival actually began. I noticed the flowers bloomed very early this year, plus flower pictures are better taken on cloudy days (clouds act like a natural light filter and colors don’t look as saturated).
I fought hard with my parents for the right to put make-up on when I was in my very early teens and I intended to use that right fully. Pretty much all of my friends wore make-up (including some guys, but that’s another matter). I felt naked without it, I felt grown-up and mature with it.
There is something very comforting in walking around in a city after sunset. Contrary to popular belief, most of them don’t turn into cut-throat places and it’s not like you risk your life at every block. Quite the opposite actually: people tend to be more relaxed after a stressful day.
And when it comes to night skylines, Toronto has it all.
If you really want to offend a French man, don’t ask him if you can see his wife naked – there is always the risk you will end up in one of Paris’ seedy swinging clubs. Instead, just ask him how much money he makes. That would certainly stop the conservation dead.
Most of the market is nest inside a two-storey brick building, between King Street East and the Esplanade. We went there on Saturday morning, and boy it was busy! About half of Toronto seemed to have gathered around the baker, and the other half was queuing for meat, fish or appetizers, such as fresh olives, red pepper and feta cheese or artichokes.