We were the only car on the road. The silence was deafening. And then I spotted the sign, on the side of the road. “No Kill Area”. “Great” I thought. “We are in a horror movie”. You know these low-budget Hollywood movies where a couple—or even better, a group of cute but dumb college students— decide to take a road trip and their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere.
On Civic Holiday weekend, we suddenly realized we needed a break, a quick change of scenery (I only had one day off) to see something new. We picked Lake Placid, a three-hour drive from Ottawa, in New York State.
The small village in the Adirondack Mountains was twice the site of the Winter Olympic Games, in 1932 and in 1980. I didn’t know that but I have an excuse—I wasn’t born.
I admit it, I don’t know anything about cars. I can barely tell a convertible from a Hummer and I tend to forget where I park in the parking lot—I wish our car was painted yellow or pink because it would be easier to spot.
Yet I can’t resist a good photo opportunity.
In 2005, when I had to leave Canada to validate my “landed immigrant” status, I discovered the U.S. border was only a 45-minute drive from Ottawa. Since then, going Alexandria Bay, one of the closest American towns, has become an annual tradition. I now have a Canadian passport and traveling to the U.S has never been easier. We are expert in border-crossing and have an answer to all the tricky immigration questions: “where are you from?” (Ottawa), “how do you know each other?” (long story but we are married), “are you carrying firearms?” (no, should we?) etc.
Last weekend, we took a drive to the U.S. and headed to Watertown, a small town in New York State. A manufacturing centre in the early 20th century, the city was said to have more millionaires per capita than any other city in the nation. This is where the little trees air fresheners were invented! Today, 19.3% of the population live below the poverty line…
We left Singapore on Tuesday evening and arrived in Sydney early morning on Wednesday. We barely slept in the plane (note to self: budget airlines suck for long-distance trips). The F1 Hotel we had booked in Kings Cross looked like a halfway house: the shower was a trickle of water, the window was busted and there were cigarettes burns everywhere. Both exhausted, we headed to Bondi Beach for a last look.
I was curious to see the other side of L.A, the glamorous one. So far, I wasn’t too impressed: houses looked nice but nothing out of the ordinary. I certainly couldn’t picture all these movie stars and socialites living here, in Korea Town or in Little Armenia.
We headed to Venice Beach and had breakfast in a small sidewalk restaurant, from which we could observe people coming and going. This is one of the best spot I have ever seen for candid portraits and street photography—locals seemed oblivious to what was going on around them and simply kept on rollerblading, running, singing or whatever activity they were into.
After Hollywood Hill, we headed back to Hollywood Boulevard for a much-needed dose of tacky souvenirs and postcards.
Being in L.A was very fun for me, the same way it is for an American going to Paris, I guess. I read so many mystery and thriller books taking place in that city, including Jonathan Kellerman’s books, that I felt I knew it. Yet it surprised me.
We didn’t sleep much on Saturday night and getting up at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday was brutal. I can barely remember what we did at the Ottawa airport, but we must have got it right because we landed in Toronto at 8 a.m., transferred to another flight and landed in Los Angeles six hours later.
After Waddington and the shores of the St Lawrence River, we headed to the town of Massena in St. Lawrence County. It is named after the Napoleonic general, Andre Massena—I smiled at the thought of my French heritage following me all the way to the U.S.A.
A couple of weeks ago, to celebrate the Canadian Thanksgiving, we took a drive to the U.S.A. The weather was gorgeous and we made it to Prescott/Ogdensburg in less than an hour, eating Tim Hortons Donuts and listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the car.
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.
We flew to France yesterday, and after our travels in Latin America, where airport security is straightforwards and quite basic, it was a shock.
To celebrate the first big heat wave in Canada this year (yes, get over it — I’m Canadian. Half of the year, I complain about the cold, and I complain about the heat the rest of time. We call it the windchill/ humidex complaint here), we decided to drive to Niagara Falls thought the USA.
How can you tell I’m still European? Because I get excited when I go to the USA!
His platform what somewhat unclear but included the “No Child Left Behind Act” (“Rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?”, he wondered), no nation building (“I don’t think our troops should be used for what’s called nation building” as said in 2000), making rich people richer (“This is an impressive crowd. The haves and the have-mores. Some people call you the elite. I call you my base”, he declared).
Another bites the dust. Another Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan, the 67th. Americans casualty ? 427 soldiers, if no one dies by tomorrow. Operation Enduring Freedom ? Yeah, right.