Sleepless In Ottawa

On Tuesday night, I packed my lunch. I had bought bus tickets to get to Ottawa earlier that day. I had planned on either arriving early and then meeting up with someone from Couchsurfing, or leaving as late as possible and managing until 9AM when the TECO office in Ottawa opened.

Needless to say that I didn’t get in contact with someone in Couchsurfing. There are only two people in Ottawa. So I got onto the bus at 8PM. I was surprised. The bus was very comfortable and I had space for my legs. That usually isn’t the case. The last time I had taken the bus was in 2006 on a similar trip to Ottawa right before leaving Montreal. That trip was hellish. I won’t get into to many details, but in the end, I had to charter a cab for 300$ to drive me back to Montreal, since if I had taken the bus, I wouldn’t have made my flight. Traffic was killer in Montreal and I had to meet my wife directly at the airport. I forgot to pack a few items.

I arrived in Montreal at 10:40PM. The last bus to Ottawa was at midnight. I started reading Pushing Ice by Alastair Reynolds. I’ve read it before and it’s one of my favorite books.

I got onto the midnight bus to Ottawa. This was a Greyhound bus and it was more cramped than the Orleans Express bus I had been on. Anyway, the uneventful trip landed me in Ottawa at 2AM.

I hadn’t really planned anything. I was informed that the station was about to close. I got directed to a 24 hour diner, the Elgin Street Diner. I got myself over there with Oscar, a guy who was waiting for a connecting bus to Toronto at 7AM.

Methad met us there as well. He came from Toronto and needed to visit the US embassy in Ottawa. It opened at 8:30AM. We were all young guys and we spent most of the night talking. I snoozed off for a few minutes when I got tired. More on Oscar and Methad in upcoming storytree posts.

Oscar left at around 6AM. Methad and I left at around 7:40AM for the US embassy. I only had to be at the TECO office for 9AM, the time it opened. My paperwork was all in order. I was planning on snapping a few pictures around Sussex Dr. and Parliament Hill.

The morning was cold, but not too cold. Light was great and I walked around and took pictures. They are uploading right now. I went to the TECO office and freshened up in their nice swanky bathroom. I was at the office door when the woman arrived at 8:45AM. She let me in and saw me at about 8:50AM. It was all pretty straightforward. I just dropped off my papers and left. I was told that I could come by at 3PM to get my passport.

I went to the bottom floor of the World Exchange Plaza at 45 O’Connor St. I found a place in a food court and sat myself down. The National Gallery would be opening at 10AM. It was a little after 9. I promptly took out a book, opened it up and pretended to read while I snoozed away. It was a fitful snooze at best.

My leg had started aching sometime ago and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to walk around a lot today. In the end, I ate my lunch, read and slept there until 2:30PM. The National Gallery would have to be visited some other time.

I went to the bathroom to freshen up once more and arrived at the TECO office at 2:45PM. The woman handed me over my passport and visa and I was off. I got into a cab and made the 3PM bus to Montreal, which was full and cramped. I managed to sleep and read a bit. I arrived in Montreal at 5:45PM. That was a long trip!

I managed to get onto the 6PM bus to Quebec City just in time. Once again, the Orleans Express buses were a lot more comfortable. However, it was full. I saw a girl writing in a journal and that prompted me to get out my own notebook and paperblog about what I had been through.

I arrived in Quebec at around 8:30PM and took a city bus home. I ate a bit and watched a few things, too dazed and confused to do anything else.


One response to “Sleepless In Ottawa”

  1. Taiwanese Bureaucracies « memoirs on a rainy day Avatar

    […] did this, I spent over $400. This included travel and the visa itself. Back in May, I also spent a hellish night/day in Ottawa. This was because you need to arrive before 10AM at the TECO office in order to get your visa the […]

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