Curmudgeon On The Storytree

He got into an awaiting cab. It was just a few minutes before 3PM. He had a bus to catch. It was going to be close. After last night’s experience, he knew that the bus would leave at 3PM. At least he wasn’t too far from the bus station on Catherine Street. Still, there was a good chance that he would miss it.

It was the second time today that he had gotten into a cab. The first one was this morning at 7:45 with Methad. They took the cab on Elgin Street to get to the US embassy on Sussex Drive. It was a quick drive. He mentioned that the embassy was an eyesore. Methad understood when he saw the building next to the beautiful Connaught Building.

Once again, he noticed that all of the Canadian flags were flying at half-mast. It was the second time in as many weeks that  he had noticed this. For the first time, it was the National Mourning Day for Workers. It seemed odd that no one knew about this when he asked around.

As always, his curiosity was piqued. He wondered who had died. Somebody important. Maybe it was another national mourning day for some reason. He didn’t know.

-To the Voyageur Bus Station on Catherine St.
-Right away, sir.

He looked around and saw more flags flying half-mast. Since this was the nation’s capital, there were a lot of Canadian flags flying around. It wasn’t like that in Quebec.

-Do you know why the Canadian flag is flying at half-mast, he asked the cab driver?
-Why do you care? Some people don’t know what day it is or what hour it is, why would you care about that, he asked sardonically?
-Well, it’s because it’s something that  I’m observing and I’m curious. Aren’t you curious?
-No, I’m not, he answered shaking his head.

Now that guy had a problem. He wasn’t very positive. All that he had done was ask a simple question. There was no need in being so unfriendly.

Minutes later, he arrived at the bus station. The cost of the fare was 6.05$. He told the cab driver that he had 6$ or 10$. The cab driver took his six bucks and left.

He just made the bus in time. The bus was packed and he sat next to another unfriendly man who took up a lot of space. That didn’t matter. He knew how to claim his space. He wasn’t shy.

Connaught Building

When I walked by Ottawa’s eyesore, the US embassy, I saw this beautiful building. It’s the Connaught Building.

The Connaught Building is a historic office building. It’s on Sussex Drive, near the Fairmont Château Laurier. Today it houses the HQ of the Canada Revenue Agency. The building is named after the Duke of Connaught, who was the Governor General of Canada at the time of the construction. Prince Arthur served as the Governor General of Canada from 1911 to 1916.

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Fairmont Chateau Laurier

The Fairmont Château Laurier is a landmark hotel in Canada’s capital region, Ottawa. It’s located on the intersection of Rideau Street and Sussex Drive. It’s very close to Parliament Hill and has been used as a meeting place for many notable political figures. It’s sometimes referred as the “third chamber of Parliament”.

The hotel is an impressive sight. That region of downtown Ottawa is filled with great buildings, excluding the eyesore of downtown Ottawa, the US embassy. I didn’t have time to visit it, but it’s built in a picturesque location. One side of the hotel is on Rideau Canal. The CMCP is wedged in between them, but you can’t really see much of it.

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Ottawa’s Eyesore

The architectural eyesore that many people from Ottawa like to talk about is the US embassy on Sussex Dr.

The design reminds me of the Supreme Court of Canada building.

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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.

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Heading To Ottawa

I’m heading to Ottawa to get my visa for Taiwan tonight. I’ll arrive during the night and I’ll have a few hours to kill before the TECO office opens at 9AM. I’ve got all my papers sorted out, it should be very quick and fast.

I’m back in Quebec in about 24 hours. I’m leaving for Taiwan at 6:35AM on Friday. I’ll arrive at about 9PM on Saturday. I’ll have a few hours to kill in the HK airport, but that’s always been the case.

Taiwan Here I Come

My flights are booked and I arrive on Saturday in Taiwan.

It’s going to be a hectic few days in order to prepare everything, but I’m already almost set.

I’m not sure if I will try out couchsurfing or not. I’ve tried contacting a guy and we’ll see what happens. If I can’t set it up in time, I’ll have to leave in the early hours of Wednesday morning, around 3AM most likely. That way, I’m sure to arrive at 8AM to the TECO office in Ottawa.

I barely slept last night because I my flights weren’t confirmed and I hadn’t yet spoken to my boss in detail about my upcoming departure. Turns out that my flights were confirmed and my boss was really nice and guaranteed me a job when I come back in late August.

My wife has already found me a few little jobs in Taiwan, which is pretty sweet. I’ve sent out a few CVs, but I’m looking for sub work. Or full time employment during the summer.

Tomorrow, I’ll see if I can find a place on Allo-Stop. I doubt that it will work out. Most likely, I’ll use the bus and arrive in Ottawa at around 8PM.

If Couchsurfing doesn’t pan out, I’ll leave early Wednesday morning.

Semester Coming To An End

It’s most probably my last week in Quebec. I’m getting ready to go back to Taiwan for the summer. I’ll be back in Quebec in late August. After the killer week I had last week, I needed the weekend to sleep. I must have slept more than 10 hours each night.

One more homework left before I’m totally finished.

It’s gotten cold today again. And rainy. I’ve been getting a lot of cancellations in the past week as well. I need to plan my trip to Ottawa to get my visa at the TECO office.

Rob Solo @ Hips

For my wife’s birthday in June 2007, I took her out to see Rob Solo at a Latin bar called Hips in Taipei. Rob Solo is an Ottawa DJ we both know. He moved to Kaoshiung a few years ago. I was surprised to find him here.


All photos taken on the 7th of June 2007 with a Nikon D200 and a 18-200VR lens. I used a tripod and a SB800 speedlight for some shots.


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