Friday, September 23, 2005

Wild wild ouest

We've been having a great time in Canada, relaxing and also seeing lots of things. We went to the Canadian War Museum on Friday which was pretty good (though not as good as the one in Canberra).

NB: I'm having trouble uploading photos (other than the chipmunk one below) so will add more photos once I've returned home to the UK.

The museum we'd been to on the previous day was on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river, whereas this one was on the Ontario side. Even this short distance apart we noticed the French side was less friendly and people (locals) were more willing to barge past us (even willing to walk into Anne, whose bump is now quite obvious). Zut alors!

We'd planned to go to a drive-in theatre on Friday night, but the weather took a turn for the worse so we stayed in, gorged on pick and mix and watched Million Dollar Baby on DVD. It represents everything that is bad about Oscar winning movies. Avoid.

We were all up bright and early on Saturday for a two day trip to Algonquin National Park, a three hour drive west of Ottawa. After a coffee and donut in Barry's Bay on the way, we arrived at The Most Bizarre Bed and Breakfast there is, where we'd reserved rooms. There were stuffed animals everywhere and the reception had junk all around, including odd pictures of Elvis and lots of colourful decorations. The rooms were much the same. Sarah was clearly concerned, so I helped out by pointing out the similarities between this and The Bates Motel in Psycho. I like to think I made things easier for Sarah as she turned white.

But we weren't hanging around in the B&B. We picked up a picnic lunch and drive to the park. We were hoping to see bears, mooses and beavers. After our picnic failed to attract a bear (we feel the cartoon Yogi Bear must be inaccurate) we went for our first 2km walk and failed to spot any decent wildlife. The scenery was grand though, especially as the trees are just starting to change colour for the autumn.

Anne and I quite got into our walks when travelling in 2003, and a 2km walk would usually take about 20 minutes normally, or 40 over rough terrain. For some reason this walk took about an hour and a half. Part of the reason was Anne was unable to scrabble uphill as well as she used to due to her impregnated state, but I guess also we did a lot of standing near beaver-dams waiting and watching, hoping to catch a glimpse of a proper Canadian beaver. We also had to wait around when Sarah lost her hat in the lake - see Ian and Sarah's blog for the ridiculous story.

We did a few more walks on the Saturday, and whilst we saw no mooses, beavers or bears, we did see some chipmunks. When we saw the first one, Anne and I were really interested and took loads of photos. By the end of the weekend we'd seen so many that we were not too interested in them. How fickle we are.

On Saturday night, after dinner, Anne had a bath in the whirlpool bath in our room. I monkeyed around behind the shower curtain to amuse her, as carrying The Bean around is taking its toll on her. It wasn't long before I managed to brain myself on a towel rail and collapsed on the bed, writhing in agony. Anne couldn't see what had happened as the shower curtain was in the way, and she couldn't hear my screams due to the bath-pump. Ian and Sarah, in the next room, thought we were having rather too much fun, though the pain on my head (which I could still feel three days later) said otherwise.

We survived the night in The Bates Motel (actually called The Bellwood) and went back to the park for another walk on Sunday. We went to the visitors centre for a coffee and brownie before leaving to return to Ottawa, and saw some stuffed animals, including a beaver and a bear-head. I guess we'll have to make do with that, since no bears seemed to want to maul us in the wild.

Monday was less exciting. Anne and I went swimming in an indoor pool. The pool is in the Chinatown area of Ottawa, so we were swimming with old Chinese people. This meant I could legitimately swim in the fast lane! After that we walked back to The Glebe, the area in which Ian and Sarah live, and had a crepe lunch in a really good natural food cafe. Anne had to drag me away from the pudding section afterwards as she reminded me we'd be going for hot chocloate and a brownie when Ian and Sarah got back from work. We had a hot chocolate; but no brownie. Anne is a liar who is always denying me my chocolate brownies.

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