So, I am standing at this checkout and I remember handing the check out chick each item one by one. As I hand them to her, she scans the item through.
I hand her the next item.
I hand her the next item.
I’m confused as to why this high pitched ‘beep’ is going on for so long. I’m staring into the corner of my trolley. I am not quite sure why, but I think that I don’t want to make the check out chick feel awkward, so I just wait.
I lift my head, but the noise hasn’t stopped. I look to my right, and Bec has just woken up too. The noise is still going. I think its a fire alarm, but I have never heard a fire alarm to just hold one constant ear piercing tone the entire time, so that is why I am a little confused still. It’s 1:50am, and it is not a nice way to wake up. I think I’d be more happy to just keep dreaming about unloading my trolley item by item at this point.
I don’t really do much to try and help prepare for this potential fire hazard. I mean, we are on the 19th level, so if there is a fire, we are screwed already. I lay my head back on my pillow and wait for the alarm to switch off. Our couch surfing host is up, and he is even a little dazed and confused. He says to me, “I thought your alarm was pretty loud until I realised it was the fire alarm”. I can’t even remember if I made any more conversation before I fell back asleep, but I didn’t rouse much before we woke in the morning.
This time, we are up intentionally.
Our goal is to be on the road back to Ottawa by 7 am. We really liked Ottawa, and we didn’t really get to spend much time there on our way up to Montreal, so this time we made an effort to get to spend some more time there. Its been cold for the last few days and the snow has been constant. At times, heavy, but always constant.
Naturally, the drive between Montreal and Ottawa is largely covered with snow and as a bi-product, the roads are littered with drivers that aren’t being very Canadian. To my surprise, they are driving under the speed limit. VERY under the speed limit. So much so, that the speed limit is 100km/h, and we were driving at 60km/h behind this one guy at one point.
40 clicks under the limit.
The issue was that the snow was too much to be able to see a decent distance. If there was a car without headlights, I would hardly be able to see it until it was within a good 150m away. But, when I did finally over take this punter, I felt freer than a bird. I looked over to see who was the culprit. To my surprise, he wasn’t old. He wasn’t of an asian decent. He didn’t have someone beside him to show him the ropes on the road.
He was the exact depiction of someone who shouldn’t be driving 40km/h under the limit. But he was. It felt good to pass him. The crazy thing with passing on snowy roads though? You gotta be really careful. Yeah, they have got the snow plough machines that will run along the road and push all the snow off the side of the road with these giant ploughs mounted to the front of the machine. At the back of the vehicle, there is a part which spreads salt across the newly grated parts of the road.
I didn’t know this, but salt raises the temperature of objects. It can push boiling water up to 110 degrees, and can help melt snow. The only not ideal part of the this situation, is that the centre of the road doesn’t get touched. So, to overtake, you have to cross over a part of the road where the snow is half melted and nobody really drives. Its real easy to loose traction because nobody really drives that part of the road.
I mean, on the right side of the road, it is hard enough. Your only real option is just to stay on the exact same part of the road that the other plethora of cars have driven and cleared a path for you to drive. But to overtake, you have to set your trajectory within only a couple metres, and then you really just want to keep on that same direction the entire way until you hit the dry bitumen on the other side of the road.
If you start to change your direction, it won’t really work in your favour, so you just gotta wait till you reach the other side of the road. Once there, then you have to speed up enough to be able to be able to casually make the pass back onto the right side of the road. Its a little bit of a nerve racking process, but we make it over all good.
We continue this kind of slow methodical driving pace until we reach Ottawa. Its slow, but it is worth it. We decide to head to the Canadian Museum of Civilisation. We got told that it is a worthwhile investment of time. If we had out way, we would have gone to see the Museum of Natural History too, but we didn’t have the luxury of time this time around. We head to the counter and meet this dude named Leon. We get chatting with him, and you can definitely pick up a hint of a social justice streak in him.
He is an artist and lived in Vancouver for a few years, and our conversation doesn’t take long before it turns political. I like him and we have a good chat. He asks us if either of us have a student ID. I think “Here is my chance”. You see, he doesn’t know that my drivers licence isn’t a student ID.
I don’t miss a beat.
I reach into my wallet, and try to cover as much of the part of my ID that gives away that it isn’t a licence. Leon studies my ID, and I am studying his face. He’s not showing any signs of buying what I am feeding him, so I pull the pin.
“Ahh Nah. Just my drivers mate” we crack up and laugh, then as we are paying, Leon, the legend that he is, looks me in the eye and says, “So, thats one Adult and one Student right?”
“You bloody legend”. I smile and laugh and Leon adds a little flavour to the day.
“Thanks heaps mate. You’re an absolute champion”.
Our tickets get us into the Napoleon Exhibition, the Canadian Gold rush exhibition, and into the Canadian Indian exhibition. We have really only allotted 2 hours for us to get all this done. We have our work cut out for us here. So, we kick off with Napoleon. I’m not sure what to expect, whether there are going to be genuine relics that have had actual significance in Napoleons life, or if it is just going to be a lot of re-creations of items and objects that Napoleon interacted with.
We enter the exhibition, and we are greeted buy this mammoth painting of Napoleon, standing next to a chair. Within the glass box cabinet, sits this chair. I look back to the painting (which I soon discover is the original), and it is the exact chair. My questions are answered straight away.
This is going to be a bloody good exhibition.
We start heading to the items that grab our attention, and we soon find that people design things like exhibitions in a way that everything makes sense. This didn’t really make sense to us, because we hadn’t been following the exhibition in order. We start back at the start. The more we learn of Napoleon, the more we learn how much of a tosser he is. Incase you are unsure, he was a bit of a tosser. He has got to be the epitome of an egotistical chauvinistic alpha male. Its unreal.
And the guy can’t take a hint. He gets his ass whooped multiple times and then comes back to attempt to rule France again, and then gets kicked back out. It was very interesting, and my word, it was eye-opening.
We are inundated with items that have littered the story of Napoleon’s life, and its amazing to be only a few centimetres away from the drum that Napoleon used at one of his battles back in 1790 something. That is absolutely amazing to be able to be within arms length of history. Especially, a monumental part of history.
As the exhibition comes to an end, we move on to the Gold rush exhibition. We come from a mining town.
We don’t really care about the Gold exhibition.
So, we kinda just take the piss the whole time. I touch the sign that says I shouldn’t touch things. We play snakes and ladders, and I get to look at the same model of pistol that killed Abraham Lincoln. That was cool. We check our own weight in gold, and we correctly guess which of the 5 samples is actual gold.
“Listen mate, we were born in a gold mining town. We know gold when we see it”.
We are meant to be meeting Patrick again, and he is on his way to the museum. We is still a fair way away, so we have time to check out the Indian history exhibition. Its quite amazing to see all the ways that these people would hunt and fish and live over hundreds of years ago. It was cool to see the way that their social systems worked and how they would live. The best thing that I saw was the Indian’s warrior armour. It looked like an old world Ned Kelly outfit. Pretty bloody dope if I may say so.
We are walking through, and we have done enough reading and learning for today, so we are staring to just kinda rush through a lot of the exhibits and just check out the things that we find interesting. We should have been more thorough. Anyway. I get to this one part where these two buildings meet through their doorways. I, for no logical reason whatsoever, pull the retractable barrier across the doorway.
Bec asks me, “What did you do that for?”
She gives me this cute chuckle and we both slip under the barrier. We’re headed into the next exhibit, and Bec turns around and you can see that she isn’t sure if she should or shouldn’t do it. I look her in the eye and say with utter conviction: “Go on”. She slides the clip over it’s locking counterpart, and turns to me with this little thrill of excitement and giddy laugh. We casually walk off the ramp into the exhibit to see what mysteries we are to uncover about the Indian people.
But, in a glorious twist, as we leave the ramp that we so recently blocked off, a staff member of the museum appears, and she is emitting this look of utter rage as she inspects the situation before her. How dare anybody interfere with the museum’s layout. She isn’t happy. I look to Bec with a look that says “Ohhhhh wow. How close was that?”. We were like 2 metres away when the chick came and inspected our handy work. Bec is freaking out. She’s dividing her eye contact between watching what the chick is doing, and trying to look interested, like she isn’t watching what the chick is doing.
We have had our fill of historical education for the day, and were ready to eat, and eat something decent. We meet up with Patrick up in the foyer. We are in need to decent food. We jump in the car and drive back to the Byward Markets that we hung out at on our last trip. Were all kinda on a budget, so we walk into this pizza place, and quickly find that it is out of our league. I say to the waiter “Listen, were down for some burgers. Where can we go?”
She looks at us with this look of pure joy and delight, “OH! You have to go to King Eddy’s”. She looks around with a look of horror. She says to us “Oh.. I should be a little quieter..”, hinting to the fact that she is working at an eatery, and simultaneously directing us to another business to satisfy the needs that could already be satisfied here. “You just head 2 streets back that way and you will see King Eddy’s on the corner”.
We were all excited by the fact that someone directed us away from their own place of employment only for our own benefit, and so that we can enjoy an eating experience that this place couldn’t offer.
It does not disappoint. We are met with a waitress who is besotted with our accents, and she tells us within the first 3 mins how much she loves our accents. We get burgers, loaded fries, warm apple cider and ginger beer. It is an exquisite burger. It was all worth it.
I have set the timer for the car. I was going to only pay for parking till 1:32, but decided to extend it to 1:37 instead. Lucky I did, because when I looked down at my clock, I only had a minute to get back to the car. By the time I got to the car, the inspector was running around and checking everyone’s tickets.
I get back with one minute to spare.
I am a boss.
We get our bearings toward home, and drop off Patrick. Bec reads 13 Hours to me the entire way home. I cant get enough of it. 4 hours pass, and we are happy to be back among family for another evening.
We fill in the family on our adventures, and have our fair share of good laughs again.
Come back tomorrow,