Tuesday, October 24, 2006

ottawaean (??) observations

(october 20th, 2006)

- no one waits for the walk sign to cross streets, i would expect the law abiding citizens of the nation’s capital to abide the laws but in fact it is those rogue albertan renegade cowboys that actually wait even if no cars are in site for fear, perhaps, of a jay walking ticket or unexpected red light turners.
- a lot of men and women in their military get up (fatigues, uniform, camouflage… i am obviously not up on the proper military terminology) waiting for buses. should members of our military really have to depend on the public transit system? i mean, if it is an efficient and energy saving method of transport, good on’em, but shouldn’t they be paid enough to take taxis or afford automobiles?
- i love the parliament buildings and the new library which was covered in an unsightly white tarp the last time i visited ottawa.
- it rains. a lot. for october.
- but there are maple leaves on the ground. yellow ones and red ones, but most importantly, real ones. i was not the only one struck by this fact as one taxi driver that passed me on the street was holding a yellow one, waving it out of his window yelling proudly, ‘canada! canada!’ now there’s the spirit.
- the starbucks employees are uncharacteristically chipper and happy to be serving grumbly people lattes and locating bathroom keys. but then this could be due to the comparison I am making with the overworked, sometimes apathetic, employees of coffee shops in calgary where everyone and their maritimer dog could have a job working in a coffee shop if they so desired.
- there are a lot of spanish speakers in ottawa, the ones i heard were doing housekeeping/serving jobs in hotels. yet there are even more advertisements for spanish lessons on street corners. something tells me that it is not the hotel employees who are offering the lessons, a bit of a labour market dissonance and a touch of irony, if you ask me.
- i saw many a professional man or woman wandering about town and secretly wondered each time whether or not they were a diplomat or worked in an embassy. this is somewhat impressive to me, although i am sure their work would be rather dull and monotonous if i ever had the chance to observe it.
- the number of Government of Canada buildings is truly impressive and surprising. who knew it took that many buildings to house that many government departments to run a country? clearly, not this sometime resident of a non-capital city. but ask me the number of oil company offices needed to extract the delicious, thick, black substance from the ground and i could give you an educated guess.
- i like that the cbc broadcasts from right outside the building and you can watch the news on screens in their windows. i think i accidentally interrupted one of the tapings with my characteristic, and sometimes uncontrollable, laugh.


kristen said...

-i don't wait for the walk sign anymore either
-i live right near one of the department of defense buildings...some of them drive, but many live downtown (so i hear) and so it is much easier to take the bus
-it is still raining (ok, it has stopped for the moment, but the clouds do not look good)
-the maple leaves swish rather than crunch under your feet (all that rain...)
-i'm guessing that there is at least one starbucks employee in
calgary that isn't surly...though even my sister has bad days ;-)
-i've noticed the spanish too
-next time, just watch for the red license plates...then you'll know for sure you are looking at a diplomat
-i often wonder just how many government buildings there are
-i like walking on the other side of the CBC building...you can see right into people's cubicles.

glad to hear you enjoyed the city.

lu said...

the license plates are red here too! i wonder if that is a universal thing.

actually, i must say that most starby's employees in calgary aren't too unfriendly at all, it is more the general service provided in the city these days.

Sara said...

It is funny that we all wait for the walk sign before we go. People even wait if they are crossing 7th ave, which is for trains ONLY, and there are no trains in sight, patiently wait for the go ahead. I think the main fear is being ticketed, not even the fear of being hit by a train.

lu said...

i would have LOVED to have had a traffic light this morning crossing the crazy highway... this is going to take some getting used to.