another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Like a Whole Other Country!

The long delayed post on Ottawa.

The trip to Ottawa was brought up on short notice. I'd hoped NOT to be doing as much traveling, or as much STUPID traveling (for no point). But, this one was for an assignment that I very much wanted to do, to spend more time on. Plus, I knew I'd actually be meeting with people there. Interacting! Unlike my trip to Philadelphia earlier in the year.

Anyway, not so much to report on the work -- both because it was fairly unremarkable and because I probably shouldn't post much about it on an open forum. Not that any of the stuff I was working on hasn't been announced, just not as good a policy. The week was productive, though, and the colleagues pleasant to work with.

The hotel they put us in was too-fancy by half for my taste. Too upscale, but it was right next to the office. This is the kind of place where they charge $200 a night and then also charge for parking, and for internet access. I can get free internet in any Super 8 in the world, but they can't do it here? They can, but they also know they can get away with charging. And, since I was doing some work from the hotel at night, Alcatel-Lucent will just have to put up with paying for it. Another colleague, who is traveling this week, decided to go down the road a ways to a Days Inn because his taste runs about the same as mine.

I was up there with another co-worker, Kris. He and I went downtown in Ottawa on Tuesday night of that week, to the Byward Market. The density of restaurants in about six or eight square blocks was pretty astounding. The only type of restaurant that I didn't note in that area was a Greek restaurant (later, I saw one a couple miles away). One the other hand, there are a LOT of Lebanese restaurants. We wound up that night at a seafood restaurant, upstairs in their grille areas (three separate restaurants? or three separate brandings of basically the same restaurant in one building? -- upstairs, main floor, and cellar).

I also spent a night where I went back downtown and met my friend Dwight for dinner, at a pub in the large mall near the Parliment. I love pub-style food, and that's one thing that I've never seen replicated well in the U.S. In Ottawa there were a number of pubs (and, in fact, Kris and I ate in two others), no doubt due to the far-longer English influence in the country. Just in general, being in Ottawa was far more like being in England than like anywhere in the U.S. Other than driving on the proper side of the road!

And, since the timing put us there right at the beginning of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, there was hockey everywhere in the evening. On the TV in every place that we ate. One three or four channels on my room TV. And, instead of being parked on ESPN as I often am when on the road, the TV was most often on TSN. TSN was pretty obviously owned, or part owned*, by ESPN since the graphics are the same, the music the same, the style the same. Only it was "SportsCentre" rather than "SportsCenter". And, hockey took about 80% of the broadcast, with baseball tucked into the corners, so I had to work a bit harder to get the Cubs score each day.

* TSN is 20% owned by ESPN, I see from Wikipedia.

I need to force myself back into more frequent posting, as I have ideas back up in my head that I never get committed to bits!


  • I was in Ottawa for Free Comic Book Day! Too bad we just missed each other. We're actually considering a move to the Ottawa area (one, because houses are more affordable than here in Toronto; and two, we'd only be a couple hours drive from my family instead of five or six). Anyway, enjoyed reading your trip report. Hope this post finds you well...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/17/2008 9:06 PM  

  • It was definitely good to see you for the first time in ages, and to see you visit hereabouts for the first time as well.

    The Market is something of a magnet for nightspots of many kinds, competing with Old Hull Sector across the river in Gatineau to some extent. Next chance we get, I think we're going to have to introduce you to that side of the region and its eateries. It will give you a different way of looking at this place.

    The Elephant and Castle at the Rideau's good as chain pubs go. So in addition to Hull, I'm putting the Patty Boland on the to-do list.

    J> and I have to talk about real estate again at some point, I see...

    By Blogger Dwight Williams, at 5/17/2008 10:55 PM  

  • I didn't know the Elephant and Castle as a chain place. It was fine - the meatloaf I had was very good. The other pubs we wound up at were both out in Kanata -- the Barley Mow (right next to work, and I know there's at least one other site for that) and the Royal Oak (which was recommended to me by a colleague in England -- he said the proprietor is an English ex-pat).

    Like I said, a proper English-style pub is practically impossible to find in the midwest U.S., and I like the cuisine style (which is sufficiently distinct), despite the jokes about lack of English cuisine. Although when I talk to my English colleagues, it seems like Indian cuisine is taking over England, and they are quite happy for it.

    By Blogger Tim Tjarks, at 5/17/2008 11:45 PM  

  • I didn't know the E&C was a chain operation until the family moved from Regina to Ottawa. Seeing the Rideau Centre location was my first clue. :-)

    As to the Royal Oak, they're a solid locally-owned chain with locations across town. Glad to read that you enjoyed the one in Kanata.

    By Blogger Dwight Williams, at 5/18/2008 11:11 AM  

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