2 min read
02 Jul

What a relief to be pain-free!  Now I can start doing some of the Ottawa things I want to do.  

First thing I did was walk to the Rideau Centre.  It’s only one block from the Parliament Buildings.  All shops are able to be open 365 days a year because it is a deemed a tourist attraction. Every kind of retailer is housed in this four-story mall.    From Nespresso to Apple to Echo Shoes to Farm Boy Market to LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario), on and on.  Really no need to go anywhere else to shop! 

It came as a bit of a surprise to find summer sales had already started although we are only one week into the summer.  Anyway, I quickly got into the swing of things with a couple of lightweight additions to my wardrobe.  They’ll roll up like hankies in my suitcase and will unpack with no wrinkles – essential for my nomadic lifestyle.  

I haven’t heard from my Family Doctor sweepstakes – they said it would take a week – so I left a message with them Friday morning.  There’s no way of talking with a human these days unless one returns your calls.  It sometimes makes you wonder if there ARE any humans at the other end of your phone.  My fingers are crossed – hope I hear good news soon. 

A cell phone and/or a computer of some kind are essential to help negotiate your way through life nowadays, especially when you are in a new city or town.   I know, just from talking with friends my age and even somewhat younger, that many of them are overwhelmed by technology today.  Fortunately, I am quite computer literate.  For example, I developed a program for "Harper" the multi-level marketing company I created in 1996 - boy, that seems like another lifetime ago.  

I spend hours each day on my iPad and iPhone – reading emails, newspapers, and a couple of independent journalists I trust and to whom I subscribe (I don’t watch TV news anymore, in fact I seldom watch TV – I stream instead).  I look at and comment on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube; take daily Spanish lessons, and weekly piano lessons online.   I do all my banking online.  It’s been 4 years since I went into a brick and mortar bank until last week.  I had cash I wanted to deposit and there is no way to do that on line - cheques and e-transfers are done by computer.  A lot of my shopping is online too, from personal items to booking and printing theatre tickets and boarding passes.  

Being new to Ottawa, I find these devices are critical. I can search interesting places to go, what time it's best to do so, get directions with the best route to get there and even how long it will take to walk to my destination.  When I’m in Mexico I can get instant translation on my phone, either written or spoken – my Spanish is improving but only goes so far. 

Speaking of Mexico, the three amigas I met in Manzanillo a week before returning to Canada last March, came for lunch yesterday.  (Finger food only – no place in  my condo for a sit down meal for four.)   We haven’t spent much time together so far nor do we know a lot about each other yet but already we seem like old friends.  We had an immediate affinity one to another from the beginning.  Conversation is fluid, easy, even when telling personal things from our pasts that come up in our stories.   No recriminations.  No discomfort.  Just interested listening.  I’m so glad we met.  

Canada Day was quiet.  No fireworks this year because of the poor air quality.  Fireworks were the most exciting part of the holiday when I was a kid.  My brother and I spent hours searching the various local stores that carried fireworks to find just the right ones. Then at dusk on Dominion Day (that’s what it was called until Pierre Trudeau changed the name to Canada Day when he was Prime Minister) my dad set them off on our front lawn, just like all the other fathers on our street and in our neighbourhood.  Fireworks everywhere you looked! Another fun memory of my childhood. 

Hopefully, on the first nice day next week, a 90-minute bus tour of the city on a double decker is on my agenda - or maybe the bus that also slides into the Ottawa River to complete the city tour!  A city tour is usually the first thing I do whenever I’m in a new city.  It’s the fastest way to familiarize yourself with the interesting places the town has to offer.  You find out where you want to spend more time.  By the end of the tour you have probably learned more about the city than the average inhabitant who has lived there for years.  

My Ottawa adventure is finally starting for real, I am very excited - I can hardly wait.

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