Sunday, February 20, 2005

Winter glee and Beavertails

I'm currently in Ottawa, enjoying reading week and hanging out while Awesomemobile (my bitchin' and elderly '92 Mazda 323) gets fixed. Hopefully it won't be anything major or expensive and I can drive to Montreal early in the morning and pick up my party peoples and we can all go to Boston...assuming the snowstorm doesn't close any roads. You know, there are a lot of factors working against this trip, but I'm sure my excessive winter glee will cause everything to work out.

Winter is great! Today I skated the length of the Rideau Canal and back (that's 7.8 Km x 2!). The best part is I can still walk! My very underused ass and hip muscles are pretty painful though.

Today was the last day of Winterlude, which is a lot like the Qu├ębec City carnival, only it's more canal-centric and lame. I see from their website that Winterlude was started in 1979 by the National Capital Commission (or, as we call them in Ottawa, 'sugardaddy', since the NCC seems to fund everything around here, via the federal funds they collect from the rest of the country - take that, other cities!). I also see that `Last year, an estimated 616,000 fun-seekers took part in Winterlude activities. More than a third of those visits were by people from outside the Capital Region`. The Capital region has about 750,000 people living in it, according to the current sign. So everyone around here tends to get in on it, since there's very little else to do. Also, they block off the major streets near the canal to run the 'sno-bus'/'bus-o-neige', so people might say they participated in Winterlude activities because they had to drive a 20 minute detour, which is sort of participating. Kind of.

People mostly just skate on the canal and look at the ice sculptures. They have a bunch of zany crap going on to entertain those under 12 and over 50, like junior figureskating shows and lumberjack stuff and mazes made out of snow and discarded x-mas trees and clowns on skates. I remember being really enthralled with it all when I was little and then becoming way too cool for it at about 13. Today was proof that the coolness factor has eluded me once and for all. I skated around with my friend Wendy and I started counting the ways in which we'd become lame Ottawa people, like those we used to make fun of:
1) I never really got properly dressed and was wearing jeans and a hoodie over my pyjamas, reasoning that I would both save time getting dressed and be more warm (for some reason I incongruously applied eye liner though). I would never ever do this in Montreal.
2) We didn't give a shit what we looked like and wore MEC ski jackets and boy skates. When we were in highschool we would have at least worn dainty white uncomfortable figure skates while mocking the middle-aged civil servants for looking lame in their ugly jackets and weird velcro skates. MEC jackets were cool then.
3) We took the free red toques that Canadian Tire was giving away as part of their skate-a-thon thing. Wendy's cooler than me because she didn't wear her toque since it would mess up her hair. I didn't wear a hat for grade 10 and 11 for that reason. When it got really cold, I'd wear one of those ear-band things, but I took it off when I got a block away from school.
4) Wendy took photos, including one of me hugging a giant inflatible snowman. That reflected badly on both of us and made us look like tourists. That's a big no-no for locals in a city that's occasionally overrun with tourists.
5) We refrained from swearing in the presence of little kids.

It was really fun, and I don't care if I'm dorky for saying so. I just got new skates and they're really comfy and warm and my hideous Canadian-Tire-toque kept my ears warm.

To top it all off, I got a free Beavertail because my brother is working one of the Beavertail's huts. If you've never had one, it's deep fried dough dipped in cinnamon and sugar. Oh, yeah, the real name is 'Hooker's Beavertails'. The ones on the canal are soooo much better than the ones in the mall in Montreal because they deep fry the dough and it gets all crispy in the cold air. I really want one of the old school sweaters that the 'Tail employees had to wear. They said 'hooker's beavertails' and there was a picture of a beaver. My friend Kris kept hers and brought it with her when she moved to Halifax, to much acclaim. When you wear those outside the Ottawa-Hull region people tend to assume it's ironic. Nope, the Hooker family was 100% serious.


At 8:30 p.m., Anonymous The Roommate said...

Hooker's Beavertails ... that's facking great!

At 9:10 p.m., Blogger glomgold said...

I can only hope that one day this store will open in the US.

At 10:22 p.m., Blogger K. Valliant-Saunders said...

Dude, I miss tail. Tail is good.

Meanwhile its 10 degrees in sunny Seattle today and our divisional ski trip was cancelled due to a LACK OF PRECIPITATION!!! IN SEATTLE!!!

I think the world is going to end.


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