Wednesday, April 15, 2009


So I think if we had a deadly sin that was broken today then gluttony was definitely the one that took a beating. I mean, it started off simply enough, a nice stroll around the Glebe area of Ottawa and the next thing you know we spot a The Works burger place, which was raved about in yesterday's comments section.

Next thing you know I've been whipped by a meal. I actually could not finish the large milkshake, along with the burger and fries. Of course, I didn't know I would be drinking a milkshake in a glass the size of a kitchen sink. But it was all very good, though. So thanks "In Iqaluit" for the recommendation. It's going to be a regular stop for us in Ottawa from now on.

After that, well, the money kind of just went flying. A stop at a curling pro shop for a few things that got worn out during the year, some clothes that needed replacing, a stop at Wal-Mart and a bunch of other little things. Oh, and Wal-Mart was selling a bunch of DVDs for $5 each, so that got ugly in a hurry.

I'm slightly reeling from it all, even though I knew we were going to be spending money on this trip. "Retail therapy" as Cathy calls it. We only do this sort of thing once a year so I know it's all right, but trying to wrap your brain around doing a year's worth of shopping in one week, well, it can make you a touch jittery at the end of the day when looking at the receipts.

On the other hand, I think we've got 90 per cent of the shopping done, so I think the plan tomorrow is to find a coffee shop with a few tables outside and read, which I would say is cheap, except parking costs in Ottawa are insane. Two dollars buys you 40 minutes on a parking meter. Gah.

Other random observations about Ottawa:

1. Bank Street was clearly designed by a crack addict, what with one of the lanes disappearing (for the insanely expensive parking meters) and reappearing completely at random. I don't understand how there aren't more accidents. Not helping are drivers who are touched in the head.

Of course, it could be just that I'm out of practice in dealing with traffic. We laugh about the traffic in Iqaluit, but it's small stuff compared to other places. Plus, drivers in Iqaluit are polite...even the cabbies. In Ottawa, not so much.

2. You know, you read that 80s fashion is coming back, but you think to yourself "Nah, there's no way they'll repeat that decade of gruesome mistakes", but then you see the proof of it walking out of the Rideau Shopping Mall. The girl was about 17, had on flip flops, white leg warmers that came up to her knees, an acid washed denim mini-skirt and a pink hoodie. The other day in Future Shop I saw a 20 year old woman wearing enough hairspray that I was seriously concerned about stepping outside and getting blasted with enough UV radiation to kill me instantly. Oh, and her hair was done in a Mount Pearl Curl Flip. Dear god....

Oh, and I've seen two Japanese women clearly dressed as manga characters.

If nothing else, Ottawa is cheap entertainment for its people watching. Just as long as you don't have to park anywhere near Byward to do it.


Amy said...

I lived in Ottawa for several years while attending University (UofO, not Carleton) and have really enjoyed these last few posts.

"Touched in the Head" set me off in this one. I have never heard that expression before and it is hilarious!

Adam Snider said...

Re: The '80s fashion comeback. Ugh! I was cool with it a few years ago when it was mostly just the over-sized sunglasses and the odd pair of coloured-leggings on teen girls. Now, it's as if the entire decade has returned.

I was very young during the '80s, but even I remember how terrible it was, so to see kids dressing as if we're back in that decade...not cool.

@Amy: I think "touched in the head" (or simply "touched") is a Newfoundland expression. I'd never heard it either until I met my girlfriend. She's from NFLD and she uses the phrase a lot.

D'Arcy Butler said...

@amy @adam; "touched in the head" is a very common Newfoundland expression, kinda like saying a few bricks short of a load.

WJM said...

"Nah, there's no way they'll repeat that decade of gruesome mistakes"Just back from Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Dear deity, the mohawks. The mohawks, the mohawks.

tanker belle said...

coffee shop, there's one on elgin,,,can't remember the name, was very close to where I lived on somerset, probably another cross street or two down along elgin...jesus, names...they sell fair trade coffee, make the best soups and have wi-fi so half the people in there are on computers. It's not a starbuscks.

Bank street, don't know if it was designed by crack addicts, but you can see the dealers after 11pm.

80's fashion - with the exception of about 3 pieces of clothing the whole decades a write-off. I don't mean 3 designs, I mean 3 pieces out of everything ever produced. Let's face it, the music wasn't much better. U2, The Cure, Springsteen...and I'm not sure Springsteen counts 'cause wasn't he around in the 70s?

Jackie S. Quire said...

Re: Bank street...
Thank your lucky stars that it's not under construction. I think it was torn up the entire four years I lived there.

towniebastard said...

1. "Touched in the head" as others have said, must have a Newfoundland origin, although I would have sworn otherwise. I thought it was a common phrase, but I guess not.

2. I had my teen years in the 80s and the first guy I see wearing a polo shirt with a little alligator on it I'm going to throttle some sense into him.

3. No mohawks yet, but now I'm paranoid about it.

4. We've found some fair trade coffee, but it's all been ground, not as beans. So we have some, but I suspect we're also going to continue our streak of being evil, exploitative capitalists and just buy some regular coffee as well.

5. Oh, I'm sure they'll get around to tearing up Bank pretty soon. We can see signs of construction starting to stir. Although Bank still sucks in terms of road quality, so what on Earth were they doing?

WJM said...


WJM said...

1. "Touched in the head" as others have said, must have a Newfoundland origin, although I would have sworn otherwise. I thought it was a common phrase, but I guess not.Yellow and green/a stumbling block/a twenty-digit combination to unlock/with a past where "to be touched"/meant "to be mental".

- "I Keep Mine Hidden", lyrics by Morrissey, 1980-something.

WJM said...

5. Oh, I'm sure they'll get around to tearing up Bank pretty soon. We can see signs of construction starting to stir. Although Bank still sucks in terms of road quality, so what on Earth were they doing?Slowly ripping the entire thing apart, from Wellington to Billings Bridge, and putting it back together, in stages.

I don't know why they didn't put in a subway while they were down there.

In Iqaluit said...

That's great that you went to The Works and will make it a regular stop. I should have mentioned the huge (but excellent quality) portions. I think there are three or so locations in Ottawa.

Now... are you guys sushi people? 'Wasabi' in the market and 'New Generation Sushi' on Laurier are very good.

I miss reading the morning paper in hard copy with a cup of fresh coffee from Bridgehead or something. You are missing FREEZING cold weather up here in Iqaluit, BTW.

tanker belle said...

Bridgehead - that's it. Duh.

Mohawks I like, mullets are evil.

You people moan about roadworks - you have no idea!!! This entire country is under construction. Your garmin would be useless here Craig because the changes and the roadworks are all-pervasive and regularly changing. I've seen them lay a road and then tear parts of it up 6 months later because they realise they need to lay something underneath for a new developemtn. Planning is what happens after the work starts.