Tagged: travel

Ottawa – Part 2.

I had the weirdest day, internet.

I woke up early to take advantage of being in a hotel smack dab in the middle of the Byward Market. God, it’s awesome here. I cannot stress that enough.


I got a croissant and some delicious fresh grapes and strawberries for breakfast.

Yet I digress.

The convention was big and scary and awesome and sensory-overloading. I wandered around before anyone got there and was pretty overwhelmed.


And that’s before this:

Stripping Fireman??

Stripping Fireman??

And this:



And this happened.

Beautiful sky??????

Beautiful sky??????

To describe it simply, the Women’s Convention was a lot of vendors and independent consultants and beauty people and tarot card readers and vibrator sellers and firemen and fashion models squished into one room with a bunch of eager consumers.

It was very exciting for about five hours.

Eight hours was a little long, although it gave me ample time to sample all of the creative food options (twice).

But my awesome manager K secretly ordered me poutine at dinner, so all is well and good. Fabulous, even, considering I’m full of potatoes, gravy, and beer.

Tata for now.



Ottawa – Part 1.

Hey internet. I’m in Ottawa for a fancy women’s convention thing. I drove up this morning with my coworker / manager K and have spent much of the day in the car watching the rain and listening to country music.

This is a representative picture:


Funnily enough, our booth is a few booths down from the See Puerto Rico group, which is essentially my favorite place in the entire universe and also major competition for Place-Where-I-Live.

Because, y’know, why travel to Place-Where-I-Live in 50-60 degree fall weather when you can fly to a tropical paradise.

Anyways, we stopped in a charming little town right outside of the Thousand Islands for lunch and now I’m jotting down a few lines before we foray into the city for dinner (also shopping).

You know what’s awesome about Ottawa?

1. Ottawa is the capital of Canada.

2. Ottawa is the fourth largest city in Canada.

3. Ottawa is the fourth cleanest city out of 300 major cities ranked around the world – at least according to Forbes.

4. Nearly half the population is under the age of 35 – making it one of the youngest cities in the country.

5. Moneysense ranked Ottawa for the third consecutive year as the best city in Canada to live in.

(facts source from Hike Bike Travel)

Also, it’s mind-numbingly beautiful here.

ottawa_rideau_canal Ottawa-Best-Place ottawa-panorama1 11

Jealous yet?


My Grandmother is a Pirate.

Internet. If you read my blog post yesterday, you already know that I am in Canada visiting my grandparents.

Within the past 24 hours, an exciting development has occurred.

I have uncovered undeniable evidence that my Gran is, in fact, probably a pirate.

Let us examine the case.

Exhibit One – She Travels.

My Granny is a serious world traveller. Within the past few years, she’s been to China, Africa, Morocco, Italy, France and Ireland, among others. She’s been on scheduled trips and group trips and family trips and boat trips and bike trips and pretty much every kind of trip you could imagine, but she never goes to the same place twice.

Recently, however, she informed me that she loved Africa so much that she will be returning there in the fall as a supplement to a trip to Spain.


You mean the home of the infamous Somalian pirates?

Africa, where offshore piracy is “OUT OF CONTROL”?

What could you possibly be doing in Africa, Gran, besides checking in on your pirate crew?



Exhibit Two – She Steals.

Last night, I was sitting innocently at the kitchen table drinking a glass of wine and reading an Issac Asimov novel when Mamma Mia and Grandmère came in with a gorgeous arrangement of white lilacs.

“Where did’st thou procure such sweet smelling florals?” I inquired, sipping delicately at my riesling.

“From the neighbour’s garden,” my dear Granny freely admitted.




You know who else steals? Pirates. It’s pretty much in the job description.

Oh wait. It is literally the only job description.

pirate definition hnwcassandra

Exhibit Three – She Cheats. 

I have never played Mexican Train Dominos before tonight. Therefore, I do not know the official rules for Mexican Train Dominos. You may or may not know the rules of Mexican Train Dominos. It’s irrelevant to the story.

What I am, however, fairly confident of is that the rules of Mexican Train Dominos are not what Granny taught us tonight. It was something other. Some strange hybrid game where the rules seem to change every time Granny seemed to be losing.

You know who else cheats?


That’s why mutiny is a thing.

You can’t trust a pirate. It’s common sense 101. Why? Refer to Exhibit 2 – They Steal. Case in point? When my Papear ultimately won the game (he’s a silent but deadly competitor), it turned out I had to pay up a cent for every point left in my hand.

Paying money I didn’t wager?


In conclusion:

My Gran is a pirate. There’s no point denying it. Mystery solved. Case closed.

Incidentally, this also explains how good she is at sailing.

Canada, part 1.

Well internet, I’m back on the road. To Canada, to be precise.

Mi madre is driving and our trusty canine compadres Dumb and Dumber are konked out in the back seat.

Marm, fortunately, did not make the trek with us. He’s staying at home so he can continue peeing on things out of spite.

It’s 10:37 at night as I’m writing this currently, which is irrelevant to you as this blog won’t be posted until sometime on Saturday, but I’m trying to set the scene. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind week. I’ve been working my butt off with catering and yoga and visitor’s centre stuff and whatnot and I’ve barely been able to think, let alone write or sleep or catch up on Battlestar Galatica (okay, that last bit’s not true).

Long story short, I’m very ready to escape from reality for a few days with mi Madre, my steadfast grandfather Papear, and my most loyal blog reader, Granny. Not to mention that the food in Canada always seems somewhat enthusiastically better than American food. I’m not sure how much of that feeling is pure nostalgia and how much is Canadian cooking, but I’m currently devouring a Tim Hortons donut and I’m very happy about it.

My grandparents live in a little nowhere town just a hopskip across the border from Buffalo, right on Lake Erie. Both sets of my grandparents used to live on the same road, incidentally, but my American set have long since relocated to the gentler climes of South Carolina. I have many fond memories of running betweenthe two houses as a young rapscallion (the great and understated advantage to having grandparents living right next to each other – if one pair says no the other will almost invariably say yes).


It’s now Saturday – time warp, woahhh – and I’ve made it in one piece. Yesterday the Fam Damily and I spend a very pleasant morning biking the TransCanadian bike trail – very Canadianly named the Friendship trail.

Fun fact – whenever you pass someone on the Friendship trail, they will greet you in a pleasant and very polite Canadian manner. If they do not, they are probably American.



We biked down to the market in Port Colborne and haggled over exorbitantly priced pepperettes and buckwheat honey and some lovely fresh roasted cashews.

I am only telling you this so I have an excuse to put in this awesome picture of the lift bridge in. Port Colborne is home to a working lift bridge, which there are very few left of. I almost researched it, but I got bored and dinner’s almost ready.

So this is a thing.

So this is a thing.

Bye for now.