Canada, Part Four

Friday was the day of the funeral. John and Juliana would attend and leave me in Ottawa to rampage the city, infecting it with Yankee blood. They dropped me off in front of a nature museum, where I became the camera-happiest chick alive.

“Follow this to Elgin Street, go left, and follow it all the way to the end, and that’s where you’ll find the Parliament buildings. We’ll meet you at the flame, okay? At 5 o’clock.”

And at that, John and Juliana were off and I was on my own. In a city I did not know. In a place I could get lost. Basically, it was Wonderland.

It was a perfect day to go. The weather was clear and gleaming and there were people everywhere. The city was constantly moving and I tried to keep up with it. John was a doll and had packed my bag with several different snacks, a steel thermos brimming with hot chocolate, and a coffee cup. Besides my giddy expression, my digicam and videocamera were sure signs that I was, in fact, a tourist.

Ottawa felt tall. And kingly. But it was a welcoming city, embracing and courteous. The buildings were old and prominent. The streets were clean and reflected the blue, cloudless sky. The snow was melting under the sun and water ran into the drains. Men wore black peacoats and women wore thick, wool scarves.

I took countless pictures of everything. People would sometimes stop and talk to me, even if they weren’t interested in what I was shooting. I’d stand on a corner waiting to cross and someone would feel like chatting. So we would. Then I’d move on and find another magnificent structure worth capturing. There wasn’t much that I didn’t want to take a picture of. Ottawa is beautiful, as well as the people who live and work there, and I was part of the city’s magic for a day. I don’t think my eyes have ever shone like they did on that day. Thinking about it now, my heart rises up in my chest.

Obviously, the Parliament buildings were the most magnanimous and stunning. But just as great as the buildings were, so were the people. There was a strip of shops nearby and I walked through some of them. There was a small bench area where I sat and enjoyed a cup of hot chocolate and munched on a few crackers. It was during that time that I observed people and what struck me most was how colourful everyone was. The people in the city are bright and stand out more than I’d seen people in other places. Other places seem so grey and diluted. But it wasn’t like that in Ottawa. Not in the least. And for about five hours, I felt like I belonged.

John and Juliana picked me up right on time and we retreated home. We were all exhausted from the day; John and Juliana emotionally drained from the funeral and I was tired from all the walking, jogging, climbing, and watching I had done. While they tried to recover from the sadness of that day, I did my best to recover from the beauty of it. Because I was floored. I’d say I still am.

Photo Album Three.

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