09 – frozen

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m on travel to the capital of America’s top hat to attend some meetings. The last time I was here in Ottawa, the snow on the ground was starting to melt and though it was cold, the natives weren’t complaining. This time, it’s freaking cold (at least it is to me). As a southern californian, the concept of snow on the ground sounds nice, but I surely don’t want to live with it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI mean, come on, falling ice? That’s just crazy talk. The only thing that falls from the sky is a little bit of rain and ashes from fires. Ice or snow? I think I know what snow is – it’s the earth’s dandruff.

Anyway, today was a free day since my meetings were postponed, so I decided to skate the canal. During the coldest time of the year, the Rideau Canal that runs right through Ottawa becomes the world’s largest skating rink – which for me, became a 7 kilometer challenge (14 kms round-trip) to not leave any red stains behind on the ice. Challenge accepted and met! I didn’t fall once. Maybe because my legs were FROZEN. I did manage to stop every now and then to snap some pictures of the canal.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYes, I’m a geek. This was the closest marker to ’42’ that I could find.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASkating on frozen water (as opposed to a skating rink) is DIFFERENT. The ice isn’t smooth in all places and it’s not flat. There are bumps in the ice (which I had to pay attention to so I wouldn’t trip on them) and there are cracks that were filled in by the maintenance guys overnight (or so they say). I also did see that some parts of the ice were pretty thin – it was a bit unnerving to see water under the ice beneath my razor sharp skates. I would have literally sharted if I saw Nicole Kidman floating under the ice…but that would have been to die for.

Right next to the canal is the Winterlude Festival grounds, where – gotta hand it to the Canadians – there is a proud display of ice sculptures and all things frozen.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI don’t have the proper shoes to walk around in snow and gawk at things that should really have some vodka or jaeger flowing through them, but whatevs. Ice sculptures are pretty neat.

At the end of it all though, I’m spending quite a bit of time in my hotel room…which overlooks a busy street…where I learned that snowplows come at 2:00 AM in the morning to repeatedly push snow off the road.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnyway, the next time I complain about the heat again, somebody slap me. I had always said that the cold is better than the heat because you can always layer clothes when it gets colder but you can’t take any more clothes off when it gets hotter. I was wrong. Dealing with snow boots and a parka and gloves and everything getting wet is way more annoying.

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