A Travellerspoint blog

February 2016

Week 4

Wednesday was a good day. Although I was feeling a bit stressed out about our first test results, as I totally ran out of time and didn’t manage to answer all the questions. 5 minutes to go, the Warrant came past and said “Davis, just throw some buzz words down on a page”!! I couldn’t believe it when we got our marks back a few days later and I had tied for topping the class (with one other NZer), with 98%. I told the Warrant he must have got the wrong test and to have another look as it couldn’t be possible that my scores were that high. No one could believe it – all the guys that had been coming in early to tutor me said “Davis you sly dog”!!! It was off to the mall to purchase some celebratory Timberland boots that I had been eyeing up for a few weeks. Lucky for my wallet, I am blessed with dads wide feet and they didnt fit!! Thanks DAD :/

Wednesday was more snow, and no – the novelty still hasn’t worn off. Although, hard to open my eyes fully for a selfie!!
We got home and Nick text us saying he had bought a new truck. He came and took us out for a spin, in his brand new Dodge Ram Rebel! The speedo said 56kms but I asked how much in total the car had done, thinking that was just for this trip. Nope.. that was in total! Everything was awesome, more heated seats, a selection of drink holders, mirrors with lights, so flash infact I didn’t want to touch anything incase of devaluing the truck!! Although a bit hard to get up into, apparently you can lower the airbags to make it easier.. I think I need to join the Canadian Military!

We went out for dinner at an all you can eat Sushi restaurant, the best invention ever! You write what you want on a little piece of paper and hand it to the waitress. B1, C8, G5 etc etc etc - chicken teriyaki, fried rice, dumplings, edamame beans, miso, udon, lamb skewers.. you name it we tried it!! http://www.hokkaidosushiottawa.ca/ Defs heading back to this place...

Friday is baking day and this week was triple choc berry brownies which certainly got everyone’s sugar count up! Thank you Chelsea Winter, Canadian edition.
Another Warrant told me that he looks forward to my baking every week and asked me in the tea room one day, “Emma, is there anything that I can do to facilitate your baking?” haha so I said about buying a few bits from Walmart but lacking a cake tin and containers for bringing it into work. What would you know – the next day he arrives with a selection of 3x spring cake tins and 2x almost brand new Tupperware containers that I’m allowed to borrow for the duration of the course. Cute!!!
Trying to work out how to incorporate this exciting looking fluff into a future recipe.

I’ve been making friends at work and Friday I was bought in lots of treats. A course mate John bought me 5 eggs from his chickens that he has at home and another SGT from down the hall brought me a loaf of bread after we were talking about how all the sliced bread here is far too thick for club sammys. This then made my desk look like a supermarket for the rest of the day!! Egg sandwiches it is for John and SGT next week.

Friday night it was time to get my hair done (finally!!!!) at Salon Niccio in the Byward Market. Self-titled ‘the best hair salon in Ottawa’ and they certainly lived up to their name! Lebanese brothers George and Chadi own and run the place. One cuts and one colours, along with a whole heap of other staff. Bit of a language barrier (as they couldn’t quite understand my accent) but we got there in the end. They asked me what language I spoke in New Zealand (“is it German?”) and they thought I was a pilot. They got one of the other regulars who was having her hair done to come over to listen to me say “June”. They loved it! They have grown up in the Byward Market and so gave me heaps of recommendations for places to eat and things to do. “Just tell them Chadi sent you, you will get the VIP treatment”. Best colour I’ve ever had, and made some new friends! http://www.nicciosalon.com/#home

Saturday Gem and I caught the 97 bus out to the airport to try and find Air Canada Cargo to sort out how to get my second bag of military gears shipped home. We had an obligatory photo with the Ottawa sign as we didn’t get a proper one when we arrived in the middle of the night and we weren’t looking hardly as glamorous after a zillion hours of international travel.
A nice guy from one of the rental car companies dropped us over as it was a wee way away from the main terminal. To get 1x bag from Ottawa to Toronto is $149 which is heaps easier than carting it around the USA for my holiday. The guy behind the desk even knew where Auckland was, “we can fly there via New Zealand Air” (Air New Zealand hahaha) but the shipping was $500+ to get it home!!

We then bussed to South Keys Walmart, where you could easy waste a whole day. Their range of Easter Eggs was insane including ice hockey players, cupcakes, monster trucks.
I scored these cool boots, and after getting them home and looking at the tag properly, they were meant to be!
More funny things at Walmart...

We then caught the bus back into town and all the way out to the other end of the line, to Bayshore. A three story mall, but this one a lot more logical than the ones we are used to (nice rectangular shapes makes for easy shopping)! We get amazed at the amount of bikini shops right next to the winter coat shops (seems two extremes, no??) – this shop had every colour of bikini, togs, coordinating skirts, jandals and cover ups you could ever imagine.

Shoppers Drug Mart is another cool shop. It’s like a giant pharmacy with everything you could think of and then a small grocery section! They had a million different things in mini’s – perfect for travelling. I even found a mouth guard called ‘Grind No More’ – I think Ryan and the dentist would be happy if I got this!!

Joico shampoo and conditioner… sooo cheap and sooo tempting, if only we didn’t have baggage allowances!

Mexican grill for lunch, and tried a Canada Dry for the first time. Looks like beer but it’s just a ginger ale. Delish! Tacos with ‘cilantro and peppers’ not ‘coriander and capsicum’. I’m learning!

These ‘wall flowers’ are big over here. Just like the Glade wall plug ins but on an extreme scale, where you can get every different type of scent available with matching holders!!! Definitely cant bring these home as would also have to buy a plug adaptor to make it work.

The worlds most perfect ice cream. Yes, I was in heaven.

Cute Canadian maple display at Loblaws. Not sure what the occasion was!!

Sunday it was time to go back to the Canadian Mint. Kristina had booked 4 of us in for a tour. Since it was snowing, we bussed down which only took 5 minutes. The 45 minute tour was up above the factory floor looking down through large glass windows. It was really interesting to learn the full process about how coins are made, including all about the collectors and investment coins. Who knew coins were such a big deal, but with the amount these guys are producing here we soon learnt! Apparently NZ is one of their biggest ‘Mint’ competitors and sometimes they produce coins for us. Unfortunately no photos allowed!

Next it was on for lunch at Zak’s Diner down in the Byward Market. Great service here, was like being in an old school American Diner. The waitress took our orders on her iPod and had one of the headphones in her ear, maybe she was talking to the kitchen or listening to some tunes, we will never know!!! The food came out really quick.

Here’s my beef and blue cheese burger. That little green pottle of unrecognisable stuff under the pickle is “coleslaw” – safe to say not much of that was consumed. http://zaksdiner.com/

This sign was on the mens bathroom door. The ladies one had been ripped off.

The hand dryers were called extreme air – literally. The skin on my hands looked was like I was free falling from a plane!!!

On the way home passed a few other cute restaurants – the “Cabin” looked very gangster and Systemscope was a very quaint looking place. Found a new car for myself, not quite sure how this number plate is legal though!

These Easter Eggs are in the mall at the amazing chocolate shop… maybe if I get 100% on the next test, 12kgs for $375 (plus tax)! Dreams are free….

This mornings really exciting weather!

Loving my AB's shirt.. a great conversation starter.

More sunsets...


Posted by emdaisy 15:33 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 3

The week saw us madly studying for our first ‘Pre test’ Test. Early starts and late finishes meant lots of extra hours and not much daylight being seen. It all paid off in the end, with a pass.. and the excitement of sitting the actual test next week (positive thinking)!! These tests are horrible – 4 hours to endure, lucky we are allowed to eat at our desks.

After the test I needed a bit of relief, it was a beautiful day so I headed up to Parliament Hill. http://www.lop.parl.gc.ca/Visitors/index-e.html What a stunning area of town with so much history and heritage. Heaps of photo opportunities, although gutted I didn’t bring the selfie stick as I saw many other people using theirs to get some snaps. There was heaps of old school green mini busses zipping round between all the buildings and plenty of police arming each door. This is definitely an activity to come back and do with the rest of the crew.
Amazing gas firepit with government buildings under construction in the back of the shot.

Wouldnt want to be going anywhere in a hurry!

A quick stroll through the Byward Market on the way home was a good idea as discovered this amazing bakery, https://www.ottawatourism.ca/member/le-moulin-de-provence/ Le Moulin de Provence. Very patriotic Canadian baked goods. They sell the famous ‘Obama cookies’ which are maple leaf shaped with red icing, made famous when President Obama stopped in and bought a few in 2009!!

There are sooooo many homeless people around Ottawa, and especially around Rideau Street where we live. They especially like to heckle with two girls in military uniform! I thought it would be a nice idea to volunteer at one of the local homeless shelters/food halls as there are plenty around near the apartment. However looking on a few websites many of them like a minimum 6 month commitment, and you have to go through a whole job interview and screening process!!! I think I have found one a little bit more low key. St Joe’s Womens Centre is a shelter for homeless women and they run a supper service weekdays. http://www.stjoessuppertable.com/ Plans are in the pipeline but I will hopefully be helping out soon! They asked if I would like to drive the truck on a Friday night to pickup and food and unpack it, but as I haven’t yet driven on the other side of the road (and find it difficult enough to know which was to look when crossing the street!) I said for my safety and yours it’s probably best if I just help with the unloading…..

Grocery shopping is always exciting here. You never know quite what you're going to find or end up taking home.... The same principle as home still stands though, never go shopping hungry, as there is far more temptation here....

Saturday was a balmy 4 degrees with rain! I had emailed through and organised a tour at Rideau Hall, the Governor Generals Residence. 6x Kiwis and a friend from course went along to the 45 minute guided tour through a few of the rooms. https://www.gg.ca/document.aspx?id=94 Our tour guide Charles was excellent and very knowledgeable about the 79 acre property! The portraits painted and hung on the walls were amazing, and we learnt that portraits are created 3 years after your tenure is completed. My favourite room was the ‘Tent Room’ which looked like a circus. The walls were actually padded fabric and it is often used for events. This chandelier in another room weighed 1 tonne and was made from 12,000 Waterford Crystals. Bling! The stained glass windows were beautiful.

A short walk and we were at Green Island, where we saw the Rideau Falls (where the Rideau River meets the Ottawa River). The falls looked like a big overflow of shaving foam, was crazy to see them all frozen. There was some moving water, but it was all green and not the most appealing. http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places-to-visit/parks-paths/rideau-falls-park-green-island

Random Airforce statue in the middle of nowhere..

We stopped in at the Royal Canadian Mint, http://www.mint.ca/store/template/home.jsp and held a 28 pound solid gold bar which was heavy and worth over $750,000 CAD! A lady security guard armed with guns was watching over the bar which is also chained in to the floor. The next tour wasn’t for 1.5 hours so we decided to go and get some food.

The trees here were wrapped in hessian sacks to protect them from the cold!

Pub 101 http://pub101.com/ is an awesome pub where all meals and all drinks cost… $5.01! Everyone was happy with their meals although my drink order got a bit lost in translation. They didn’t have a drinks menu, so I ordered a Ginger Beer, nope they didn’t have that. So then I tried my luck ordering a Lemon, Lime and Bitters, nope they had never heard of that either. I asked the lady for something non-alcoholic and she brought me out a non-alcoholic beer! It was disgusting but I drank it anyway. After working out tax and tipping we were on our way. We found a cute coffee shop and it was refreshing to hear the sound of actual beans being ground and milk being steamed. I am no coffee snob, but we are spoilt for coffee in NZ! The coffee is very average here.
90_IMG_5809.jpgIMG_5811.jpg180_IMG_5813.jpg IMG_5849.jpg

We traipsed back to the Royal Canadian Mint, and the tour had sold out!! We decided to come back another day so down the street stopped for a quick selfie stick photo outside the National Gallery where this giant spider statue was. All 3 of our iPhones either died or wouldn’t work, so I hate to say it but James’ Android phone saved the day!! We stopped in at the Notre Dam http://www.notredameottawa.com/which was huge and breath taking.

A short walk home through the Byward Market, seeing a few new places we need to try for breakfast and dinner. James and Kristina introduced us to an amazing chocolate shop (bad idea) called the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. They had the hugest range of toffee apples I had ever seen! Dad you would be in heaven. https://www.rmcf.com/

It is cool to see the snow shovellors in action.

This is what happens when the snow melts but the drains cant cope - special stepping stones are placed.. fine for us but get a foot wrong..!!

Sunday Gem and I wanted to go and skate the canal before it shuts. We looked outside and it was sleeting – not at all appealing. We gave it a few hours and the weather eased up, it was time to head outside and get out of the apartment. We got all our warm gears on and walked down to the canal all enthusiastic to find… not one other skier on the canal… it had shut again!!! Very very disappointed, we then find out its shut all week and hopefully re opens in the weekend (fingers and toes crossed!!)

Heres me with not one other person skating on the canal :/


We decided to be spur of the moment and head out to the St Laurent again so off we hop on a bus, hoping that it would go to the right place… and success! Not even 10 mins down the road we were there and no boys moaning for us to hurry up. They have these giant soft toys which kids ride around the mall in (adults sometimes too!)

This shop had every phone case you could ever want and imagine.. so cool!

Tried this place for lunch, Crepe de licious, and man was it delicious! Sweet or savoury crepes, with gelato or whipped cream, whatever you could want or imaghine really! I got a teriyaki chicken crepe with chicken, lettuce, tomato, mushroom, onion and teriyaki sauce – next time I am going to try Nutella, strawberry and banana!!!

Another week of baking, this week it was time to try Raspberry and Crème Cheese pinwheels, inspired by my friend Dalzell and Pinterest. http://www.justataste.com/raspberry-cream-cheese-pinwheel-pastries-recipe/ They were a success! Lots of baked goods were sampled this week, including more treats from Ry (the security guard) who really outdid himself. We tried chocolate cookies, Ice cream cake, Carrot cake, and more zucchini banana bread. The Ice cream cake is really amazing and I hadn’t heard of it before, just 2 cups of melted ice cream (any flavour) mixed with 1.5 cups of SR flour. Easy and yum! Here’s the recipe if you want to check it out http://dailydishrecipes.com/ice-cream-bread-two-ingredient-recipes/

Cute "cookies" from Ry - not allowed to call them biscuits cause apparently thats only what dogs eat..

Ry also remembered that I don’t like icing and so brought two slices of carrot cake in for me that he hadn’t iced, so thoughtful! Nick’s mum posted (via FedEx) some banana chocolate chip protein muffins from where she lives a few hours away so I also got to snaffle 4 of those. Apparently when you’re 29 you’re still allowed to get care parcels from home!!!!

Treat day after a good gym workout, a Lindt hot chocolate – made with real chocolate coming out of fountain!! Pure heaven.. not every day though…
The Lindt workers also seem to have OCD too which makes me very happy.
Lucky rice paper rolls have been a new favourite of mine for dinner.

Some amazing sunrises, and yes, I am up at a crazy hour of the morning to capture these!

Missing home!

We checked our mailboxes at the apartment for the first time when we finally figured out where they were and what a treat we were in for! Love 3 weeks worth of junk mail.

First test done and dusted today and meant to be another storm again, bring on the snow. Walked to Holland Cross (about 5 mins from work) today and bought my lunch for the first time! Rode our first double decker bus home today. One of the guys from work is trying to get us to buy a snowmobile (I like to call them snow jetskis) off kijiji.ca (Trade Me equivalent) and store it at his house... how convenient....

View from the bus top level.

View of the snow stacked up against the outside of the pool room

As you can tell from this shot, Peach is really missing me xxx

Posted by emdaisy 15:33 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 2

Another week down!!!

I tried to get the TV working for the big Superbowl game so I would have something to talk about with the boys at work. The others in their apartments had tried but had no luck, only getting French speaking channels. All I could seem to work out was how to get the ‘fish swimming round a bowl’ doctors waiting room type channel!!!!!! Good for background noise but not a lot else. Edit: got one of the guys around to check I wasn’t being a total TV novice. He found more fish channels, so now I have 3x fish channels, all the same. Would be good if there was more variety, maybe tropical, fresh water…

The Apple store here in the Rideau Centre is huge. It’s always busy, and they have two security guards constantly manning it. Which seems strange as there is only display items out??

Sunday was Valentines Day and Monday was Family Day, which is some sort of holiday as there was practically no one riding the bus to work with us. Loblaws got into the V Day spirit with this awesome Coke display. Treated myself to some ‘Elk Crossing’ ice cream – delish.

The Security Guard at work has taken a special liking to the Kiwi Girls, and each day seems to have a new item of food for us to try. This was our favourite, chocolate gateau cake!!! We have swapped him blueberry and lemon muffins, squiggle tops, pineapple lumps, cookie times and egg sammies for Canadian bacon, heart shaped cookies, chocolate and carrot cake, and zucchini and banana loaf! One weekend he is going to take us out to Costco’s http://www.costco.ca/ which is similar to a Moore Wilsons.

The range of winter boots and coats here is amazing. I am refraining pretty well. These Cougar boots are one of my favourites!!!
Funny shirts in American Eagle and even spotted some good ol kiwi Paua shell necklaces!
You can definitely tell that these perfumes are authentic.
Spotted these in the dollar store - Cottage Country Surprise for $1 – not sure I would want whats inside!!

Overnight Wednesday more snow fell and it was all very exciting walking to work.
Friday saw our first live snow action (or what we thought was snow again!!!). We were far too excited, taking photos, snaps and videos, before the novelty wore off and salt was sprinkled - meaning lots of boot cleaning!!
It wasn’t until Tuesday when we experienced a snow storm until we finally knew what it was all about. In the cafeteria at work we were amazed just staring out the windows, the ladies behind the counter were laughing “you’re definitely not from around here are you”. So much snow the picnic tables and rubbish bins were buried.
It was time for a SNOW ANGEL! While the boys from course were being videographers and laughing their heads off, I braved the snow!!! So much fun.
Most people were stood down due to the storm but we diligently carried on until the wee hours of the afternoon before we were finally allowed to go home. The storm caused everyone to go crazy! The bus stops were packed. Buses travelling very slowly and lots of disruption. When we finally got off the bus, it took longer to walk home than usual as we had to carve our way through the fresh dusting of snow, literally. Maybe all the frolicking and stopping to take photos along the way might have added a bit too.

It was the last weekend of Winterlude, and so Gem suggested we head down and try to catch the free Sno Bus. So we did! We passed the canal (which has reopened for skating) and off we headed over the river to Quebec (about ten mins away) to another location of Winterlude. Could the day have been any more freezing!!!! -29 degrees but a wind chill of -41. Life should not operate on days like those. We were all rugged up with a zillion layers on, even that didn’t cut it.

Our first activity was a dog sled, Gem braved exposing her fingers to capture a video and a few pictures for us. iPhones are not good in the cold, they have a temper(ature) tantrum, must be re heated in the warmth of your pocket for about 15 minutes before turning back on again!!! After the sled ride we were borderline hypothermic so it was into the tent for some hot soup and hot choccies to warm up. We spun the Vaseline wheel of fortune and won some goodies. We walked around the rest of the park before Gem convinced me to have a go on the 2 person toboggan down the slide. Great views of Ottawa from the top.

Hypothermia Round 2, it was time to go inside. Here we are, looking like potential burgulars/terrorists, so glad to be inside. They were promoting Canada 150 http://canada150.ca/ which is a collection of history from the last 150 years of Canada. We met some gorgeous ladies, did some colouring in (big kids are allowed to colour now, its cool you know) and ate cake!!! A bit of a play on the kids playground and it was time to head back to the Sno Bus. A bit of shopping at Rideau and it was time to head home. We wanted to catch a bus as the wind chill was still at -41 but with none in sight, we decided to brave it. BAD IDEA! A short 10 minute walk home almost killed us, we had to take shelter enroute. Which was perfect as we were starving and the closest place we could find was Pizza Pizza. Check out this superslice!!!

Sunday we were hoping to go ice skating but never take a beautiful sunny day at face value as on checking the weather app, we found that the wind chill was still in the -40’s. Seeing as it was Valentine’s Day, we convinced Nick to take us to a new mall a bit further away, the St Laurent Shopping Centre http://stlaurentshoppingcentre.com/ It was amazing, we will definitely be back.

Heaps of funny shops, loved the Daisy Nail & Spa, Kurves Brow Bar (drop in eyebrow centre), and Town Shoes.
Crazy ice hockey and baseball fan gear shop.

After lunch, Nick was a bit over it, so we parked him in the dad/husband parking to wait for us while we mooched around.
Finally he decided he wanted some boots, but couldn’t decide, I thought this top was rather fitting but he didn’t quite seem as enthused!!
We saw some cute animals at the pet shop, however seeing these grab and go fish made us all a bit sad.
There was an amazing floral pop up area in the middle of the mall for Valentine’s Day where you could take selfies and get your make up done.

Posted by emdaisy 16:44 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Week 1

A lady from course took us out to Walmart. VERY DANGEROUS! Apparently not quite as good as American Walmart, but that still didn’t stop us spending a couple of hundred… Everything is in bulk. It’s like a Warehouse with groceries. Managed to get some cheap bakeware – muffin and cake tins, measuring cups and spoons. Bring on the baking! (although this 12 pack of cupcakes was $2!!!! Refrained)

Friday night was when a course mate Nick took us to our first Ice Hockey game, 67’s vs Hamilton. We decided to embrace the “game food” and tried Poutine. Basically it consists of fries, covered in cheese curds and gravy. So deliciously bad. Will try not to make a habit of eating too much poutine. Everyone sells it with many different additions, pulled pork, chilli, and I even saw Poutine chips in Walmart!
Nicks excited for some Poutine!
I felt very tall next to the cheerleaders.

An awesome game to watch, the puck travels so quickly it is hard to keep up. Apparently there is usually a few fights, you could see the players getting a bit antsy but unusually there was no punch ups this time. Would love to get back to see another game!
The people behind us thought the selfie stick was hilarious. Made their night.
Sat next to some Australians, got talking and found out they were here in Canada to renew their US Visas (you have to leave the country for a week). The Kiwi accent always gets you noticed!

This looked like a scary ice cemetery outside the stadium. Apparently under all that is a soccer field.

Nick picked us up in his new 2016 Subaru STI, which was he post deployment treat for $70K. I am not a car person in the slightest but it is insane. Favourite feature: heated seats!!!!!!!

Saturday was chores day so decided to try out the washing machines downstairs. Need to get some sort of carrying device, but for now my suitcase will do. Lugged up the old school vacuum from reception and tidied my room to full inspection standard. The other course mates get their rooms cleaned twice a week at the hotels they are staying at!!!

Marble Slab Creamery https://www.marbleslab.ca/ is another place to try if you aren’t on a diet. If you like icecream (Moose!!!), it is OUT OF THIS WORLD!! First you choose your flavour, of which they had about 20 to choose from, then they weigh it out for you and put it on the frozen marble slab. From there, you can choose UNLIMITED mixins, all manner of delicious things including M&M’s, kit kats, shortcake, raspberries, gummi bears, nuts, sprinkles… the list continues. They mix it all up for you like chefs at an Asian BBQ and voila!
Speaking of ice cream, the selection of icecream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt here in the supermarkets and especially Loblaws is extreme. This one especially made us laugh!

Last night we headed out to a Waitangi Day Celebration hosted by a Facebook group called ‘Kiwi’s in Ottawa’. We bussed out to a pub in town and caught up with a small group of New Zealanders living in Ottawa. When we arrived there were about 6 (so our group of 6 doubled the numbers!) but throughout the night a few more stragglers came through. Nice to hear some familiar accents, one guy was even rolling his ‘R’s’ and wearing a Southland jersey. They were glad to see that we came out, and we made a few new contacts throughout the night, with one guy part owning a cider brewery and inviting us out to his place to help him chew through the 200L of excess that he has in stock!
I loved the shirt he was wearing – “Kiss me, I’m a kiwi”, he also cranked open a bag of Pineapple Lumps which any kiwi can smell from a mile away. He also introduced us to a new beer he was drinking which we all found hilarious.

We finally found a post shop (hidden in the basement of a department store!) so a lucky few may see some goodies headed back to little old New Zealand. We laugh when we see racks and racks of winter coats lined up next to the togs (Canadians laugh when we call them togs so we keep doing it) although these togs sound great – look 10 pounds lighter in 10 seconds!

Today we discovered Forever 21, Old Navy and Sephora…. Bye bye allowances! These rollerball perfumes seem to be all the rage over here.

James – this is for you. The Lindt shop, with a lady giving you a free sample on entry – don’t mind if I do! Lindt chocolates in every shape, size and flavour you could imagine. Pure Lindt heaven.

Winterlude is an awesome winter festival around various locations in Ottawa for the next two weeks http://www.canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1416239267950/1416239373076 Gem and I headed down to Confederation Park today to check out what all the fuss was about! It was snowing and super busy but such a heap of fun. My favourite stand was where they use a branding tool to press a design onto a piece of wood (although we thought after, what are the chances of us getting this back through NZ customs???) which you get to keep. The old guys were the cutest, and Tom had a special soft spot for Kiwis. He took us over to the rope making machine from the 1800’s, where Gem and I made a piece of rope, which he then made us skip with! We had a small audience at this stage!! We then tried ‘Taffy on Snow’ which is boiled Maple Syrup, reduced down and put on ice, it freezes and then it can be rolled up on a stick. Delicious! There were ice carvers hard at work, and so many ice sculptures around the park. They even had frozen coloured blocks of ice which kids were using as building blocks. There was an outdoor snow art gallery, and these crazy street performers dressed up as trees and making people kiss in the crowd. Today it snowed!!! It was only small and didn’t last for very long but it was still snow.

They have free skating on this ice rink near Confederation Park – only problem is you need your own skates! Can’t find anywhere to hire them just yet. Hopefully the Rideau Canal opens up soon so we can skate down it (while avoiding potholes)!

Nick picked us up this arvo and took us out to Canex http://www.canex.ca/, which is similar to Hot Shots back home, full to the brim of military supplies. We had heaps of fun looking around at all the random military things you can buy here. He needed ‘boot bands’ http://www.canex.ca/elastic-boot-bands.html which we call Garters. We thought it was hilarious that they can get these on order, we have to make our own using elastic from Spotlight.

Out & About in town
We have seen University of Ottawa, a sign for Wellington, and found where to get Beavertails (need to try these next week, think I have overdone my sugar for this week already!).

The Byward Market http://www.byward-market.com/ is another cute wee village just down from where we are staying with lots of cool restaurants and bars. The Grand had haybails outside and reminded me of NZ. One even had a Husband Day Care Centre.

When the snow melts and refreezes it goes really icy – I’m staying well away from walking on areas like these.

Moose – this shop is for you. Moose everything in here, you would have a field day!

I’ve now seen two dogs wearing shoes. Life is complete.

Posted by emdaisy 14:45 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Settling in

Ottawa sunrise at 0700 hrs.

Decided to try out the Apartment gym. Got very disheartened when I wasn’t running as fast or as far as I usually can, thought it might have something to do with the jetlag or less oxygen in the atmosphere in this hemisphere! All was revealed when I realised the tredmill measures in miles, not kilometres!

Instead of paper cups, the gym water cooler machine has paper cones. After the gym, I tried out the 70 degree sauna. Phew!!!!!!!!!!!! It was so insanely hot, my hard plastic drink bottle melted – the bottle is usually straight up and down, now has an extra melted top hand grip. After the sauna I had my first go at using the stairs. 3 stories up, I wanted to take the lift, but after many pit stops along the way I managed to make it up to my floor, level 14!

Stair inception (note: not recommended after a sauna!!!!)

There is a strange pit outside at the bottom of our apartment, we cant seem to work out what it is used for but a storage area for dead bodies seems to be a general consensus. Any guesses?

So far each day after course, Gem and I have taught different Canadian students how to catch the bus. Some of them are from various locations around Canada and haven’t been to Ottawa before. They were catching taxis to and from work! After we joked that their allowances must be insane we taught them the way of the Canadian Bus system (OC Transpo) - we are laughing that the Kiwi’s are showing the Canadians how to do things in their own country.

We tried out the gym today at work, which is much better than the Apartment gym. Nice views overlooking the snow filled carpark, and funny seeing people get out various brushes and implements from car boots to wipe off the snow. Everyone has HUGE cars, every second vehicle is a Dodge Ram!
The bathrooms at work make us laugh, the shower is called a “Tingle King” and the loo warns us that the cubicle is a Confined Space (isn’t every toilet like this???)

Gem and I did a spot of shopping today. We are loving all the winter warm gears, things that you would never imagine in NZ including - Air Hole Face Masks, every single type of beanie you could ever imagine, woolen fluffy waterproof amazing jackets, face toasters, beanies with ponytail holes at the back and ice skate cover guards.

The selection of nail polishes is out of this world, and all cosmetics are so reasonable, usually about 1/3 of the usual NZ price.

Water is really cheap, $1.99 for a 24x pack, and the cheese is quite reasonable, the blocks are long and flat though!!

Cool wooden mannequins in Nordstrom http://shop.nordstrom.com/ (like a Kirkcaldies type department store)

We got Macca’s for tea, I tried a CBO (chicken, bacon, onion burger – delish), we had Blueberry and Maple pies for dessert, and they even have a ketchup machine!

We are making friends at course. One guy is teaching me to speak French, and when I told him I needed a few sayings written down so I could remember them, he comes back with this note which he had handwritten at lunchtime!! Seems he knows me too well already, with sayings like “I am hungry” and “where is the bathroom” highly frequent in my normal vocab. We are hopefully off to an Ice Hockey game this Friday night with some of the guys from course who have vehicles here. Roll on the weekend!!

Turns out the two boys looking after Peach are on alternative night shifts, which means she always has someone home with her. As you can tell from this pic, she is really missing me! They are following instructions for regular Peach snapchats.

Posted by emdaisy 18:30 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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