Hopped a Greyhound to Canada's capital, Ottawa...just a couple hours, not bad....my friend Mar, who was raised here, but spent almost 50 years away in California, has moved back, so it will be great to see her. She instructs me to cross the street and wait at the Murphy bed store, which is surely going to be a growing concern if SF and NYC are any indication. Mar had hoped to have hers in service for my stay, but alas, it's a 4-6 week delivery, so I'll be crashing on the rubber raft (you know, those blow-up air beds)
We pulled into her condo complex, and architecturally - not to mention the sudden ubiquity of English - suggested things were growing a tad Anglo-Saxon. Thankfully Mar whipped up some vichy-soisses, a Quebecois winter favorite.....
Next day, we went to the church bazaar, which puts any thriftstore to shame...I ended up with 2 books and a T-shirt, even though I have no room in my bursting bags for such additions....
I'm definitely back in English-speaking Canada, though since it's Canada's capital city, everything is still bilingual. Headed to the Byward Market area to read at an Irish Pub called Heart & Crowe where I was greeted by a gay men's book club. Book clubs, while small, are always the best audience and everyone buys a book
I'm getting more Irish-looking by the day...start playing the music, and this leprechaun is liable to do a jig...meanwhile Mar is looking rather French seated in the National Art Gallery with Parliament Hill behind her
...and I'm meeting Mexicans of course! We saw this cute kid offering poppies in the subway - it's Canada's veterans/memorial day, so you leave a donation and get a plastic poppy to pin on your lapel....meet Gael, from Puebla :)
A nearby memorial to indigenous people who were killed in WWI and WWII, even though they had no vote
Was shocked to see bullets lying on the street...thought I was back in the U.S....I gave them a kick, and thankfully they were plastic..
A visit to the National Gallery blew my mind...the Group of Seven, whose work I saw in Toronto several years back and put in my other book tour blog... continue to impress
this one, below, blew me away - completely and perfectly a distillation of the California High Sierra experience...if I have a home, it's there...and if I have a soul, this is what it looks like....Franklin Carmichael
Yvonne McKague Housser:
These paintings by Prudence Heward were revealing in how a woman approached portraiture of women in the 19th century...so different than how women are usually depicted by men, which the curators juxtaposed with paintings by Edwin Holgate, which follow the Hewards below....
Great contemporary art as well.....
One man's memory of his deceased parents....Jack Chambers
...and lots of native or First Nations art.....this one by lessLIE, a Coast Salish who was influenced by the Aztec calendar and integrated it with native imagery
Transformation Mask, Mavrven Tallio, Nuxalk and Heiltsuk:
Tim Pitsilulak, an Inuit artist:
The following are by Roy Thomas, an Anishnaabe artist
above, a shaman by Karoo Ashevak, an Inuit artist
Pan and the fauns always appear in some guise (Antoine Plamondon)
Ah, my people...the subject of this painting (the Croppy Boy) is an Irishman confessing to desertion to a British soldier dressed up as a priest. The soldier was then executed...sheesh...take it away Planxty as this fits in with the theme of the San Patricio battalion of my New York blog and how the Irish have been conscripted endlessly by other empires to be cannon fodder.... (Charlotte Schreiber)
Speaking of the Irish, Halloween is coming, that Celtic day of old when the curtain between the two worlds is thinnest...cheers to Dad!
Some strange iteration of Hello Kitty...teddy bear-style
I still don't know what this is...the guy at the deli counter (and it was vast) said "only the chef knows, and he's not here"...I asked two other people working there and got the same answer.....so, let me know if any of you know what it is...the greens are sort of like little branches...quite good and I always like to eat things I've never seen before
Why one has to love French...makes even loitering sound elegant...
Bill from the book club who I met again for pints at Highlander, the Scottish pub down the street from the Irish one...Bill does lots of volunteer work in the arts and with the queer community. A very admirable, engaged man. And he loves books!
A very poor photo of a beyond burger in my attempts to flirt with veganism in each locale I visit. Beyond Burgers are only a momentary phenomena on this fake meat development trajectory in my estimation as they are really quite dry and shoe leatherish...i.e., they will never convince a meat eater, but I was fine with it
A farewell to Mar and the green fields of Ottawa, soon to be dug up for the subway. They planned way ahead here, and at a party the other day I met Alan, Mar's cousin, who is a career public transportation consultant. He imparted a wealth of information and explained how Ottawa had a plan from way back and that it is an example of how to approach creating a comprehensive public transportation system. Sadly, he said LA is studied worldwide as what not to do.... though LA is progressing, slowly but surely.
Off to Toronto, one step ahead of the coming freeze.....