“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Oh! Canada!

Arriving in Ottawa, I discovered it's quite a small, quaint city. I took the local bus into town to stay at the Ottawa jail... which is now a hostel. In Cell 2 Level 4 I laid my stuff and headed out for the night.

Aside from two charming German couples, I met this fascinating guy called Gabriel. He's a graffiti artist who has had some amazing life stories!! While I sarcastically told him that tagging is the equivalent of a dog's pissing on the wall to mark his territory (he was not impressed), he told me about the art form. I still think it is cruel to draw all over someone else's walls and desecrate beautiful historic brick buildings, but he has impressed on me just how much of a community it creates and how much skill is involved. He also, interestingly, had a prosthetic foot. Apparently, in his younger (but no less wild) days he used to train hop across the country, and one day he put his foot through the wheel, and it ripped off until it was only connected (vitally) by the artery. Yesterday, I went to see the graffiti artists in action at the special arts festival under the only legal graffiti wall in Ottawa.

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It's been really interesting to finally get to Canada. I find it impossible not to make comparisons with other western countries, most especially America. I find that there are far fewer obese people and there are far more tattoos (everyone seems to have at least one, and most have many, and they are all over arms, legs, bodies). Maybe because it's summer, the Canadians let it all hang out, whereas most of the year, these would be covered.

Another really surprising thing is the number of homeless people. Yesterday I was asked for money or to buy bus tickets 4 times! Do I look rich or more likely, foreign and gullible?

I do like the funky Canadian fashion sense: it's strong on punk and goth with layers of strange clothing mixes. It's definately more outrageous than Middle America's conservatism, although to be fair, I was coming from the mid west. Canadians seem accepting of their multiculturalism and mix of people. I've seen the most beautiful people here--lovely chocolate men and women with beautiful bone structures. The men are quite gorgeous and have creative facial hair. They aren't all rapper or American Eagle fashion and following the stereotypes like in America. I'm realizing more and more how US Fashion typically lacks originality--but maybe Canada gets old and looks monotonous after a while too?

Despite being orderly and prosperous, I can't decide if Ottawa's a ghetto town or not. There are just all types here! I suppose it's small size means that people have to mix with all types. I love all the French here too!! Montreal, baby... hopefully I'll get there by the end of the week!

Anyway, have to go to the airport and hope Mimi and Omar's flight has FINALLY arrived. It's been delayed twice!!

1 comment:

Natalya said...

Did you hear that Australia has now surpassed the USA for percentage of obese? Australia (very surprisingly) has 26% obese over the USA's 25%. Interesting? Where is the world going to and how can we help??