Tuesday, May 29, 2007

How to Vacation in your Home City

Remember the holiday Monday we had recently? It crept up on me. When I realized that I was going to have an extra day off, I decided that I wanted to make it a real vacation day: I would do no chores and no errands. I would have the kind of day I'd want to have if I was on a vacation in another city.

Because life is speeding by so fast, I didn't have time to make any plans before the weekend started. I found myself at the Manx on the Friday evening asking people at my table for advice. Here are their "vacation in Ottawa" suggestions:

I want to make it clear that these suggestions came from fine people who are intelligent and creative and genuinely wanted to be helpful. But do you see what is wrong with the things they came up with? Holy crow! How boring!

Yes, I like to say hi to the Parliament cats, who doesn't. But that's five minutes. The only thing on the list I haven't done every time a relative has visited Ottawa is go to the Mer Bleu Bog. And if I wanted a wilderness vacation, I wouldn't be looking for things to do in Ottawa. (Nature fans, I'm sure it's a lovely bog and its hydrological features are indeed most unusual. But it's halfway to Russell!)

Then on Saturday after we went swimming, Kathy A suggested she should have some of us over for brunch. "Do it on Monday," I said, "the pool is closed anyway."

Back at home, I remembered that Jim B had offered to take some of us swimming at the Chateau Laurier pool where he has a membership. I emailed him and suggested we do the pool on Monday. He agreed.

So it all fell together.

  1. Kathy A invited a bunch of us over for a great brunch.
  2. Jim took me, Marcie and Kathy to the Chateau's pool for a delightful swim. The guy at the door knew Jim and let us all in free. Kathy and I agreed it wouldn't replace the Champagne Bath (too short, too warm, too pricey) but it's a beautiful art deco pool. And they have a machine that almost dries your bathing suit in ten seconds.
  3. Someone, Jim, I think, suggested we have lunch outside on the patio at the Metropolitan. Kathy called Roy and he joined us. We all enjoyed our meals. [I'm not giving a link to the Metropolitan because they have an annoying music-playing website.]
  4. Marcie had suggested we see a movie. Before leaving for breakfast, I cleverly printed the times for the movies that I'd be willing to see at the downtown movie theatres. (First, I went to FilmCan to see what would be playing. Second, I went to Movielens to see which movies I would like.) It turned out that the only movie that had a convenient start-time for us was Shrek the Third. I'm afraid to say that of the three of us who went, I was the only one who did any laughing. Movielens told me I'd like it 4 stars, but afterwards I was thinking I'd really only give it 3.5. Since Movielens doesn't let us humans use half-stars, I'd have gone with a 4 because it was okay for what it was. Now Movielens is telling me I would like it 3.5 stars. This is the problem with Movielens for me. People who like the movies I like are probably also like me in that they aren't out at movies their first weekend. I don't get reliable ratings until my people have had a chance to see the movies.
  5. After that we all went home and rested; and
  6. I watched the finale of Heroes.

Do you see what the lesson is about having a vacation in your own city?

  • Involve your friends.
  • Get them to have you and other friends over.
  • Get them to invite you to a neat place they go to regularly that you never or rarely go but would like.
  • Do some research.
It occurred to me after I came up the idea of involving friends to create a vacation day that my best vacation-in-Ottawa day in 2006 was the day I got Michael Dennis to make me lunch and read poems to me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great post. I like the picture too. I went to that pool once, about 25 years ago. It was great. I never went back.

I can never think of anything to do in Ottawa...or anything for visitors to do either, for that matter. I often wonder if that has more to do with Ottawa or with me.