Sunday, May 11, 2014

Ottawa Odyssey

I've been in Ottawa just over a week now. Today I ventured out with my friend Hannah to Gatineau Park for a hike. It was super awesome, but getting to and from there was a bit of a transit odyssey.

Until now, I've found transit in Ottawa to be super awesome. I live just off the transit express way so it takes me maybe all of 15 minutes to get to work in the morning. Today being Sunday, though, I failed to anticipate reduced service. This wasn't too bad on the Ottawa side. The 8 was only running every half hour across the Chaudière bridge so I walked. But this meant I missed my STO bus connection. After waiting un quart d'heure and trying to text for the bus, I figured an alternate route using the STO's mobile site (which is actually pretty good). Not entirely knowing where I was going because Google Maps doesn't know STO bus routes, I watched my blue dot approach my destination.

Hannah and I hiked partway to Pink Lake before turning around and deciding Lac des fées was more attainable (Pink Lake is a 16km round trip).

On the way back I met an awesome woman d'un certain âge waiting for the bus. Her name, I later found out, was Jocelyne and is able to say "hello" in seven different languages, including Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese and Yugoslav. She also seemed to be an expert on the Ottawa-Gatineau bus system so she took it upon herself to be my guide. She chatted with me about all sort of things, including la charte de laïcité right up front, Ottawa's history, as well as more personal subjects including how the ambassador of South Africa came to be her coffee buddy. It was un plaisir to chat with her and certainly made for a more interesting ride. She seems to be a figure in the city. She said she knows many of the bus drivers and that many of them call her ma tante. I hope to run into her again later this summer to catch up!

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