two years and ten days later, lunato was in Ottawa again. dooh was more than happy to be our gracious host and we stayed with him for three days and two nights. Ottawa didn't change so much during this time.. all our favourite hang-outs were the same. Shwarma Laguna was exactly like how it was before. the meat-pie place was exactly the same with the same staff even!. Carleton's campus changed a lot though. new hockey rinks (two of them!! sheesh, my tuition paid for all this and i can't even use them) and major upgrades to the University centre.
we arrived in Ottawa late at night on the 29th and visited downtown with dooh for some drinks (that's Pepsi, Sprite, and Ginger Ale.. lol) and then crashed at dooh's apartment. saturday we spent with shekhar, andrea, diar, tony, and zaynab at T&Z's nice cosy house in Aylmer, Quebec. actually the very first time lunato and i went somewhere together was when we visited andrea when she participated in the Fleurs de Macadam festival in Aylmer. this was back on May 30th 2003.
tony and zaynab were excellent hosts. they have a lovely house in Aylmer. we were visiting them for the first time and both lunato and i were quite impressed with it. the back deck was especially nice with its own jacuzzi. the pizza, cake, and ice cream were delicious as well.
saturday night was memorable. the clubbing scene in Ottawa might be small compared to Toronto but once the music starts and the dance floor gets crowded it is probably just like any other. as always, whenever we (shekhar, dooh, lunato, and i) gather together we reminisce about the "good ol' days" and wish naraku was with us as well. we drank to his good health though (again, Pepsi, Red Bull, and Coke.. ah such losers :P)
after sleeping late into sunday afternoon, we packed ours bags, said tatahs to everyone, promised to visit again soon, and headed home after a quick stop at Carleton. the last time i had visited the campus, the UniCentre upgrade was still in progress. the extension of the building was complete now and it looked quite nice. the old tortuous staircase is, sadly, gone and is replaced by a much better one; one that does not force you to climb a 45Ã‚Â° incline. it was good exercise for all!!
ah Ottawa... good times.
i spent two weeks and two days in South Korea and enjoyed every minute. i'm looking forward to visiting again some day in the future. however, it was time to leave so lunato and i packed our bags and boarded the United airplane heading to San Francisco, USA. lunato had really wanted to visit the Golden Gate bridge so we had arranged our flights so that we could have a 5 hour transit in SF.
immigration was annoying. first we were selected for "extra interrogation" and had to go to their security offices and spent about half an hour there. second, once we were past immigration, the customs officer searched all of my luggage and even went through my laptop. i'm a canadian citizen and have travelled/visited the States more than 5 times in the past 4 years (and each time had to undergo some "extra" checks) but i still had to open my hand carry, my two suitcases, and then log into my laptop and let him search through it for more than 10 minutes. i've no idea what he was doing.. i wasn't allowed to look at the screen >:( finally, when he was done with all my luggage, i started to lift lunato's suitcase so i could put it on the table and open for him but he told me, "It's ok. She can go." bah! canadian citizen vs south korean citizen. oh well, at least we got to see the Golden Gate bridge... and it was really beautiful :)
we took the BART train from the airport to the Civic Center station and then a cab to the Golden Gate bridge. you can see the Alcatraz island from the bridge. the 1996 movie, The Rock featured this prison and since i really liked that movie, i was really excited to see it with my own eyes.
after spending half an hour on the bridge, we barely made it back to the airport and we were the last two to board the airplane :P when we boarded the airplane, we heard the air hostess tell the pilots "ah, they are here!." unforunately, during the rush to the airplane, i forgot to pick up my wrist watch from the small box i had put it in while going through the security checkposts. doh!!
from SFO, we took an Air Canada flight to Toronto and apparently from this flight was considered a domestic flight and not an international one. that is part of the reason we were so late to get to the boarding gate. we were looking for the gates in the International Terminal instead of the Domestic Terminal. so, in case you're traveling between CA and USA through SF, either be smarter than us and ask someone beforehand which terminal you should be leaving from OR remember this post!
hmm.. maybe i really had gained a lot of weight over the past two dozen days in korea. i was invited to go mountain climbing today. i had never climbed a mountain before in my life so i was a little bit apprehensive about it but lunato's nephews told me that they are going as well and that their dad goes every sunday. no equipment is required and it is just walking on a path that winds its way up a mountain. cool!!
but... wow, it was really strenuous. i was exhausted by the time we reached the first summit and wanted to stop for a rest half way up there... but i thought maybe this is some sort of a physical endurance test and i was being tested by the family. gotta go on.. one more step.. and another.. and another. remember, each step brings the destination closer. go go go.. phewh. the climb was extremely tiring and my calves were screaming for a rest every time i took a step... but i made it!!. and the view was breathtaking. we basically started from the buildings you see at the right most corner in the
amatuerly created panorama.
the climb down was easy. losing potential energy is always easier than obtaining it. i am pretty much out of shape as well so it was a good exercise and a good wake-up call as well. however, i really wanted to relax so lunato and i went to downtown Anyang and after food (i laugh in the face of exercise.. hah!) we went to a Karaoke bar. i have no singing ability at all. my allergies, deformed nasal passages, and an almost-ashtma-type condition robbed me of that a long time ago. but this was my first time in a korean karaoke bar so i had to sing and i sang along with lunato and managed not to break any glass :)
we sang a lot of our favourite songs; Eagles - Hotel California, Coldplay - Talk, Coldplay - Yellow, Oasis - Don't Look Back In Anger, and ended the night with Extreme - More Than Words. Amazingly enough, all the songs we wanted to sing were available. Karaoke is a pretty good way to relax and pass the time. Fun!