I had booked a room at the Marriott Hotel in downtown Ottawa for Saturday night. The check-in was at noon. Dooh had a previous engagement in the morning. Harry was MIA or KIA for all we knew. Shekhar was participating in the annual Dragon Boat race at Mooney’s Bay.
He had asked us to visit him if possible. He was going to be there from 7 AM though and with the long drive from Toronto to Ottawa, it was highly unlikely Lunato and I would be awake at that time.
The last, and first, time I had been to the Dragon Boat festival was in 2003 with Kelly. I had woken up early in the morning, despite having watched a movie late into the night with Lunato, and had biked over to Kelly’s house. It was quite early in the morning and I remember I had to wait inside her parent’s house while she readied herself. Exactly what time I woke up is still a secret that has not yet been, and definitely never will be, revealed to Lunato.
So, to set things right and to complement the yin with the yang, I took Lunato to Mooney’s Bay after dropping Dooh at Zahra’s house. I called Shekhar after we reached the festival area but he had already left. Feeling stupid about being in Ottawa with Harry not being in town anymore and then arriving at the Dragon Boat festival with Shekhar not there anymore, I did not tell him where I was. I’ve more than fulfilled my stupid quota for the day.
The Dragon Boat festival was definitely interesting. There were lots of teams competing against each other for the fastest lap around the river.. or something of that sort. I applaud their effort. We climbed the small hill behind Mooney’s Bay and admired the view from there. Nice view.
I had wanted to visit the small waterfall area below Hog’s Back Road ever since I had first moved to Ottawa. It’s odd that in 6+ years I never bothered to make time and actually visit the place. Lunato and I have biked down Colonel By Drive numerous times and the waterfall/Mooney’s Bay dam area is right beside it; close enough to walk to from Mooney’s Bay as well. So that’s what we did, walked over to it. It’s quite impressive. Take a look.
Having crossed off another item from the list of things-to-do-before-expiring, we went downtown to check in at the hotel. Lunato asked for the highest room available and they gave us one on the 18th floor. Nice.. excellent view of downtown Ottawa.
Shekhar had another race at Mooney’s Bay later in the afternoon. Once he was done, he called and asked if I could pick him up and then meet up with everyone else. Sure. He hadn’t seen the new car until now so I was anxious to show it off as well. After a hasty car wash at an ESSO gas station on Baseline road, quite close to our old residence at Thornbury crescent, we met Shekhar and his co-worker and co-rower Mittale on Merivale Road near the Denny’s.
After dropping her at her house, Shekhar dialed the cellphone number Harry was using in Ottawa. Lunato and I only heard his side of the conversation and it was something like this:
Harry, where are you?
It’s me, where are you?
What does it matter who I am, I’m asking you where you are!
Rideau Centre? What are you doing there?
Oh, hello, Renny. No, this is Shekhar.
Ah, Harry is not there.
Okay, sorry. I’ll try the other number. Thanks.
We never found out who answered that call. I’m assuming it was Harry’s brother-in-law, who I suspect is sick and tired of Dooh and I always visiting his house ever since he married into Harry’s family. He’s an awesome guy, an awesome dad, and has always been very welcoming and extremely generous. Renny probably took the phone from him after the poor guy caved in and told someone he had never talked to before that he was at Rideau Centre. She told Shekhar that Mr. Harry was at home and was asleep when she had left. At least he’s in town now.
We picked up Dooh and went over to Renny’s house to find Harry alone in the house. Hi Harry! Good to see you again. Everything is set. Let’s start.
The rest of the night is sort of a blur. Sumanta somehow made himself part of the group. I don’t recall where and when we met him. We parked the car in the underground Marriott parking lot that looked like the perfect place to shoot a post-apocalyptic zombies versus lone human survivor movie. We walked to downtown Ottawa. We had shawarma on Rideau Street. We had Sheesha on Sparks Street. Came back to the hotel to drop off important items like the camera, car keys, wallet. Went out again to listen to loud obnoxious music while drinking Ginger Ale on York Street. Shekhar tried to teach Harry how to talk to random women in Byward Market. A group of drunk girls called us “angels” and gave hugs to everyone near Dalhousie Street and I was woken up by a bouncer at an After-party dance club around 4 AM. Harry, Shekhar, and Sumanta decided to stay at the club while we walked the long way back to the hotel. They came back around 6 in the morning, I think.
Harry put it best when he said, “I want to somehow save this feeling and repeat it again and again.”