Monday, June 02, 2008

Visit to Ottawa, Canada, in May 1998

I once had a Home Page at Ireland On-line (, IOL were my first ISP. Curiously, the page still exists, though I no longer maintain it. On it I had "travel" section where I wrote about some of my travels - this was a period when I traveled quite a lot with work.

On one occasion I was sent to Ottawa in Canada on business. Luckily, I was able to combine the trip with some family contact - I had three cousins, Janet , Barbara, and Lauralea, living in Ottawa at that time. I was looking up my old IOL home page recently and enjoyed reading my old report on this visit.

Here it is again:

Canada - Ottawa, May 1998

I had the pleasure of preparing Ottawa for Kathleen's visit this summer with a two day business/pleasure trip. CBT Systems sent me over to check out the Development Center of a company that we are buying out called ForeFront.

I arrived in Ottawa on Monday 18th May. It was so good to see a friendly face at the airport - Lauralea was there to meet me. This is the first time that I have been met by somebody I know on any of my business trips. Lauralea took me to her house and introduced me to everybody who lives in Pocono. First time I met Serge, Kate and Natalie - Erin and I are old buddies from her visit to Ireland last year.

After checking into my hotel with a great view out towards Gatineau I went to Janet's apartment where I was treated to a song from the wonderful Barbara accompanied by the equally wonderful Janet on piano. Barbara's Italian is really good and she does Sarah Brightman better than Sarah Brightman herself. Barbara and Janet are both too young to remember Sarah singing "I lost my heart to a Starship Trooper" back in the 70s. We all had dinner in the Laurier Hotel - we almost had the entire restaurant ourselves. We got through all the family gossip (hey - no secrets were revealed!), Picasso (sorry I didn't get to see this Barbara), and Janet, Barbara and Lauralea days growing up. A most enjoyable evening that I will remember for a long time. I forgot to show you my photos of the O'Loughlin girls - I only brought a few hundred and it's a pity we didn't get through them. Janet sent me some photos - here's a sample of lucky me with my three cousins on the stairs in the Laurier Hotel lobby: All next day was spent in ForeFront - a fairly productive visit. Don't know if I'll ever be back.

Tuesday evening, Lauralea and I went out to the Markets area of Downtown Ottawa (looks to me like everything in Ottawa is Downtown!). Three of us had dinner in a restaurant whose name I do not remember. Lauralea had pizza, I had burger and fries, and our mosquito has a piece of my legs. I've already warned Kathleen about Ottawa's insect population whose grapevine is already spreading the news that Irish legs taste best. Our insect repellent factories are already working nights to supply Kathleen with enough repellent for her two week stay!

Lauralea and I went to the Heart and Crown where we had two pints of Guinness. Lauralea - I don't care what you say, Guinness does not travel well and tastes best in Dublin. I should stick to my principles and drink only local beer wherever I go. Lauralea also added to her beer mat collection - she still has one's that I wrote on in 1983!

Wednesday I visited the Royal Canadian Mint where I was keen to add to my coin collection. I think that they are going to melt down all the money I spent and keep Canada's pockets rattling with coins for the next year. Barbara, I passed by the Picasso exhibition - nice building!

I had lunch with Janet in the Cafe across from the Parliament building. Janet, please pass on my regards to Beth. Sorry our time was so short, but it was great to see you again.

Lauralea picked me up from my hotel and brought me to the airport via her house and a large shopping center where she obviously gets commission on everything that her "guests" spend. I picked up a particularly nice soap stone plaque to go with a similar one I purchased in Toronto last year.

Alas, time to go home and Lauralea brought me to the airport to make sure that I got on the plane. Last year I got the trip to Toronto right out of the blue, same this year with Ottawa. Who knows, maybe I'll get to Canada soon again and see all my other cousins and relatives.

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