Amurican Idiots

Trip Start Jun 13, 2009
Trip End Jul 03, 2009

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Where I stayed
Quebec welcome center

Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

After deciding to have an early start, we got up late and were off in a hurry. We made it to Toronto in the late morning and had no clue what we wanted to do. We were distracted by all the weird signs and attractions around the city; did you know they have something that looks like our Space Needle, their CN Tower, and they also have a Ride the Hippo (are they copying Seattle or is it just me?). Madeline spotted a sign for China town, and after driving through the Mid West we were a little starved for some culture so we found a parking spot, paid the meter, and got out to explore. We decided we were hungry, so we bounded into the first Dim Sum restaurant we found, which we hoped to be authentic, as we were the only non-Asians there. The Dim Sum was run a little differently here; you got an order card to fill out, rather than picking items from a cart. It made the experience of Dim Sum a little less fun and you had to wait for your food, but that also meant it was very fresh and you knew what you were getting. While we waited for our food, we were entertained by the local Asian television channel, featuring a very hip talk show, with the guests of the day being firemen. We ordered two old favorites: fish roe shrimp siu mai with minced pork and steamed B.B.Q. pork buns and tried two new favorites: fried tofu stuffed with shrimp and meat (which ended up being Madeline's favorite dish) and pan fried vegetable wrap with tofu crepe (which ended up being Sigrid's favorite dish). With full bellies, we meandered back through Toronto to the freeway, for the long drive to Ottawa. Along the road, we continued to be amused by the road signs and the attractions that they offered, for example: the Nuclear Info Center, Plinky's Fun Farm, Hell Holes Nature Trails, Paint Test Strips, and The Haunted Walk of Kingston. We arrived in Ottawa around 4:30 with a vague idea that we should see the Parliament building or a museum, but we were pretty sure that not much would be open. Through some lucky miracle we picked the exit that led to the Parliament building even though it hadn't been marked on the freeway. A parking garage, information center, and stroll later, we found ourselves in front of Parliament, where a helpfully stationed guide told us that indeed, we could still get a tour and they were free! We were led around the Parliament building by our French-Canadian guide Mike; we saw the House of Commons, the library (gorgeous), and many other beautiful architectural features. Chatting with Mike, we found out he had been to Seattle recently to visit some friends and he was surprised we drove so far; he also told us that there was a big party in Quebec City that night if we wanted to drive five more hours and join the people getting drunk and dancing in the street. After the tour we got to go up the peace tower (in the same building); from the elevator windows you can see the bells and from the observation deck you can see the whole city and the clock face. Tired, we drove on to Montreal and finding the welcome center on the Quebec border closed, we settled down for the night to get a map in the morning.

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