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And that’s a hell of a photo to start a blog post with, isn’t it? I had a girls weekend with my friend Steph, who I met in Grade 6 in Montreal, lost touch with in 1990 in Toronto, and found again through my old blog in 2007. She came to visit me in NYC last October and we did many many touristy things of awesomeness. We made a commitment to see each other more regularly and when I had a mini breakdown about some fertility tests I had done in February, we decided to do it this month.

So, off to the Fairmont Chateau Montebello we went for a two day getaway. I picked Steph up at the airport on Friday morning, we bopped down to my neighbourhood for brunch and a tour of my house, and headed up to the resort, with a two hour detour at Parc Omega. It’s kind of hard to describe Park Omega other than to say it’s a large park that you drive through that has lots of indigenous Canadian animals in it that come up to the car to check you out (though, most often, they want carrots).

I’m pretty organized, and had a bag of 3 pound carrots cut in half. That’s a lot of carrots, people. Or so I thought. What I didn’t realize was quite how many animals there would be and how, um, assertive they would be in trying to get some grub.

They see your car and circle around it. They hang out in front of the car for a long long time, sort of herding you, waiting to see if you’re going to give them a carrot.

They want that carrot badly enough that they know to put on a display for you. These dudes locked horns every time I opened my mouth to say something. I’d say “Hey, how’s it going?” They’d lock horns, then look at me, expectantly. I’d say “how about you do that again!” They’d lock horns, then look at me, expectantly. It was pretty funny until they followed us down the road. Those are pointy antlers. They followed us to a parking spot where Steph had jumped out of the car to get batteries for her camera. Doh.

Steph grew up on a farm. She loves pigs. I grew up in cities. I am scared to death of pigs. Scared to death. My mother still laughs herself silly thinking about me being chased down the street in Hoi An (Vietnam) by a pack of pigs. Big pigs. There are a LOT of wild boars at Parc Omega, by the way. This mini one is about 1/3 the size of the one who decided to mount my car (literally) and try to get into my driver’s side window. Thus making me instantly sweat right through my clothing and almost crap my pants on the spot. (Steph kept it together admirably – she only laughed for a few seconds.)

Because all things small are cute, of course wild boar babies are cute. Of course. And because I’m a very nice person, I stopped repeatedly to take what I’m quite sure were 600 photos of striped baby boars. They were all on my side of the car, you see. And Steph was pretty much apoplectic with joy whenever we saw the babies, so I sucked it up and took pictures. Until the big parent boars came around and grunted at us, and then I gunned it out of there.

I think it’s reasonable to expect a little love from a deer when you give it your last carrot, don’t you? I mean, it’s your LAST CARROT. Right?

Instead, I got attitude face. This must be what parents of teenagers feel like.

After that much excitement, we needed some sugar. Because that’s what you do with adrenaline. Give it sugar. (Did I mention I could smell myself from the fear sweat? Not good.)

I still smelled better than these guys. Jesus, bison stink. And do they EVER poop a lot.

So, I have fear sweat and my car has actually been damaged by a wild boar (hopefully the scratches can be fixed without a full repaint) and now I’m hopped up on sugar and Parc Omega throws me this. Um. Hello? Could this animal be any freaking bigger? I’m not going to lie, I took one look at the scene above and said “I’m passing those cars”. I pulled out and eased around and passed them. I think Steph might have been disappointed, but man. Those things are not Bambi. They’re huge. They’re great if you’re in a minivan. I’m in a subcompact. Enough said

The blue car passed me (Quebec driver) at the arctic wolves. Side note: This car had a mother and I assume the grandmother and three very young children all in the front seat. One of the children was constantly hanging out of the windows. Oh, and no seatbelts. I’m just saying, Steph and I had our seatbelts on at all times. Right, back to the scene above. Tell me this isn’t a bit creepy. They’re coming right for me. With giant horns!

He seriously wants to hang out with me. I mean, I know I’m cool and all that, but back up, buddy. I need some space.

After the in-yer-face-ness of the deer species, the black bears behind fencing felt pretty darned sweet. And, since it was sunny, they were all out of their dens and hanging out. This dude was checking out his reflection.

Honestly, all this one needs is a beer and I feel like I’d be looking at a Superbowl ad.

So, after all the excitement of the Parc Omega goodness, we went to the hotel, checked in, and hotfooted it to the hot tub. Because I was stressed and needed to chillax (like that bear). There was hot tubbing. And more hot tubbing. And some eating. And then some sleeping. And the next day we walked and hot tubbed and napped and ate and talked and played games and ate and slept and today we ate and played games and then I had to drive Steph back to the airport.

We had lunch with my parents on Saturday, and it was fun. Mum took this picture of us together. It’s a little more formal than the other self photo we did.

I had a great weekend with a great person who happens to be a great friend. Next time she comes to Ottawa, we’re going to spend a weekend just making stuff in the gloriousness that is my craft room. (Don’t hate, it’s pretty fricking awesome.) But we’re also going to Quebec City. And then maybe I can convince her to go to Newfoundland. Why not, right? We’ll laugh, we’ll giggle, we’ll have a great time.

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