Travel Talk

An Urban Safari in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada…


I’m reporting to you live from an exotically decorated garage at a friends in the suburbs of Ottawa also known to some as “Suburbia”. I’ve done safari in South Africa and a camping safari in Tanzania and seen grizzly bears in British Columbia but never, have I seen something like this… There were creatures everywhere, some even driving large steel boxes with fancy emblems and seats made of bovine skin. It all started with a canceled game of golf and mission to Future Shop…

Sadly the only thing slightly futuristic is the story is Future Shop, a hover board would have been sweet. Went on a mid-summer death march at high noon in 30+ degree weather and it took about 1.5 hours round trip. I saw all sorts of wildlife like the criminally overdressed telephone repair man, the door to door salesman kicking it under a tree drinking water. The long four lane roads at a laughable 60km max wore on my flip flop donned feet as the sun seared the bill of sweat stained top hat, the safari had started. The way home was uneventful and long filled with regret on a most erroneous footwear selection.

I fell asleep fully dressed only to awake incredibly sweaty and disoriented. A shower seemed like a chore and I was already dressed for and dirty from a safari. This time I decided to jump in a safari truck aka a car and drive to where the most game is, downtown. Took the highway and hissed and hauled my way there like a hungry hyena. In short time the car was parked, along the way I bought worms, just in case. Everywhere there was life, lots of urban joggers as well, some even dressed in fancy spandex suits! There were all sorts of species of “urbanites” such as the solo female jogger, not to be confused with the solo female traveler, tandem male joggers in neon parachute pants, a very vocal and overly zealous or clinically insane man in a motorized wheel chair that looked like a recliner and more! He did a drive by and suffered the dreaded iphone camera lens glitch.

Telephone repairman in action – almost as rare as that time I saw a leopard ripping a waterbuck’s face off!

I remembered I knew someone in the area who I had not seen in ages, I went to their house knocked on the door and said “Hey, you there!?” In no time we were on our way to the canal. All animals like to congregate near bodies of water from the Nile in Egypt to the Rideau Canal in Canada. We saw ALL SORTS of wild life there such as some mentioned above and the endangered inner city kayaker, I even got a photo. We saw those random older guys with thick accents who told us we wouldn’t catch anything, they were wrong. We saw party boaters, old chip bag floaters and old gents with their wives strolling in loafers.

The fishing was incredible, some of the best bass fishing I can ever remember. In a short period of time we pulled out over 10 largemouth bass and a few terd sunfish. On the topic of animals, there was all sorts of stuff like dogs, cats, squirrels, no big deal right? An Australian lady I knew in university used to freak out when she saw one, they don’t have squirrels down under… To make matters even crazier, the endangered and near extinct inner-city kayaker even got out and talked to us, that doesn’t happen with white rhinos. Old SHABL video of fishing the Rideau Canal here.

Yesterday could have been routine and it’s a spin off on something I’ve been doing lately and that is “urban hiking”. If you’re in no rush to get somewhere and it isn’t a bad walk, why not just walk? Smell the flowers along the way, be shocked at how slow it feels you’re moving but at how far you’ve come. Slow down and be in that state of safari where the slight wrestling of the leaves or in the concrete jungle, honk of the horn doesn’t go unnoticed. There is so much going on for those who take the time to go out and see, as always the choice is yours.

I want you to go on an urban safari sooner than later, pack a lunch or your wallet and go…

Tips hat,

P.S: If you like late night drives, you’ll love the safari.

P.P.S: The iphone is rubbish for safari.

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