Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ducks beat Senators...

No, I'm not talking about a Hitchcock movie, but about the final season of the Stanley Cup. Is not over yet, but the Senators lost the 2 first games (out of hopefully 6 games) against the US ducks! (Which means that if they lose another 2 games...they are out).

The good part of the story is that in hockey you need to lose at least four times in order to really lose (not as the FIFA World Cup, where if you lose... you lose -ask Zidane!-). The first team who wins 4 out of 7 games wins. So, there are plenty of chances to put the ducks back in the oven and cook them well. Nevertheless, statistics are against us. Apparently, most of the teams that reached the finals of the Stanley Cup did not manage to get back into track and win the rest of the games. We'll see what happens this time.

Now, did I just sound as a hockey fan? Don't get me wrong... I'm not... I'm just a soccer-addicted full stop. Nevertheless I enjoy seeing happy people around the city, dressed up in red and celebrating. It reminds me (just a little bit) of the World Cup.

This final season, reminds the World Cup also to my colleagues, who now ask me advice on how to win THE Final Match. Yes, they ask me... of course... because they know the influence I had in winning of the World Cup ;) (well apparently me, and many other people according to a yahoo survey and this other research). Therefore, I shared my knowledge and specific rituals that lead to victory:
  • Wear the same clothes you wore when your team won (it's OK to wash them before). For example, during last years' World Cup I had a specific outfit when Italy was playing (even though wearing a pull over in the middle of July was harder than when I started wearing it in June) and another wan when Switzerland was playing. They both brought luck... but for Switzerland only until a certain point - we were the only team to leave the World Cup undefeated on the field though...which is very good-

  • Never watch the match in the same spot, position, etc, than the time your team lost

  • Repeat the same things you did when your team won (eat the same things, drink the same thing, etc.)

  • Follow the same path when you go to watch the game

Now all the office is following this scientifically-proved rules (of course). Oh.... I don't believe in such things, but at least, we'll have done everything we could to support the Senators (and mainly, I will have lots of fun ...;)). Go Sens Go!

(PS.I hope you like my little draw... that's the max I could do using just Microsoft "paint".)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Is Ottawa so ugly?

Ottawa is a nice city. We have a great Parliament Building, rivers surrounding the city and Gatineau Park, a great green area, with lakes, bears, dears (Bambies) and insects just 15min. away from Ottawa.

But... but... it's true that besides the Parliament Building and some great museums (which I did not have the time to visit yet... but are on my "to do" list) the rest of Ottawa's architecture is not wow. Especially if you think that Ottawa is Canada's Capital. The centre of one of the most developed countries.

Andrew Cohen faced these issues in one of the chapters of his new book "The unfinished Canadian". So what? One more book critizing a city and the attitude of a country... I guess we could find plenty of those for each and every country. Nevertheless... this chapter generated a lot of reactions in Ottawa! and in Canada.
I'm now reading this book (I tried to take it from the library... but they don't have it yet and there is already a more than a hundred people line waiting to borrow the book), so I bought it. I already read Ottawa's chapter (because I needed to present a mini-talk show for Tele-30 about Ottawa) and I must say that I agree with many of his points. I mean, probably he tends to exaggerate the "ugly" side of Ottawa, however, the intention is not just to criticize it, but to point out to all the potential of this beautiful area that is not used at its best. I was surprised tough, to see all the reactions that this article generated in my fellow Ottawa citizens... that are now getting the attention they deserved representing Canada... not as the political Capital though, but as the Ottawa Senators city, the hockey team that is now playing the finals of the Stanley Cup against the US Ducks.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Sens' fever...

This time I'm not talking about my fever... but supporters' fever. Milan F.C. just won the Champions' League and Red and black colours are decorating Italy's financial capital: Milano. Many kilometers away, here in Canada's Capital, red and black colours are all over the place as well! Did all Ottawa Citizens suddenly become soccer supporters and Milan supporters? No... but the type of fever is the same (maybe at a smaller degree though).
Ottawa is getting ready to support the local hockey team during the final match of the Stanley Cup... (which is Hockey's Champions' League to make a comparison).

Don't worry if you are not able to see the match on Monday... in hockey you need to win 4 matches before becoming a if you missed one game...relax!, there will always be another one to watch(up to 7 matches). This system let's all the sponsors have their share of advertisement...and broadcasters couldn't be happier.

The funny thing is to observe that only a few weeks ago nobody was wearing the Senators' (this is the name of Ottawa's soccer team) colours. Of course, now that the Senators are winning, everyone suddenly became a serious and loyal you can see from the pics :)

The other day even my bus driver was wearing a Senators t-shirt.... and all the other pictures are from today: there were flags on top of all cars (especially companies' cars...which use the Senators probably just as a way to market themselves... ), Senators' cookies in the bakery shop, people wearing senators' t-shirts in the street (even though they are heavy and the temperature was 30 degrees C)
THE USA vs. CANADA issue: "Bring The Cup Home!"
Even though the Stanley Cup should only be a team's match and not an Nations' match... here the feeling is the one of a World Cup (it's even more important than Hockey's World Cup actually). In the past 30 years... US teams (full of Canadian players) have won the prestigious award.... will this year be the one?
The curiosity
Each year the winner team names are added on the Stanley Cup... each year since 1893. Actually each year but 2005 when Hockey players went on strike... information that is graved on the cup :)


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sick :( (spending my day with Rhinovirus)

This is my Rhinovirus (I guess, I didn't see a doctor)... therefore, I don't actually know. I just know I got sick...and it's probably because of the fact of walking around under the rain and with wet feets (even though I had running shoes) in Québec City.

Learning point: Next time check the weather and choose the clothes according to the previsions... not according to which weather would you like it to be.

Superficial and useless Comment: Rhinovirus looks kind of cute... and I like blue's better to have a virus that matches my eyes ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Victoria Day or Journée des Patriotes: long-week-end in Quebec City

Finally! While Europe is almost as its 3th May long-week end, us, Europeans in Canada, have to get used to get just one holiday in May: Victoria Day. Actually two in one, as it is Victoria Day in English-speaking Canada and is the journée des patriotes in Quebec.

One holiday, many names:
- The official name: Victoria Day

- The official Quebec Name: Journée Nationale des Patriotes (National Patriots Day)(previously Fête de Dollard after Adam Dollard des Ormeaux...but apparently they discovered he was not so heroic, and they changed the name of the holiday in 2003)

- The slang name: "In some parts of Canada, the holiday is colloquially known as May Two-Four.[2][3] This phrase has two meanings: the holiday always falls on the Monday of or before the birthday of Queen Victoria on the 24th of May, and a two-four is Canadian slang for a case of 24 bottles of beer, the most common packaging of Canadian beer."
My advice: get as many holidays as names... or many holidays for one day (not the other way around).

Murphy's law
After analysing many options on where to travel for this week-end, we decided to visit again Quebec City, as last time we did not really have time to visit it properly. (post1, post2)

Of course, after weeks of nice weather, we prepared for our first kind-of-summer week-end, as you can see from the pictures below (that was our travel-Italian-style-picnic on Saturday - picnic but with style), there were no clouds around and the weather was warm. Of course, the day after it was super cold and rainy. (Thanks Murphy).

Therefore on Sunday... our plan B was to eat...(OK let's call it culinary tourism, which sounds better than the real reason for it: restaurants are usually dry and warm) and to visit Quebec City by bus, which was not in our plans at first (Quebec City is small enough to just walk around).

However, it turned out to be a savvy decision. Robert was our bi-lingual guide and driver.
We discovered many nice places, restaurants and interesting history of the City of Quebec,
Among them:

- Québec is the only North American fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist (it was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1985)
- there are cannons all over the city
- the city main employer is the government
- the famous Hôtel de Frontenac actually is not that straight... Quebec has it's own Pisa tower (well, hotel)
- if you want to buy a church building.... go to Quebec City, there are many on sale
- You will always find people dressed up as in 1600 in Quebec (this time we found them in the Château de Frontenac)(see pictures from last year as well)

Monday: Sun!!!
Of course Monday was a sunny day (I guess the weather did not realize it was a holiday...otherwise it would have been another rainy day... is there something worse than bad weather during the week-end and good weather as soon as the working week starts? .... well I guess there is, but you see my point!)

Two realizations: Quebec people like castles and cannons :) (which in italian would be "alla gente del Quebec piacciono i cannoni"... which could be interpreted in many ways...that I won't translate -email me if you want to know)

Advice: best to visit
If you want to visit Quebec, do it next year. It will be the 400 anniversary since Samuel de Champlain founded the city in 1608 and they are planning huge celebrations.
Best dates:
- Birthday Of Quebec City Web site give place to family festivals of district in the districts of the city on July 3 of each year. Major demonstrations will take place all the summer 2008 for the 400th birthday of foundation of the city.
- Fetes de la Nouvelle France is a celebration in early August held in remembrance of the early French colonial times(However book your hotel well in advance)
- If you really, really, but I mean...really really like winter, there is also a famous Winter Festival held February: it's called the Carnaval de Québec (Website) and it is the biggest winter carnival in the world, (I should not tell you it's the direct competition to Ottawa's Winterlude...where we also have a lot of snow).

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Spring = Tulip Festival

Finally! Spring has arrived to Ottawa as well. Actually it is raining right now... but it wasn't this week-end :)

Each year since 1953 Ottawa has welcomed Spring (and wealthy tourist) with the famous Tulip Festival. While there are many other Tulip Festivals in North America during this period, (check wikipedia), Ottawa's Tulip Festival is the largest in Canada and it has a very particular story... somehow linked to international relations and country cooperation.

The story (wiki) says that "In 1945, the Dutch royal family sent 100,000 tulip bulbs to Ottawa in gratitude for Canadians having sheltered Princess Juliana and her daughters for the preceding three years during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, in the Second World War.
The most noteworthy event during their time in Canada was the birth in 1943 of Princess Margriet to Princess Juliana at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. The maternity ward was declared to be officially a temporary part of the Netherlands, so that the birth could formally be claimed to have occurred on Dutch territory. In 1946, Juliana sent another 20,500 bulbs requesting that a display be created for the hospital, and promised to send 10,000 more bulbs each year." The Tulip Festival started some years later in 1953.

Despite the pictures, I did not visit the Tulip Festival, but I just saw tulips all around the city (and in front of the Parliament Building as you can see). Last year I could not go to the Festival (actually it was a matter of principle... I did not want to pay to see some tulips and stands selling stuff). This year the entrance is free and they changed many many things about the Festival...they have even many countries having their own stand and promoting their culture (which should match the friendly spirit of the Tulip story narrated above). I'm looking forward to see many tulips (and I hope I won't find too many bees) ;)

(In the pics: Rita -my Hungarian roommate- and me)


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The best restaurant!

Are you planning to go to Peru???
Well.... if so, you are just too lucky! The best restaurant-bar in the city of Lima just opened its doors in Miraflores!!!
My lovely aunt has worked a lot to bring this new idea! And just look at the dishes! a mix between the best Peruvian recipes with a bit of European flavor...
I'm so looking forward to go and taste it!
Wishing all the luck to my aunt for this new, great project!!! I'm sure everything will be great... it's Tommy Kiss'pe!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Which card are you

Following Carissa and Sarah... I had to try!
I got this card:
You are The Wheel of Fortune
Good fortune and happiness but sometimes a species of intoxication with success
The Wheel of Fortune is all about big things, luck, change, fortune. Almost always good fortune. You are lucky in all things that you do and happy with the things that come to you. Be careful that success does not go to your head however. Sometimes luck can change.
What Tarot Card are You?Take the Test to Find Out.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Canadian humour ;)

Hehe I just found this on a facebook note ;).... Go Sens Go!


Discovering Toronto: Cabbagetown

Finally spring has arrived to Canada as well! When Europe is getting some rain again, we started to have nice, warm and sunny weather.

Therefore, we took the chance to discover a bit more of the biggest city in Canada: Toronto.

We prepared our tools (a guide of Toronto book... bought on sale) and a metro day pass. We decided to head to Cabbagetown!

Cabbage town is a neighbourhood in the downtown area of Toronto... to be precise, is in the opposite side than Little Italy and ChinaTown... meaning that is at the same level, but on the East rather than the West.

According to our guide, and to wikipedia, Cabbagetown's name derives from the Irish immigrants who moved to the neighbourhood beginning in the late 1840s, said to have been so poor that they grew cabbage in their front yards. Canadian writer Hugh Garner's most famous novel, Cabbagetown, depicted life in the neighbourhood during the Great Depression... (I did not read the book yet though)

The area is very nice: beautiful houses (according to Wikipedia even Avril Lavigne, the famous Canadian singer, used to live here at some point), nice parks and even a farm! Walking through Cabbagetown you can get to a nice little farm, with many animals and with a weekly farmers market (we could not see it though, as the market is only on Tuesdays and we were there on Saturday). In September they do also have a Cabbagetown we'll have to wait for that one.
A discovery I did not expected to make.... Geneva Av.!!! I was sooo happy.... finally at home! well... kind of :)

After walking around and going to the Phantom of the Opera at night... we went to the Panorama, a bar located at the 51st floor of the Manulife Centre with an incredible view of Toronto! Check it out!
(On the right: the CN tower; on the left: those bright buildings are in Dundas... kind of Toronto's version of NYC Times Square; the bright street on the left that goes to Dundas is Yonge Street... the main steet that crosses Toronto from South to North and divides the East and the West side of the city. It's also the same path of the subway that runs under Yonge St.).


Monday, May 07, 2007

Small World

Did you ever meet someone you knew in a place were you would have never expected to meet someone familiar? I bet you did!

I have recently been thinking about this after I met a girl I knew from HEI (my University) here in Ottawa. I was waiting at the bus stop near my house and a girl I knew from the Graduate Institute of International Studies (who is Swiss-Canadian from Quebec) stepped out from the bus. It was very funny! We agreed to meet for a coffee one of these days.

In 2005 I also met an american girl I knew from the GIMUN (Geneva International Model United Nations) in Split, Croatia. I was in a refectory with loats of AIESEC people, getting ready to have lunch before going somewhere else.... and I hear someone calling my name... and asking me if I was Chiara from the GIMUN... The year before I met two girls from HEI (this time from my same class) in Sorrento, my hometown in Italy.
Another time, many years ago, I met an argentian school-mate.... in a shopping mall... but in Lima, Perú!

I'm sure the same kind of thing happened to you (I would say AIESEC does not really it's a small community after all, even if spread around the world.Therefore, it's more likely to meet an aiesecer you know from somewhere in the world, in a conference in the opposite side of the world).... as the Disney-game sentence and song says: it's a small world after all!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Talking about Europe

This Saturday do not forget to listen to ChinRadio 97.9FM ( if you don't want to miss Lukas' intro to my show!
The show airs at 10am (Ottawa time).... and for this week-end I will also present the top-10 songs of the week at noon!

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Rome Treaty... and the European Union has also been one of the important topics treated by the two candidates to the French Presidency in their face-to-face debate. What a better occasion to talk about our lovely-old-but-still-fashion continent? (You will better understand why did I chose that picture for this subject after listening to my show).


From two major Canadian newspapers today...

One one side the GlobeandMail (National Canadian Newspaper based in Toronto) announces that Disney has opened the first networking website for kids under-14... I guess we were expecting some networking site for this age-range. For more about this click here.

On the other side, The Star, another big newspaper from Toronto, announces today that government employees will not be able to connect to Facebook from their office computer anymore. The website has been banned from most of the Ontario government connections.

This is interesting knowing that "more than 2 million Facebook users exist in Canada, making it the fastest growing market for the website, increasing at a rate of 5 per cent a week. Toronto alone has more than 500,000 registered users" (apparently Toronto is the biggest single community on Facebook). Other sites as Youtube have also been banned from Ontario government computers... but not other networking websites as (which is the most successful networking website in the States). For more about this click here.

If you don't know what the heck is this post about and would like to know more about Facebook, click here.