Sunday, October 29, 2006

A weekend in Ottawa

I've just returned from two days in Ottawa with nine other WarBirds geeks players. Some I'd met before. Vlasov lives here in Montreal and we see each other occasionally. RC I've met at official WarBirds conventions and I've also attended one of his own Ottawa gatherings, in 1998 I think.

We met in the hotel lounge Friday night and watched Vonmc and Muzz get plastered in their personal styles. Vonmc was loud and eager to regale us with tales of his virtual prowess. Muzz was quieter, sarcastic, and eager to deflate Vonmc's balloon. Also, he dropped and broke a glass.

Saturday, we went to the new War Museum, which is much bigger than the museum's old crowded quarters.

Vlasov drove the two of us into downtown Ottawa, but our way was blocked by a demonstration. Some 20 people and a large blue balloon were marching with signs that said "Big Oil". I assume this was a protest against Big Oil and not for it. The Ottawa police were blocking streets as the marchers went on, and Vlasov had to loop this way and that to get to the War Museum, the old museum. A sign on the door told us the museum had moved.

Back in the car, we were again thwarted by the rolling blockade. We looped around the Rideau Centre, drove between the American and Kuwaiti embassies, and finally made it onto Wellington for the drive back west of Parliament, which is where we'd come from in our first attempt to avoid the protestors. We were late, and the other WarBirders had already gone in, but finally the weekend continued.

The museum has room for its amazing collection of vehicles, from all eras. With respect to World War II, the most fascinating pieces were a StuG IIIG that had been hit about ten times, a rusty Valentine that had been rescued from a Russian bog, and an early model Churchill Mk II (2-pdr gun, bow machine gun, and engine snorkels a la Dieppe).

Saturday was spent more soberly by some, again in the hotel lounge. I had to fend off repeated requests for me to join 400-series (i.e. Canadian) virtual RAF squadrons. I will not let the virtual 101 Squadron die!

That was about it. It probably sounds boring to you, but it was an entertaining way for me to spend a weekend.

Bonus news:

I'm up to page 53 in reading "Flyboys".


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