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Arrival

March 16, 2003. Temperature -9C at CYOW (but I imagined that it felt like -20).

I chose that day to immigrate to Canada, since it was (supposed to be) the first day of spring, and therefore, be warm. Nothing farther from the truth.

Tired from flying all day, it took three differen American Airlines flights to reach Ottawa. It started very early with the first fight from Bogota to Miami, then Miami to Chicago, and then finally, Chicago to Ottawa.

I remember the changing landsacape seen from the airplane window. The departure from Bogota, in a cold morning, with green and mountains, shortlived, since it was covered by clouds as the airplane quickly ascended. Then the caribbean sea, and later the beaches and warmth of Miami, followed by the endless green pastures of the American East until reaching Chicago with the first hints of cold weather, and finally on the final leg of the trip, endless white snow covered landscapes lighted up by the orange sunset.

If I remember correctly, I arrived around 9 or 10 pm, on a Sunday.

The first thing to see from the airplane door was the very tall snow bank at the far side of the apron. Then walked from the airplane to the old Ottawa Airport terminal, no boarding fingers at that time.

At the CBSA counter, being greeted with a “Welcome to Canada” followed by a “This is the warmest day we had this winter”.

After doing all the paperwork for customs and immigration, and waiting for the luggage from the flight, I called a very good friend that offered to pick me up. But the consequences of that simple act were far more reaching, since he opened his house for the first days, found me a basement appartment to rent, and his family became my adoptive family here in Canada. Its priceless to have someone to call when you arrive to a foreign country after taking the jump of immigrating to another country.

Happy St. Patricks Day.

Marihuana Legal en Canadá

Resulta que a la media noche, 17 de Octubre, la marihuana será legal en Canadá.

Multiples preguntas quedan todavía en el aire: los distintos departamentos de policia a nivel provincial no tienen las reglas claras, ni los medios para detectar conductores bajo la influencia de las drogas; igualmente muchos sitios de trabajo no saben como lograr un balance entre la legalización, la marihuana con prescripción médica, y donde y cómo permitir su consumo.

Cada provincia tiene sus propias reglas, pero el gobierno federal da ciertas bases y límites. (Wiki aqui) En general (repito, cada provincia tiene sus reglas), la “dosis personal” es de 30 gr., y se pueden tener hasta 150 gr. o cuatro matas de marihuana en la casa para consumo personal y se especifica la altura y grosor del tronco de cada mata.

Buen hilo en twitter de la Asociación para las Libertades Civiles de Canadá en Twitter acerca de que sigue siendo ilegal en Canada aún despues de la legalización.

Hay variables en la edad mínima de consumo, en general en provincias es 18, en Quebec (será) 21 (curiosamente en consumo de alcohol es al revés, en Ontario se puede consumir alcohol, a partir del primer dia del cumpleaños 19, en Quebec, es el primer dia del cumpleaños 18, en fin)

Hay tambien variables en si se permite el consumo en público o solamente en las casas. Igualmente muchos condominios o edificios están prohibiendo el consumo (y eventual cultivo) de marihuana.

Adicional se pueden llevar hasta 30 gr., de marihuana en un vuelos en Canadá, pero es ilegal en vuelos internacionales.

Si se hacen galletas o brownies con marihuana o semillas de marihuana, (y una semilla equivale a un gramo), en total los brownies o galletas no pueden pesar mas de 450 grs.

Pero una de las cosas simpaticas, es la receta del dia del Ottawa Citizen. (Me imagino que) con el consumo de marihuana los munchies típicos son las papitas fritas, pizza y comida chatarra, pero el periódico de hoy trae la sigiuiente receta: Cascaras fritas de Batata (Sweet Potato) con Pancetta en infusión de Canabis y Crema Chipotle.

Bong-Appetit 🙂

 

Ottawa: Animal Land

In the early hours of the morning, around 3:30 am, a black bear was seen roaming around ByWard Market in Ottawa. For the outsiders, the Market is right at the city downtown core and a very popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

At around 6:00 am, Police cordoned a block  of the Market where the Bear had climbed a tree in a backyard and decided to take a nap.

Later in the morning, the Uber for the #BywardBear (as by now it was trending in Twitter), a transport cage, arrives and animal experts from the National Capital Commision, tranquilize the bear.

Then, the bear is descended from the tree safely, tagged, put in the transport cage, and driven to  Lanak Forest Area, 80 km. southwest of the city.

As in my past post, Operation Killdeer, Ottawa produces a fair amount of feel good stories with animals, funny enough most of them are parodied with Twitter accounts and hashtags within minutes.

Here are some of the accounts that I could find.

@ByWardBear

@HighwayMoose (postumous, moose in the 417 highway, had to be euthanized)

@octranspofox Fox found sleeping inside a bus in a parking lot.

@ottawaturkey Turkey seen first, walking across downtown in the morning rush hour, and then seen the following day riding on the roof of a bus.

@rideauraccoon Raccoon camping in the scaffolding during the renovations of Rideau Centre, two days later a massive sinkhole opens during the initial stages of construction of the new LRT tunnel underneath.

@ottawasnake Gentle python lost in suburbia, found three days later in the basement

Operation Killdeer

killdeer

Screengrab from a Youtube video via The Washington Post

Ottawa produces a fair number of feel good stories about animals year-round.

A Fox sleeping in a bus. (Link)

Raccoons stuck at a shopping mall, (Link) or in a fight in a McDonalds (Link).

Turkeys walking around down-town (Link) and going on top of busses (Link).

Or White Snow Owls stopping by. (Link)

While all these could be a consequence of the city invading adjacent farm lands and climate change, these news provide in their frivolity a much needed break from the non-stop 24 hours (not so good) news cycle.

This time it’s a female Killdeer (on the list of protected species) has decided to nest right in the middle of where the main stage of the biggest music festival of the summer in Ottawa, Bluesfest.

Of course, Ottawa being the capital of Canada, everything has a burocratic twist.

The land where the festival if going to be held is managed by the National Capital Commission a federal government agency.

This means that when the bird’s nest was discovered, the NCC had the responsibility of deciding if and how the nest was to be moved.

The festival organizers cordoned the area with yellow table and hired a security guard to make sure that the nest was not disturbed.

killdeer security

Picture via ctvnews.ca

With time running out, with just a week to the start of Bluesfest, the Federal Ministry of the Environment advised and authorized an attempt for the bird’s nest to be moved, one meter at a time, over two or three days.

12950401.JPG

TheProvince.com via The Ottawa Citizen

The risk is that if the nest is moved to far away or too quickly, the mother bird will reject the eggs, and they won’t be incubated.

Anyhow, after three days of moving the nest one meter at a time, operation Killdeer was a success.

The nest has been succesfully moved 25 meters away, enough to be able to build the main stage, and the mother bird is still incubating the eggs.

Ottawa at its finest