Glen got off work early on Friday which meant our trip downtown to the Billy Bishop airport was stress-free. It’s a shame more flights don’t leave from Downtown. They’re trying to get approval to expand the airport and bring in different jets but there’s opposition. Convenience and economics will probably win out over everything else.
We arrived with plenty of time to spare, which meant we could have a few drinks and nibbles in the lounge before boarding the plane for the hour flight to Ottawa. For some reason, on this flight we were provided with little food packs (a third of a chicken wrap, a small chocolate and a small salad) and an extended drinks service, instead of the usual chips and cookies.
And then we landed. So good to only be travelling with carry-on luggage. We then jumped on a bus taking us Downtown. It was a pretty full bus, packed with your average Ottawans as well as people who’d just stepped off the plane. We arrived at the Rideau Centre about half an hour later and then walked to the HI-Ottawa Jail Youth Hostel. It really is an old jail.
We had a private room, which unfortunately didn’t have a bathroom so we had to share it with the other two or three rooms on our floor (at least one of the rooms had its own bathroom). We dumped our luggage and then set off towards the National Gallery.
The impetus for coming to Ottawa this weekend was to see a few films as part of the InsideOut gay and lesbian film festival. Our first film was starting at 9pm so we had some time to walk up to the National Gallery, past the US Embassy, and then find a place for dinner. The part of the city we saw was quite pretty with grandiose buildings and well manicured streets. Ottawa is a political town so it had some resonances with Canberra, but with a bit more going on after sundown.
We had dinner at a restaurant called Play and were served by a waiter who picked our Australian accent and chatted a bit about his time there nearly ten years ago. We ordered a bunch of things, had some nice wine. The first few dishes came out but then when the waiter came back to clear the plates, we asked how long ‘til the next lot and he said fifteen minutes. We had to cancel the remaining dishes as the movie was going to start before our food arrived. Glen was determined to come back another time to have the pork belly.
Most of the movies are playing in the auditorium in the National Gallery, a large impressive building with a giant spider sculpture out the front. The movie we saw was a French film called L’inconnu du lac (Stranger by the Lake). The basic premise of the film is:
In a picturesque lakeside cruising spot in southern France, men sunbathe nude and hunt for anonymous sexual encounters in the nearby forest. Handsome young romantic Franck develops relationships with two contrasting men: Henri, an older, portly man and Michel, a muscular and dangerous object of desire. Part beguiling love story, part noir murder mystery, Stranger by the Lake is a provocative and accomplished effort by one of France’s most overlooked auteurs.
(Oh, and Franck watches Michel drown one of his lovers…and does nothing about it.)
Despite the many shots of penises and graphic gay sex scenes, the film dragged and was starting to become painful by the end. Character motivations were a bit off and hard to take and the repetition of the visits to the lake were making me restless. It wasn’t as painful as Sarah Prefers to Run (which was also showing at the film festival and has become our movie joke of choice) but it still didn’t thrill me.
The film finished about 11 and we were still hungry. We went for a late dinner at a diner-style place called Zak’s then went back to the hostel for a terrible night’s sleep.