Day Thirty-One

I woke up in Niagara Falls in time to take advantage of the hostel’s free breakfast, a first for me since most of the hostels I’ve stayed at so far have always ended their breakfast before I like to get up for the day or haven’t offered it at all. I sat with a nice girl from Germany and traded travelers’ stories before it was time for me to head to the bus station.

I took a GO Transit bus from Niagara Falls to Burlington, then a GO Transit train from Burlington to Toronto, before finally getting on the VIA Rail train from Toronto to Ottawa. On the bus, I met a nice woman from Niagara on her way into Toronto. We ket each other company on the ride, and when we got into Toronto I was even able to help her find the subway she needed to get to her final destination — look at me go.

I kept falling asleep on the ride to Ottawa. Let’s just say that being able to feel every single spring in a mattress doesn’t lend itself to the best night’s sleep and I should ave stayed in the cuddle puddle.

The hostel was a short bus ride from the Ottawa train station. I had been tracking the route and realized I had gotten onto a 96 bus different from the one I actually wanted, but the blue dot the represented me was close enough to the red dot that was the hostel by the time that I got to the Rideau Centre that I hopped off, feeling fairly confident I’d be able to find the hostel from there. I was right — the hostel was right across the street. The only thing I had trouble with was finding the actual door into the hostel. I was very thankful to a man who had been on the bus with me who was able to point me in the direction of the door.

I got myself all checked in and made my way up to my cell. That’s right — my cell. The hostel in Ottawa used to be a jail. I took advantage of this in what may have been the most sinister prank I will ever play in my life. I called my mom and told her I was in jail. I was actually so nervous that my voice broke while I was telling her, which worked out in my favor, since it made the lie all the more believable. I said that there had been something wrong with my study permit; I had more of a story prepared, but I realized that it was time to come clean and explain that while I was not, in fact, in jail… at least not in the way she thought. This may seem like an awful thing to have done, but anyone who knows the Story of the Lemonade That Wasn’t knows that this recompense has been lying in wait for about thirteen years now.

With my mom no longer panicking about me being jailed in a foreign country, I went over to the Rideau Centre to pick up a replacement backpack because my little packable one had seen better days.

When I got back to the hostel, there was a girl in my room, who immediately asked me if I’d like to go out with her for the night. Senem is from Belgium and we had a great time walking around Ottawa. We went through the ByWard Market area, a big outdoor market and shop area that is also home to lots of pubs and bars, including Ottawa’s oldest, the Lafayette.

Senem and I explored for a while, then we went into the Aulde Dubliner for dinner and drinks. Their St. James Gate burger is fabulous, as was the Somersby cider both of us were sipping on for the night. After dinner, we made our way back to the hostel. We did get a little turned around with all the construction that had closed sidewalks, but being the strong, independent women that we are, we found our way back pretty quickly.

A quick glance at the event posters at the hostel showed us that almost all the museums in Ottawa are going to be free tomorrow, so we added that to our tentative plan for the next day.

Now it’s time to get off to bed for my first night in jail, night one of what I sincerely hope are the only two nights I’ll ever spend in a cell! It’s hard to believe that I’ve now been on this trip for exactly one month. It’s hard to believe it’s almost over, especially now that the feeling that I just started is beginning to creep up on me!

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