Saturday, July 05, 2008

adventures, part 2

I took a little break from the blog for the fourth of July. (two national holidays for two different countries, wow!) We celebrated ours by picking wild blackberries and having an enormous dinner at home with friends. Food? Italian handmade pasta with capers,onions, garlic,smoked salmon and parmesan cheese, a sweet and sour coleslaw, tomatoes, grapeleaves, olives, and avocado salad, homemade challah....and for dessert? Blackberry shortcake with creme fraiche. We suffered through this second holiday, let me tell you!

Now, back to the Winnipeg trip. There was a wee fire in the Fort Garry hotel while we were there, so we snapped a photo of the fire trucks. They come very quickly! (all was fine and we went back to our room in no time!)

There is an amazing amount of diversity in Winnipeg. In our short trip, we ate: Dim Sum, Korean food, Italian food, a fish fry, and a Greek Salad. Here's a snack: Ukranian apple pierogies with cinnamon sugar on top. I shot the photo including our bottle of Canadian prairie water so you could be sure it was still in Canada!

We took an enormous long walk (5 miles or so) and stopped by one of the jazz festival pavilions to listen for a few minutes.

We also saw some beautiful historic houses, built in the early 1900's. Many of them have amazing craftsman details, like built-in bookshelves or oak detailed ceiling beams. It is common to have a waiting room or an anteroom at the front of the house. This is so guests have a warm place inside to wait in winter time, and family members have a place to take off winter boots. This was just one we saw.

On Canada Day itself, we drove out into the country to a marsh field station for their annual fish fry. The drive was across prairie so it was very flat. To the right? We saw Canola's bright yellow flowers. To the left? More bright yellow Canola. The flax fields blossom blue, but their flowers hadn't happened yet. When we arrived at the marsh area, we were introduced to "cottage" country. Many Manitobans like to leave the city and spend weekends along the water at their cottages. We enjoyed the wildlife quite a bit but wondered why anyone would choose to vacation at a mosquito resort? (marsh land= mosquito heaven...)

We saw a pelican, a kingfisher, some very happy goslings and their Canada goose mom. We also saw a lot of toads. Look at those colors!

After the marsh adventure, we returned to town. We took no pictures of this next bit, but it was really the most interesting! At dinner time, we headed to the Forks, where there were enormous crowds, lots of ethnic food and music. We had Korean food and organic Manitoban whole wheat cinnamon buns. We heard music and watched Canadians of all stripes dancing,listening, celebrating...old people, babies, the whole gamut...women in hijab,African dress, Mennonites, Hutterites, punks with piercings...and lots of other kinds of Canadians.

Then we went over to the Gathering Circle, where native peoples have gathered for 4 or 5 thousand years. It was totally full of First Nation people. (Canadians call Indians "Aboriginal" or "First Nations" or by their tribes. Mixed folk of first nation/European ancestry are called"Metis") We watched first Nation veterans post the Union Jack, Maple Leaf, Manitoban and Cree flags. Then, they had dancing in full native regalia--everyone from little kids to old men and women. Different drumcircles took turns doing the singing and drumming.

There was an invocation in Ojibwe and a special honor dance for a teenage boy who will be representing first nation people at the Winnipeg folk festival in a few weeks. The entire ampitheater of people stood to honor him and at the end of the dance, there was a long receiving line to shake his hand. They wished him courage, bravery, and good will. It was a very moving ceremony. We felt so lucky to see it.

Then we walked by the river and wandered back to the hotel. It gets dark very late in Winnipeg, so fireworks didn't happen until 11 pm. We missed the fireworks but certainly heard them from our hotel, which was only a few blocks away. That's most of the Winnipeg adventure. I hear the professor might have more photos to share with me in a day or two.

I hope you're having a wonderful holiday weekend in the USA--and if you're not celebrating Independence Day here, I hope you're having a long restful summer weekend in any case!


Anonymous Deborah Robson said...

Thanks for the details! Sounds like a fine trip.

July 5, 2008 at 4:48 PM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

Beautiful! And a frog with no damage to your row counts!

July 5, 2008 at 8:14 PM  
Anonymous Diane said...

It sounds like you had a lovely time in Winnipeg. I love that you include so much food :-) it's what I always remember about holidays!

Happy Fourth weekend!

July 6, 2008 at 3:14 AM  
Blogger Mrs J said...

Your trip north sounds fantastic. Hope you had a good July 4th as well!

July 6, 2008 at 4:14 PM  
Blogger Angela said...

Oh - that sounds like fun!

Good luck with the decision making. I'm glad the Winnipegers showed you a good time for Canada Day!

July 6, 2008 at 6:20 PM  

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