Sunday, November 15, 2009

Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside

Some day, I'm going to make a photo essay of Ottawa's hidden ugly side. Homeless people smoking crack in front of Parliament. The canal in that muddy, smelly stage between drying up and freezing over. People lining up at the Salvation Army across from tourist trap restaurants in the market.

A lot of it would be done in a three block radius from my apartment. Hell, a lot of the pictures would be OF my apartment. The abandoned convenience store next door looks like the Blair Witch house, and of course, my front porch still has those delicious grill marks from last year's fire.

All cities try to hide their urban decay behind a picturesque and tourist-friendly front. But Ottawa does it so well it actually fools people. You have to actually live here to see beyond Parliament, beaver tails and well maintained waterfront bike paths.

My bike has been in the shop for the past week, so I've been walking to school. The stretch of Bronson from my apartment to Carleton has some of Centretown's worst urban decay. When I'm biking, I take a less depressing side street. Walking by these houses and the people who live in them twice a day is a whole different experience.

These houses are huge and bordering on historic. They're in a prime downtown location. And most of them are vacant or inhabited by a mix of students and drug addicts and crumbling to rot. It's fascinating.

And that's just the part that looks ugly on the outside. There's a whole world of office buildings and restaurants that look world class on the outside with who knows what kinds of backroom political and business deals going down on the inside.

Some day I'll make this photo essay. Right now, let's stick with breaking blogger's block. Sorry about the three week hiatus, everyone.

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