Going Down in History

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Welcome back to the ongoing tales of excitement from my life! It’s been a few weeks since my last post, and I know that I’m due, as usual. Sorry to keep you all waiting, but it’s been an exciting few weeks for us over here. I’ve actually been doing some travel for work, as well as having a nice long Easter weekend. Instead of going anywhere far away, Jody and I opted to stay in the area, and do touristy things in our own neck of the woods. The picture you see to your right shows you one such little event. This shot is from the famous Diefenbunker, , Canada’s cold war museum. I’ve been wanting to go there for quite some time, and Easter Friday was finally the time for it. We actually had a 2-for-1 coupon from the Ottawa entertainment book, which made it even more of a reason to head out. If you don’t know what the Diefenbunker is all about, head over to the website and read up on it. Or read on for a bit more from me.

Getting to the bunker is pretty easy. Just head west towards Scotiabank Place. After that, keep going west to Carp road. Take the Carp exit, and follow the Carp road until the Diefenbunker sign. All told, it only took us about 15 minutes to get there. Once there, it was a chilly day, so we huddled in the security gatehouse while waiting for the tour to commence. All told, there were about 16 people in our tour, which started right on time. We started outside, with a description of why the facility was built and when it would be used. Our guide was very knowledgeable and was a very good guide.

After the introduction, our guide told us to imagine that we were there at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, and that things didn’t turn out so well. That meant that we were slated to go underground, and stay there for an undetermiuned amount of time while the world tried to annihilate itself. From then on, our tour revolved around explaining the daily ins and outs of living in the bunker, from the entry procedures, to the making of moonshine secretly in the kitchen ;-). We got to see the officers quarters, the medical clinic, the dental clinic, mail room, computer room, mess halls, lounges, situation rooms, various minister’s offices, etc. etc.

It was all very fascinating. In fact, it was everything I had hoped it would be. It was really like getting to go behind the scenes into a secret world that you don’t get to see. Maybe not everyone would be as impressed as I was, but I can say that Jody liked it too, so that must mean that it has at least a bit of universal appeal. It has intrigue, politics, military stuff, history, etc. etc. Highly recommended! I’m hoping to go back to take the in-depth tour for bunker afficianados. In that tour, you get really down and dirty in all the back halls and rooms. I’m interested to see what other secrets the bunker holds. Yes, I could go on at length about the bunker, but for a change, I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Just go there!

If you’d like, you can check out some shots we took on our Flickr site. There was originally a pile of other shots, but as was quickly pointed out to us, photos are not permitted in the bunker, so they’ve been deleted (sorry Diefenbunker, it won’t happen again). At least you can see few shots of the outside and the blast tunnel.

Well, that was Friday, so what about the rest of the weekend you ask? Friday night, after the Bunker, a few friends came over for drinks and games. It was a very good time. A little too good a time. Last I remember, it was about 4:30am, and Rob and I had drank every last beer from the fridge, played some chess, and were watching Tombstone! Craziness.

Saturday, although it was a bit cold, Jody and I decided to take a little road trip to Smiths Falls and Merickville. We got a bit of a late start due to my dehydration, but still had plenty of time for the trip. The primary purpose of the this trip was to pay homage to the Hershey factory one last time before it is shut down for good. Word just came down that the execs have no intention of keeping the plant open. Progress they say. Manufacturing is heading off to sunny Mexico. I guess it’ll be easier to keep the chocolate liquid in the winter. It’s still quite a shame though. Smith Falls doesn’t have a whole lot of other industries, so the tertiary industries will be hurting too from the fall out. In spite of the sadness, we decided to pick up some tasty chocolate to bring back home with us anyway.

Once in Merrickville, with our 10 pounds of chocolate, we started noticing the signs saying to Boycott Hershey. Oops. We felt a little self concious, but the chocolate was in the car, so they wouldn’t know we had just dropped a bit of cash on the good stuff. We strolled around Merrickville enjoying the day, and I let Jody pop into as many stores as she wanted. What can I say, I’m a nice guy ;-). We had thought about eating out in Merrickville, but neither of us was really all that hungry yet. So we headed home first, then off for some delicous Chinese food at the Mandarin Court, a restaurant we were trying for the first time. Tasty!

Sunday was essentially a day of rest, puttering around, doing stuff at home, as well as doing some decent training by running 22km in the morning with my Sunday morning running friends. We followed the old 1/2 marathon route that day. It wasn’t great weather, but the company was good, and if was fun. Later in the day, Jody and I headed over to Tianne and Darren’s for Easter supper. Turkey on the barbecue and all the trimmings. Yum yum. Beats cooking ourselves. There were 8 of us in total (the Easter orphans as Tianne put it). Special thanks to that crew for cooking for us! We contributed a spinach dip, some Olive oil that I picked up in Merrickville, and a bit of white wine. There were plans of playing some board games, but sadly for most of them, they were working Monday, unlike Jody and I.

Monday was catch up on all the remaining house chores. Laundry and what not. In fact, I don’t even remember if we did anything else worth mentioning. Sometimes those are the best days though, aren’t they? It must have been relaxing though 😉 I hope everyone else’s weekend was as fun as ours. Take care out there, and be safe.

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