My Vacation on Dorval Island
I took off Thursday and Friday last week as vacation days, in spite of the
increasing month end deadline pressure for the Monopoly Star Wars project.
My trip to Dorval Island went pretty well. I arrived at 11:30 on Thusday
morning, helped with the shopping (unfortunately no caffeine free NON-diet
Pepsi at the Dorval Maxi supermarket) and then
spent most of the day reading The
Towers of The Sunset by L.E. Modesitt, one of the Recluce fantasy
series. I finished off the 536 page tome in the evening.
Friday was museums day - a trip on the buses and Metro (neat subway equipment
- trains with pneumatic wheels, tickets with magnetic stripes, but Ottawa has
better seat cushions) to downtown Montreal.
We arrived too early (the museum opens at 11) and walked around, visiting the
McGill university campus (saw the stone walls on the library that my
great-grandfather had built) and then headed back along Sherbrook.
After that, we headed back to the Musee des Beaux-Arts or
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts,
which had an Asterix exhibit.
It had just opened on Wednesday with one of the artists
signing autographs. If you have seen the comic books, you'd recognize the
artwork. Most of it was the ink drawings used in the series of books,
interspersed with relevant exhibits from other museums - like a real Gaulish
sickle of the appropriate date, and a modern sickle for comparison. Same sort
of thing for Roman army helmets (people had small heads back then) and lots of
other items. They also had a real menhir in the lobby.
The more fun, cheaper and less crowded museum was the Designing the
Disney Theme Parks - The Architecture of Reassurance exhibit at the CCA
(Canadian Center for Architecture) a few blocks away. This was a surprisingly
large exhibit, with one room for each of the worlds and several other rooms
for other topics and a theater (nice place to sit and cool down). I looked at
the Tomorrow World in detail and skimmed through the rest (there was just too
much stuff, wish I had stronger feet, hips, backbone and everywhere else that
aches). There were lots of plans for various unbuilt rides that
were part of the many proposals made to investors. So, you'd see a drawing
of a possible Ford pavilion and then find out about the General Electric
one that actually got built.
There were also pieces of some of the rides, like the first
animatronic show (a vaudville singer controlled by a mechanical multi-disk
drive (giant metal disks with bumpy edges)). Among all the items
were unexpected things, like a model train rail car that Disney had
built himself (important because the theme parks grew out of Disney's
1/3 scale rideable model railroad that he made in his back yard).
I liked the story board for the ride with the elevator that drops (Joe and
other recent guests might have tried it). There's a whole lot of background
preparation, like the lobby that the lineup goes through being used to set the
mood. I liked the merchandising angle - after the elevator gets to the top,
drop it a foot, take a snapshot, then continue on. Later the guests exit
through the gift shop, where they can buy a card containing the snapshot,
which also plays the Twilight Zone theme. Anyway, lots of drawings, real
objects and historic video displays in a building that looks like a prison
(lots of vertical metal bars and stainless steel bolts) with students lounging
around on the lawn.
We got back in time to do some more shopping, this time at the Provigo
supermarket. They had the right stuff! I grabbed a couple of bottles of that
rare Pepsi to go along with Timothy Zahn's science fiction book
Conqueror's Pride. That got finished pretty quickly. Because of
excessive guest snoring, I spent the night on the front porch, on the swinging
sofa, watching the moon rise and move over the waves.
On Saturday, some more guests arrived. My mom had noticed that the Provigo is
closed on Sunday, so I did a short excursion to the Provigo and loaded up the
car with 10 bottles. I got back in time to go over on the ferry with the new
guests. The rest of the time was more mundane; I had run out of books so I
started tackling my aunt's chore list. It wasn't too bad, just cleaning bugs
out of all the lamp fixtures and rebuilding the stone stairs to the beach (yet
more back ache from moving really big stones). The day wound up with a
headache and an over-long Trivial Pursuit game.
Sunday was a winding down and packing up day. I got one of the guests to help
with finishing the stone steps, and ended up with some that look quite nice.
I found an old 25 cent paperback copy of P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves
around lunch time and half finished it by departure time. The trip home was
uneventful, taking 191km in 2:15.
Copyright © 1997 by Alexander G. M. Smith.