Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Winnipeg Weekend

A three-day holiday is either too long or too short. I think I tried to cram in too many things, but it was fun nonetheless.

I used to live in Winnipeg, and it was a bittersweet experience to realize that both the City and myself had changed and moved on. There were familiar sights alongside unfamiliar ones. And the memories kept surging back. I had my first proper apartment in Winnipeg, bought my first couch and bed. I led Brownies in Winnipeg and got a Master’s degree in Public Affairs.

Winnipeg was once a major transportation hub for Western Canada, and the tall, old buildings in the Exchange District bear testimony to its past with columns, ornaments and panels witnessing to past grandeur.
I was really looking forward to going to The Forks, Winnipeg’s market and crafts centre. I was hugely disappointed as it didn’t bear even the remotest resemblance to Granville Island. There was a large food court, some restaurants, and some stores selling trashy tourist junk. It’s a beautiful setting, but they’ve lowered their standards, and it’s barely worth visiting.
Winnipeg is home to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and I had a front row seat for a performance of Carmina Burana and a ballet set to Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony. I usually have a bird’s-eye view from the third balcony so it was great fun to be able to watch the musicians and chorus in the pit and see the dancers’ sweaty brows and heaving chests.

The Manitoba Theatre Centre was presenting Pride and Prejudice. It’s a well-loved story, and it was well presented with frequent, rapid scene changes. The ending was perhaps a little too saccharine sweet, but it was very enjoyable.
I had two excellent meals out. I thoroughly enjoyed eating Ethiopian food with my fingers at Massawa restaurant in Osborne Village. I had a huge spongy sourdough pancake topped with a variety of lentil and vegetable curries. You just pinch off a piece of pancake and scoop up some stew. Great fun. Saturday night I had a more elegant meal at the Fude wine bar – lots of choices of wine and vegetarian food, and I can recommend the Drunken Granny dessert – apples marinated in red wine and then baked in a deep-dish pie.

On my last day, I spent a happy hour at Cornelia Bean, sniffing and buying four different varieties of tea - a jasmine-scented oolong, a strong green tea, a spicy black tea, and a light lime and basil green tea.

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