Day 650: Boatus Interruptus

Today’s tour destination was Ottawa, Canada’s capital and the second largest city in Ontario Province. It is a picturesque city located at the confluence of the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers. Laetitia arranged for her group to tour Parliament and other government buildings and to be in position to have a good view of the Musical Ride, a precision equestrian exhibition performed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, decked out in their traditional red uniforms. When the Ride was finished, they viewed the Rideau Canal, started in 1826 as a secure military supply conduit in the event of an invasion by the United States, but now traversed by pleasure boaters who have to disembark to utilize its hand-operated locks. After lunch, Laetitia arranged for a city tour for her group with a local tour guide. They would meet her when the guided tour was over at a restaurant in Chateau Laurier, where they were staying.

Walking back to the Chateau Laurier, Laetitia noticed a bus with Gongoozler Tours emblazoned on the side disgorging its passengers. Later, while walking along the canal waiting for her group to return, Laetitia encountered some of the Gongoozler tourists at an outdoor bar overlooking one of the locks. “Gongoozler” is a British slang term for people who like to watch canal activity. There are ample opportunities to do this in Britain, since most of the major rivers are connected with canals, but the tour owner gambled successfully that some aficionados would become sated with the local fare and welcome international gongoozling opportunities.

The canal was busy, and there were delays as the boats waited their turns to go through the lock. While Laetitia was talking to one of the gongoozlers, boat horns began honking as one boat failed to move up to keep its place in line. Suddenly, a young man in boxer shorts ascended to its bridge, and a young woman clad only in her underwear emerged from below and raced to untie the boat, slipping on a surface wet from splashing waves and getting a wet foot in the process. Laetitia guessed that the couple had become bored with waiting, gone below for some procreative recreation, and lost track of time until interrupted and jarred back into the present by the honking horns. The gongoozlers, who seemed to be of the No Sex Please, We’re British persuasion, were not amused. Laetitia turned the comments of one of them into the limerick of the day.

Said a gongoozler, “This may corrupt us
Or, at very least, it will disrupt us
This nearly-nude gal
On the Rideau Canal
Who practiced boatus interruptus.”