Monday, September 05, 2016

The Big Trip East, day 8, part 2: In which I post a great many pictures of the sunset at a fort

The second part of Andrew's plan for our trip involved us heading to Kingston. Andrew's parents and sister decided to meet us there, so we made arrangements to meet at a popular Ontario restaurant whose name has temporarily escaped me. The Mandarin?

Anyway, we drove past the Kingston Royal Military College, over the bridge and into town.

 Past Tragically Hip Way.
 And into the only part of town I think is pretty.

Poor Andrew couldn't wait to take me home to Kingston and show me how beautiful his home was. And aside from some of the neighborhoods near the lake, and the downtown part (which is full of history), I really don't like Kingston at all.

We killed some time at the mall and then headed to the restaurant. It's a bit like Giant Panda. A massive buffet, with Chinese, Japanese, American and tons of dessert.

It was a good choice, there was something for everyone.

And here's my fabulous fortune. Hah!

From there we headed through town again to Fort Henry. Andrew's been talking about the sunset ceremonies there since the beginning of time. I'm still glad that my first time experiencing this was with David and Elisabeth.

The fort is set up high on a hill, and you park on the grass, then walk quite a ways to the fort entrance. And then from there, you walk down into this area. They had bleachers set up on one side of the square. It had been raining since dinner time, but it dried up just as we arrived and we had the most spectacular evening sky for our stay.

All of us managed to arrive just in time for the ceremony to start. They begin with a sort of preshow welcome to pique your curiousity.

And then a break to let the stragglers arrive.

Alright, I won't blow through the entire performance, but the show opens with music. Here on the west coast we don't have many marching bands. These performers are university students who take this job for the summer. And although some of them have done this before, they learn the music and the marching routines just for this job.

When you know that and you watch the precision with which they march and turn, your mind is seriously *blown*.

 After a couple of opening numbers, they bring in the fort mascot. A goat named Dave.

Please be prepared for a few photos just because of how amazing the sky is.

Anyway, back to the marching. Every single person is in step. And sometimes they come within millimeters of each other - and don't crash. I'm not talented enough for a job like this.

Once they're done marching, there's a bit of a reenactment of a battle scene. Complete with guns and cannons and lots of booms.

 David plugged my ears for me so that I could still take pictures.

And then they played stuff on the walls of the fort. Sometimes it was words, sometimes it was just a background to what was going on with the people. Sometimes it was the actual battle scenes themselves. All of it with a narrator to explain what was going on.

 I can't even begin to explain how patriotic it made me feel. And in awe of the military and what they do here.

 Oh yes, because in addition to the history, there was also a memorial to current soldiers.

 I think the whole thing lasted about two hours.

And then, they ended with some evening activities on top of the wall. In addition to playing the typical Day is Done anthem, there were hymns and a prayer. A lowering of the flag.

 A last circle of marching and music.

 And then this delightful surprise.

I'm pretty sure this was a highlight of the trip for David. He jumped up and began exclaiming how much he loved it, how he wished Aydan had been here for it, and how he hoped it was still around for his children to come and see.

 Then we went to the gift store and met fake Dave the goat.

 And tried on bowler hats and weapons.