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What a strange title, well it is about things I have been watching lately on YouTube.

The first one is a silent series of walks in the centre of the Canadian Capital Ottawa and the on-going construction of the Light Train System in the city and its suburbs. Phase II will be completed by 2024 and it is well under way. Phase One called the O train, O being short of Ottawa, how original had a bad start with numerous failures and a serious lost of credibility with the public. The problems have been resolved it appears but it took 2 years to fix.

This system is ambitious, and means that tunnels, bridges, new roads and redesigning access in various neighbourhoods was complicated. Ottawa is built on a huge swamp and the soil is sandy/clay. Only Parliament Hill is actual solid rock.

Watching the construction I sort of loss my bearings despite having leaved on and off in Ottawa for 40 years. In one case a shopping mall was demolished to make way for a station and new roads. In another case an entire scenic road had to be moved several meters North and a several meter long tunnel dug for the train to pass. The LRT will connect the Airport with the rest of the transit system and will allow 80% of the population to walk to a station to board a train. So it is a great good in many ways. Ottawa had a decent transit system in the 1930 to 1960 when City Hall decided that cars should dominate the road way and got rid of the whole system, keeping only bus routes that were slow and inconvenient. This new system is built to reduce car traffic and facilitate movement within the city and suburb in a matter of minutes. Each station will have all manners of convenience attached to them attracting housing and condo living.

Since 1966 Montreal has a great Metro (subway) system running on tires instead of rail. Now this system is getting a major upgrade which will an integration of trains with the Metro system taking people from the far suburbs into the city centre. Montreal will also have the deepest station by the Université de Montréal at a depth of 300 feet below ground built in solid rock. The old train tunnel built 100 years ago under the Mount Royal which divides the City in two between the North and South is being rebuilt another feat of engineering. The main goal is to make it as easy as possible for all to use it and connect directly with the place they want to go to.

MONTREAL REM (green line) the other coloured lines are the current Metro lines.

You can follow all these developments on YouTube including the ones about the new Pont Champlain and the demolition of the old one next to it again a marvel of engineering. This bridge is the gateway to trade in the USA, 26 million motor vehicle pass on it and connect directly to the USA Border.

Will blogged a few weeks ago about short Iranian Films he found on YouTube. There is a whole series of them and they are quite beautiful, some are silent, some have sound and the language is Farsi with subtitles in English. Iran or Persia is a land of poetry and its culture is ancient. I often think of my time in Tehran at the Embassy replacing a colleague who had gone on leave. Iran is a surprising country and its people are very civilized. I wished I had to opportunity of being posted to Tehran but with the revolution in 1979 and then our closing and reopening of our Embassy a few years later and closing again in 2014, the opportunity never presented itself. The films made by Mohammad Reza Kheradmandan, born in Shiraz, a young film maker. Many of his films have won international awards and they are quite beautiful. It shows an Iran never presented by the Western Media. It is a more sensitive look at life in Iran, showing a great deal of humanity.