Stoical in Ottawa
Boy, Canadians know the meaning of stoicism. Standing with the small multi-ethnic crowd outside the parliament building here in Ottowa - comprised mainly of the young and the old, the middle aged presumably at work - we witnessed the mounting expectation as the choppers circled and The Moment arrived. And then it was over. Barack Obama's arrival last a few seconds and was mainly blocked by ambulances parked unhelpfully between the president and the crowd.
He did manage to get round them and get a wave in, but he was probably wise to stay well back. Security consisted of a very nice Canadian policewoman asking people in the queue whether they had anything in their pockets. I think they looked in bags as well but there were no metal detectors, no dogs. And no close view of the president.
The biggest stir was caused by people trying to get close to the Canadian TV reporters who - I note with some envy - appear to be treated as real celebrities in their own right. The Canadian TV coverage is relentlessly, breathlessly, positive. But on Afghanistan there is a real difference of emphasis to put it mildly: Obama is reinforcing and Canada is preparing to pull out.
So the annoucements to thrill Canadian TV will be on environmental stuff and soothing commitments to free but fair trade. He will charm everyone and be back in Washington for dinner. And it seems even on the plane he has an ability to make friends.