A Travellerspoint blog

February 2008

Taking the VIA home and the Montreal basilica

This morning, we all woke up late, and I had a train to catch at 1 p.m. so I couldn't attend the breakfast across town at Cafe Nagua. Oh well.

I ate some ice cream leftover from last night, drank some of JP's really great coffee and snacked on some bread from yesterday.

Josh offered to drive me to the train station before he went to the breakfast, and I gladly accepted, still being extremely sick and tired and ready to totally die.

Yay for Josh!

I gave JP some bus tickets that I had left over and said goodbye to JP, Normand and his cute grey striped cat, Leo. He was meowing this morning, so I fed him and I think we shared a moment, there in the morning light shining in the kitchen window.

After getting a little turned around driving to the train station, I told Josh to visit Ottawa sometime. Someone must organize a large(ish) event in Ottawa like Laurence did in Quebec methinks.

My train left on time, arrived in Montreal on time, so I had about an hour to walk around the city for a bit. It was not a nice day, rainy and grey, so I walked down the street slowly, not feeling too great, and then I heard some really pretty music. Not really knowing if it was coming from inside my head or not, I followed the sounds to the place where I thought the music was coming from. It turned out to be coming from the Basilica of Montreal. It seems that everytime I am bored in a strange city, I am always lured to a local religious venue by some sort of event or another, strange. This time, I was just in time for an afternoon Sunday mass.

The basilica was as expected, very beautiful, but the priest was speaking in French so I didn't really understand what he was saying. I could only stay for about a half hour, so I sat at the back with all my personal effects around me. I looked like a homeless person. The night before, my jacket and sweater had gotten knocked onto the disgusting alcohol drenched floor of Sacrilege, and had dried a crusty brownish grey colour overnight. Nice. I had to wear the sweater and coat all the way home. Does it get any better than that? I guess not. God loves me whether I have bar-juice on my sweater or not, I guess.

All in all, my trip to Quebec was a success. I can honestly say that I'm completely exhausted, quite often the end result I strive for when traveling on my own, or with like-minded people. So I give me an A+ for that.

Coming down with a cold, and possibly infecting other people that care about me, not so much. I guess I get an C+ for that one.

Average that mark out, and what do you get? Hmm... not so good at math... Maybe a B?

Trip to Quebec = success, but not resounding. Amen.

Tune in for my next adventure, touristing around AnimeCon in Toronto March 15-16, see you then.

Louise

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Art gallery time

JP and Normand made Josh and I a nice breakfast of eggs, fresh bread and ham. Everyone decided to come to the art gallery after all. It was so cold outside, they all wanted to stay inside.

We went to the Musee des Beaux Arts du Quebec way later than I expected to, but that was OK. I'd rather wait a few minutes to go with some friends than go by myself anyway. The gallery was smaller than I expected, so it didn't take all day to explore every room anyway.

It was nice, there was a lot of art on the theme of Quebec's history because of the 400th anniversary of the city, and also, I assume, because of Carnaval. There was also a special Picasso exhibit which was totally packed, I could hardly believe this small room in the corner of the gallery was so popular, but there it was. Works from the artist's Mediterranean era were shown. Mostly vague drawings of nude women and sea urchins, enthralling. Picasso was definitely one big weirdo.

Still sick and sniffling, I was having trouble staying awake and upright during the entire museum visit, I was kind of relieved when I found out our trip to the art gallery was over.

Upon leaving the museum, We formulated a grand plan to cook some soup, buy some sushi, caribou and ice cream, and have a feast. That's pretty much what we did. Back at JP and Normand's apartment, JP cooked the soup (I helped chop) while Normand and Josh chose the music, which Josh had actually brought. A whole external hard drive full.

The soup was pretty good, it felt good to have it in between sniffling and sneezing. Even though we hadn't been outside very long today, hot soup is always welcome on such cold days, especially for a person as sick as me. (Are you empathizing with my horrendous illness yet?)

After eating our sushi, listening to music and making fun of Josh for his Smiths collection, ("I bet you like the Smiths. I know all about you!") it was time to head over to Nelligan's, the CS meeting point for the evening.

It was only about a 10 minute walk, but it was still absolutely freezing. Never again will I go to Quebec City in the middle of winter like this. I say that now... but who knows where I'll be next February, most likely sticking my foot in my mouth, again.

Nelligan's was fun. I met up with Isaac, who I had met only for the first time yesterday, and we totally hit it off. Yeah, Louise and a gay guy, a compatible combination as usual, who knew?

Laurence was there. She had organized the entire weekend, as well as the "Boston invasion" in Montreal last fall that I attended. She's totally awesome and apparently moving to Holland soon to do an internship at the International Criminal Court.

Eli, who I had met twice before, once in Boston and once in Montreal, was there, it was nice seeing him again for sure. He's always up for fun and is a total social butterfly.

Mike was also there, who I had met in Boston in January. He's the guy who went on the harbour walk audio tour with me, if you remember.

So, all in all, a really good reunion of sorts. But mostly, I just hung out with JP, Normand, Josh and their friends.

Nelligan's was getting way too packed, so I was totally ready to leave, when Normand's friend Rene asked if we wanted to go to a bar down the street with better music, cheaper beer and more chairs. Yep. You bet. There's nothing worse than a packed bar full of hippies. I sprang off my seat and put on my coat ready to go. JP quickly wrote his address on my hand, in case we didn't see each other again, and I was off.

At the second bar, Sacrilege, we quickly found a big table near the window and I met a bunch of Rene's friends. One of whom had just come back from two months in Australia and another who is from the same town in PEI that my friend Amanda is from. Sadly, I can't remember any of their names.

Australia tripper/maple syrup farmer guy kept buying beer for us, so before I knew it, I was ready to go home. Just as I was contemplating the folly of leaving in the middle of the night, drunk, in a strange city, JP, Normand and Josh came in the door and sat with us. That was good, because I didn't have a very good idea of where exactly I was situated at the moment.

Mostly, all these people speak French all the time, so participating in this conversation at Sacrilege really tested the minimal French knowledge that I have.

However, true to Rene's word, the music was a lot better, and mostly I drifted in and out of the conversation while singing cheesy indie songs and listening to obscure '90s music.

So that was a good time. We stayed till last call, and then went back to JP's, ate the leftover soup and slept on his nice, comfy, black leather couch again.

Feast with Josh, Normand, JP

Feast with Josh, Normand, JP


Me vs. wine

Me vs. wine


Wooden toy thing

Wooden toy thing


Josh

Josh


Wooden toy thing2

Wooden toy thing2


Wooden toy thing 3

Wooden toy thing 3


Felix, Isaac, Me

Felix, Isaac, Me


Josh, Felix

Josh, Felix


Felix, Isaac

Felix, Isaac

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Boredom and l'Agitee

I'm still sick in Quebec and I slept until about 11 a.m. My mom and dad took the train home at about 7 a.m. and I had to check out at about noon.

I was completely stumped on what to do today, since I pretty much saw and did everything there is to do on the touristic front in the city. So, I googled around and found out that there is an "Observoutoire", a tall building that you can visit and see the whole area.

Feeling pretty crappy, I walked over there, slowly but surely, and I went up to the top of the building for $5. It was nice, but I just wanted somewhere to get out of the cold until I had to go to the club to meet all the Couchsurfing Snow Ball participants!

While at the Observatoire, I noticed some pamphlets about free tours at the parliament buildings. So, I went over there and took what was about a half hour tour with two Americans who thought Quebec City was the capital of Canada. Kinda boring.

Then, I went back to the Observatoire and watched the sun go down from the very top of the city. Aw, what a nice end to my day, and a nice end to my trip.

The building closed at 5 p.m. so I had to get out of there, collect my bags from the porter at the hotel and get on over to l'Agitee by 8:30. I had lots of time, so I went to Dorchester St. and found a restaurant with an empty spot (not an easy feat apparently on a Friday night, apparently). I stopped at one Vietnamese restaurant, was turned away, and then was seated at the very back of another restaurant that was down the street.

I enjoyed a meal of chicken and seafood at Fleur de l'Orient with some sort of pineapple donut smothered in sauce for dessert. It was really good. I saved about half of it, because I was stuffed already.

Then, it was time to go to meet JP and the other Ottawa people at l'Agitee, just down the street, which is what I did. I had fun, but was still too sick to dance and stuff with everyone else. JP showed up right on time, but the Ottawa people were a little late, however, they were still excited to be there and it was fun times all around.

Panorama

Panorama


Panorama2

Panorama2


Panorama3

Panorama3


Panorama4

Panorama4


Panorama5

Panorama5


Panorama6

Panorama6


Panorama7

Panorama7


Panorama8

Panorama8


Panorama9

Panorama9


Panorama10

Panorama10


Panorama11

Panorama11


Panorama12

Panorama12


Legislature

Legislature


Sunset

Sunset

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Valentine's Day = sickness

So this morning I woke up incredibly sick with a cold. My parents had planned on going to Mont Morency, Ste. Anne de Beaupre basilica and the Ice Hotel for weeks now, and there wasn't much else to do in the city, so we rented a car and drove out to the countryside.

Our first stop was Mont Morency, which had a nice waterfall, and was really pretty, but probably nicer in the summer. There were even some people climbing on the ice wall that had formed beside the falls. Crazy.

Next, we went to the basilica, which was also amazing. It's just like, this gigantic church in the middle of nowhere. When you go in, it is reminiscent of Rome! I wondered who on earth paid for this church to be built in such a random location, and I'm thinking it was probably the families of people who were "cured" of debilitating injuries. (Their useless crutches are on display at the back of the church)

Then we drove up to Mont Ste. Anne, and I fell asleep in the back of the car. Got out once, to look at the tree and snow covered Laurentians, then went back to sleep, only to wake up to find my mom and dad driving back and forth along the highway trying to find some sort of canyon. Apparently, it's closed for the winter and the snowplows just plow the entrance in, so much so, that you can't even see the entrance sign anymore.

Next was the Ice Hotel, which costed a whopping $15 just to go inside and look around, don't worry about the cost of freezing your butt off for a night in one of the rooms. I tried to be happy and feel better by going down the slide and sitting on various pieces of furniture made out of ice, but it didn't really work.

We came back to Quebec and I felt like such ridiculous crap that I ordered some soup from the grocery store next door and went straight up to my room to bed while my parents went out for dinner.

Basilica

Basilica

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Living in the lap of luxury

Well, my mom is now a spa addict, so I bought her a gift certificate for a Russia spa in Quebec City for Christmas. It is called Izba. I guess mom wanted me to come and experience the spa with her, so we split the money and went all out for an "Izba Special" for me and an "anti-aging facial" for my mom.

I asked the lady at the counter exactly what the Izba special entailed, but all I could catch was that it involved something about leaves and honey and a 60 minute massage. Sounded good to me, hook me up!

The lady, who will soon put me through 30 minutes of agony and 60 minutes of extreme bliss meets me in the lounge area, where I am sipping orangeade (that I'm pretty sure contains extreme diuretics).

She takes me into the basement, where there is a jacuzzi, and a cold bath. First, she rubs my entire (naked) body down with a really intense body scrub while laying on the cedar planks in a hot hot hot sauna. I wash it off, and then I am supposed to go into the warm water for one minute, and then the cool water for 30 seconds, FIVE TIMES.

"OK, no," I think.

I only make it about three times, and then she comes back and has me lay back down in the sauna. Just as it is about to feel extremely nice, out of the blue, she starts smacking me with what can only be described as BUSHES OF SEAWEED. OK, whatever, this is fine, I think. I have seen like, Swedish massages before and it's pretty much the same thing (from what I've seen on TV, haha). Anyway, her next move is even more diabolical. She rubs my whole body with warm honey and just when I am feeling perfectly relaxed, everywhere, she POURS COLD WATER ALL OVER. Imagine this, in a sauna. Just imagine how awful that feels.

Anyway, after that is finally over, I dry off and then she massages me for an hour, and it makes up for it. Or so I think. Little do I know, that later on that night, I will come down with a stuffy nosed cold. Arg...

After my mom finishes her facial, dad meets us and we go to the Museum of Civilization. Right now, they have a cool exhibit on dragons and also, a permanent exhibit on the history of Quebec. It was pretty cool, I especially liked the "curiosity tables" where it shows regular animals that were preserved, then made to look like "mini dragons" and sold to rich people in the early 20th century. Awesome.

We got kicked out at about 5 p.m. and so we had to go to dinner and hang out there until our table was ready. This dinner was also on me, because I had bought my dad a gift certificate at Laurie Raphael for Christmas. It's arguably one of the best contemporary venues in the city. I'm not going to go into details, but dinner involved a lot of "tartar" and "beet foam". Needless to say, delicious. I'm not going to go into all the many ways my dad proceeded to embarrass me in front of a whole bunch of pretentious foodies, but it was countless. I will be buying dad a gift certificate at The Keg next year, I think.

I had started to feel like utter and total crap somewhere in the middle of our museum visit, so we went back to the hotel right after dinner, and I tried (unsuccessfully) to get a good night's sleep.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Walking, freezing and BONHOMME!

Today was a day for walking. We went on two walking tours, one in Basse-Ville, and another one in Haute-Ville. They were all really good ones in the Frommer's Montreal and Quebec guidebook. We walked over here, read some stuff about history and old buildings, then walked over there, to the old port and had a coffee and cake at a small bistro called Cafe de Saint-Malo on rue St. Paul.

It was so far, the only palatable coffee I have had in this god-forsaken city. Everywhere I go, what they call "cafe" tastes like charcoal. Honestly, charcoal and dirty socks. This time, it was almost as good as you know, McDonald's or something.

Then we went up the "funiculaire" (a little glass elevator thingy) to haute-ville and walked around, looked at more old buildings and climbed up to the citadelle. Awesome. After we had thoroughly frozen our legs and faces, we went back to the hotel, had some pizza, ravioli and more caribou and then thawed out in the sauna. I don't know what I would've done without it! (The sauna, not the caribou)

By this time, it was 5:30 p.m. and I could not contain my excitement at being THIS CLOSE to actually meeting Bonhomme, that eternally smiling character I had only briefly glimpsed in my grade 3 "Let's Learn French" text book at age nine and decided that if only one day, JUST FOR ONE DAY, I could go to Quebec City and play in the snow at Carnaval with Bonhomme, my life would be complete. Finally, my childhood dream would come true. Little did I know that it would require me to lose all feeling in my extremities before this dream was to be realized.

OK so I went to the skating rink and SKATED WITH BONHOMME. It was everything I hoped it to be, and more. I gave him a big hug and he said, "BIENVENUE A CARNAVAL" in that sexy, robotic, snowman voice.

And then I skated away and went out for crepes, my lifelong dream finally fulfilled.

Goodnight!

Chateau Frontenac

Chateau Frontenac


Street 2

Street 2


Really old mansion

Really old mansion


Mural

Mural


Dufferin Terrace

Dufferin Terrace


BONHOMME

BONHOMME


Mom and dad skating

Mom and dad skating


Mom and dad pretending to skate

Mom and dad pretending to skate


Mom and dad skating2

Mom and dad skating2


Me vs. crepe

Me vs. crepe

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Finding my wallet

This morning, we ate breakfast in our room. Fresh baguette and brie. I went out to get it and on my way back, I called the bus station and they actually had my wallet! So pretty much immediately after finishing breakfast, I ran out the door after my dad quickly told me to go to a pizza place at "Place Royal" by noon, so that we could meet up.

"OK dad," I said, and then pretty much ran out the door, on my way to the lost and found office, which ended up being way out in the random suburbs of Quebec.

I got on the bus and the driver told me he would let me know where I had to transfer. Technically, he did, but I didn't hear him, since I don't really speak French that well. So I went about 15 minutes out of my way, and 15 minutes back to where I actually had to change buses.

I met a little old lady who barely spoke English, waiting for the same bus. She had also lost something on the bus, that she was going to retrieve too. So, we took the crazy slow bus to the office, and when I got off the bus, I ran and got my wallet, only to find out that $200 was missing. UGH!

Anyway, I was just glad to have all my cards and stuff back.

I was late to meet my mom and dad at the pizza place so I RAN to Place Royal and found the pizzeria after asking like, 10 people where on earth Place Royal is. (It is actually at the very BOTTOM of the giant HILL that is Quebec City).

I get there at 12:45 p.m. and my parents were not there. I thought this was strange, because you'd think that your own flesh and blood would wait at least an hour before leaving, while you are in a strange city in another province, where the majority of the people speak a different language.

Anyway, the nice lady at the pizzeria gave me the phone and yellow pages and I proceeded to call the hotel, just in case they had left the pizza place and went back. Nope. The robbers had left me with exactly $1.05, which is not even enough for a ride up the elevator to Upper-town.

I decided it would be better just to go to the bank and get my debit and credit cards to work again. So I called the bank, figured out where to go, and I was off.

I walked all the way up the stairs (there are a lot). Then I went all the way up Grand Allee, through the blistering cold and blustery wind. I trudged up the steep incline, and then it appeared, like a shining oasis, a mirage in the desert, the BANK OF MONTREAL!

Finally, I would have access to my chequing account and I could spend money on anything I wanted! My first purchase, ended up being poutine. Which was degoutant. The lady at the bank recommended going to Chez Ashton "the best poutine in town". Yeah right, the cheese wasn't melted and the gravy tasted like crapola. Word to the wise, don't ask people who work at BANKS for cool places to eat lunch.

I went back to the hotel to see if my parents were there. No deal, but they left a note saying to meet back at the room at 5 p.m. Fine, whatever, thanks mom and dad for ditching me.

So I went out shopping. My second purchase on my reactivated debit card ended up being a new freaking BAG. One that would actually hold my paraphernalia, rather than spew it out onto the floor of the public bus. *sigh* I got a nice orange travel shoulder bag with clips AND a zipper. Also, I bought some stuff for Rena, who was nice enough to look after my cats while I went away.

I got back to the hotel around 4:30 and my parents were there, getting sloshed on the Caribou (red wine with maple syrup)...AGAIN...

My dad explained exactly why he ditched me. Apparently, he didn't believe that I could memorize an address after looking at it only one time. So they went to the "Palace Royal" which is where he TOLD me to go, not the address which he pointed to on the sheet of paper. There's mercury again for you, huh Dave?

After making my parents feel like total crap,

"Hey, I know what's cool, telling Louise to go to a specific address and then going to a different one, leaving her cold and alone in a strange city!"

Next, we went out skating on the empty rink. It was so pretty with the lights and the crazy French person dance music on the sound system. I went around spinning and trying to make my feet work, which didn't really happen.

Then, it was time for dinner, so we went out to an Italian place, which was recommended by my mom's friend Jennifer. It was pretty good, and we had this coupon for free Limoncello after dessert. Me and my mom were pretty hammered, so we went to the sauna and then went to bed.

The wall

The wall


Street in Quebec

Street in Quebec


Dad at Portofino's

Dad at Portofino's


Me and mom at Portofino's

Me and mom at Portofino's


Me and mom at Portofino's

Me and mom at Portofino's


Near bus station

Near bus station


Me vs. poutine

Me vs. poutine


Empty wallet...

Empty wallet...


Full wallet...

Full wallet...

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Losing my wallet

We stayed at a pretty crappy B&B last night, which had a very poor heating system, and holes in the windows... I slept on an air bed, which would've been OK, if only it wasn't freezing and I didn't periodically wake up shivering in the dark.

After a very nice breakfast and in the morning, we tried to make all kinds of reservations for things. The spa day, a fancy dinner at Laurie-Raphael and a rental car for an out trip to the mountains on Thursday.

After doing all that, we got our stuff together in order to traipse across town to the Manoir Victoria, a very nice place where we will be staying for the rest of the week. (We couldn't find a place for Saturday night, other than this one auberge in Lower Town).

I still had to pay for the room, so I go into my messenger bag to look for my wallet. I reach my hand in, swish it around, and when I pulled my hand out, my wallet wasn't there! I love that wallet! There's $200 in there! My credit and debit cards are in there! Ahhhhhhhhh... I don't know where it could've gone! Completely frustrated and flabberghasted, I turned the whole room upsidedown looking for it. To no avail...

Immediately, I call the credit card company and the bank, and then cancel all the cards I can think of. I think that maybe I dropped it on the bus last night, or else someone actually came into my room, while I was in the bathroom, which is located down the hall. So then, I automatically blame myself for being so irresponsible.

  • sigh*

Anyway, I must get on with the trip, so I try and forget everything, which is very difficult. I can't imagine someone would just go rifling through my bag while I'm taking a crap. We catch the next bus to Vieux-Quebec, where our second hotel is.

It's absolutely beautiful. It's a very nice Christmas present from Expedia, my ultimate employer. The location is awesome, and there's a really nice sauna in the basement, so I can warm up after a long day of freezing with Bonhomme.

We went down to the canoe races at the marina. We stand around for an hour, only to see a few guys in metal "canoes" go paddling through the ice-blocked harbour. It's kind of boring, especially since we can only see each heat for about four seconds... So we go back up the hill for lunch, which was pretty good. At Bizou, $10 got us soup, pork parmesan???, pasta, and dessert.

After this, our room was ready, so we went and unpacked our stuff, put on some warmer clothes and headed out into the CRAZY blizzard, destination: the Plains of Abraham!

There are all kinds of beautiful snow sculptures there, but we couldn't really read the artists' statements, because they were exclusively in French. *sad*

The snow was incredibly soft and deep, it was just like walking through sand. Your feet constantly slip and slide beneath you, and there is a layer of ice underneath about a foot of snow.

There was also a huge ice castle. When you went inside, there was some basic information about Samuel de Champlain and the 400th anniversary of Quebec. There were also some really nice ice sculptures of musical instruments and the ubiquitous image of Bonhomme.

We noticed that the line for the "Tyrolienne" was short. It's a zip line which spanned the entire lenth of the fairgrounds, so I strapped on a harness and flew through the air from the top of a platform, and on the other side, crashed into a big blue crash mat on another platform. That was fun. Then, me and my mom went down the ice slide and looked at some more snow sculptures, (there seemed to be no end).

Personally, I think the ice sculptures at Ottawa's Winterlude are much better than the snow sculptures at Carnaval. Especially since you can appreciate them in any language. But, it could be because the snow sculptures had about 50 cm of snow accumulated on them, obscuring the details.

My mom was cold, so we went back to our hotel early, warmed up for a bit in the sauna and then went to bed.

Tomorrow, we will probably go museum hopping, or some such thing.

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Taking the VIA

Now, I will take the Via Rail to Quebec for a week of fun with my parents. We are FINALLY going to Carnaval. It's especially special because it is the city's 400th anniversary.

Before I left for Quebec, Dave warned me that some planet like Mercury was going to be hanging out inside some constellation like Libra, so there will be a lot of miscommunication until the planet moves somewhere else, which will happen at just about the time that I get back.

The first thing I realized, when I got onto the train, was that I forgot the name and address of my B&B. Great. Thank you fantastic, expansive universe and planetary system. Previously, my mom had told me she would meet me at the station in Quebec, but I had told her:

"Don't worry abou me mom, I'm a big girl and can take care of myself."

Yeah, right. I can take care of myself, only when Mercury is behaving itself, apparently.

So, the nice man who changed the date of my ticket, also gave me an hour of complimentary wireless internet, so I could use it on the train. Little did he know, that my laptop doesn't understand the internet. I can't find any wireless signals no matter where I am, so I just banked on the small glimmer of hope that my parents will be waiting for me at the station in Quebec.

I board the train and sit next to a girl named Natalie who is a student at Ottawa U and goes home every other weekend to Montreal (lucky girl). She has a Mac and her computer detects the internet signal instantly, *eyeroll* So she offers to let me punch in my code, and lo and behold, the code the "nice" man gave me, is expired! Grrr!

Pulling into Montreal, all these memories of last fall came flooding back to me. I am reminded of the two dream-like times when I went to Montreal and had a wonderful time with Alana and Chris. Those days are decidedly over, so the memories are bittersweet.

I remembered "finding" a collapseable bike on Rene Levesque Blvd., riding it around town until it was time to meet Alana, then devouring an entire fake-salmon vegan wrap with her.

I remembered meeting Chris and partying all weekend with the Bostonian couchsurfers in a random apartment in some nameless suburb.

I remembered going to the market with Denis and concocting an improvisational pasta lunch on the patio, for one of the "last nice days of the summer".

I remembered stumbling upon an awesome klezmer band on some yuppy-type street and then eating some of Chris' (most likely frozen) shark at a Mauritian restaurant.

I remembered driving back to Montreal later, in Chris' ugly Corolla to see Tori Amos with Alana.

I remembered climbing up to the top of Mont Royal to watch the sunrise, only to find that we were on the wrong side of the mountain.

I remembered going to a jazz improv session with Vincent, insanely sleep deprived and pounding away at the keys of a grand piano that had one of its legs replaced with a 2x4.

I remembered meeting a girl I had met at a Halloween party in Ottawa at the housewarming party Alana took us to the next night.

I remembered singing Girl Guide campfire songs with Alana and climbing up on the roof of her boyfriend's house in a skirt, and totally bruising and scratching up my leg on the crumbling rocks strategically placed near the ladder.

I remembered dancing to the White Stripes...

I remembered the art museum and the giant tam tam drum circle.

All these things came flooding back to me as we pulled up to the Montreal station. They're all great memories and I don't know when I'll have more great times like that again. Hopefully, this week.

On the other hand, already, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do when I get to my destination, but it doesn't really worry me as much as it seems to, dear reader. There is always a way to figure things out. I guess I'm a believer in the resilience of humanity, the kindness of strangers and the wireless connection at Starbucks.

Luckily, my mom and dad met me at the station. Perhaps not so luckily, they wanted to go straight to the free Calgary Stampede barbecue and stay for the night parade. So I had to lug all my crap around all night. We took a cab, waited in a monstrous lineup for a hamburger and baked beans, listened to some god-awful country music covers by an Albertan band and waited way too long for the parade to start. It began at around 8 p.m., but it was advertised to start at 7 p.m.

The parade was... interesting. Busloads of highschool kids and dance school students jumping around to French techno music dressed up like bunnies, or clowns and just generally overreacting to the festive atmosphere.

Oh yeah, and did I mention my dad wore a crazy-ugly cowboy hat, that he got for free that morning at the free Calgary Stampede pancake breakfast?....All night...

After the parade, we wandered around looking for a better way home than taking another $18 cab to our B&B. My dad estimated the walk home would be "about 30 minutes" and luckily, we found a bus stop just before those 30 minutes were up, or else we probably would've been walking another two or so hours. Crazy crazy.

Finally, we found the place, after my mom and dad finally admitted to me that they weren't sure what the exact address of the auberge was. *sigh* Now, it's 11:40 p.m. and I am about to relax with a hot coffee and kahlua. Oh yeah, and did I mention there is NO HEAT in our room? Yeah, figure that one out. Goodnight.

P.S. there will be no photos until I get back, I forgot my USB *pout*

Me and Natalie

Me and Natalie


Crowd

Crowd


Me vs. burger

Me vs. burger


Parade

Parade


Parade 2

Parade 2


Parade 3

Parade 3


Parade 5

Parade 5


Parade 6

Parade 6


Parade 7

Parade 7


Line for burgers

Line for burgers


Crowd 2

Crowd 2


Line 2

Line 2


Dad and stupid hat

Dad and stupid hat

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Glasses

adaf

motocyclette

motocyclette


motocyclette

motocyclette


Me

Me


Me and office

Me and office


Me and office 2

Me and office 2


Me and champagne

Me and champagne


Me and champagne

Me and champagne


Me and Rachel

Me and Rachel


Me and Rachel 2

Me and Rachel 2


Me and Rachel 3

Me and Rachel 3


Rachel and Darcy

Rachel and Darcy


screenshot

screenshot


Cube

Cube


Cube2

Cube2


CEN

CEN


CEN2

CEN2


???

???


???2

???2


???3

???3


CK

CK


CK2

CK2


CK3

CK3


Me vs. beer

Me vs. beer

Posted by baixing 17:00 Archived in Canada Comments (0)