a cafe

Actually, this cafe's in Montreal. The car on the left's just turned onto the drive that parallels the riverfront. I think. But this block of buildings is quite typical of what Quebec City had to offer as well, and if it weren't for all the dining umbrellas I'd swear that it was from Quebec City.

Me, I wasn't that impressed with Quebec City. It could be that the station's at the rear of the Old City there, and that the Old City's waaaaay up there, and we were down here with our blisters. We sat and watched a petanche (spelling?) (aka boules) game calmly but intensely played by five French-speaking men. When one came up to us to ask if we enjoyed the game, I was almost afraid to speak. I certainly wasn't going to try out my French, but here in Q.C. I knew the Powers That Be were particularly offended by English. A few years ago people had gone around ripping "Merry Christmas" signs off stores just because they weren't in French. But these men were friendly and let us continue watching, and eventually we wandered off in search of souvenirs. All we could find were bars and cafes.

We heaved ourselves up a few levels of city, seeing mirror images in other tourists. We grunted understandingly at each other as we passed in our varying states of oxygen deprivation. But at the base of the Upper City, all we could see were "A Louer" signs: "For rent." There were no open shops of any kind.

And all the railroad station could give us were postcards and a muffin. I couldn't understand what those black things were in the one kind of muffin they had. Through an uneasy bilingual conversation, I decided they weren't raisins or chocolate chips. Seeds? "They are... things... you eat," the waitress said helplessly in English. I chose the apple muffin instead. The waitress packed it in a bag, smashing a bottle of water on top of it.

Next time I bring a dictionary.

Metro pass

The Metro's the way to go in Montreal. Cheap, clean and convenient.

So we returned to Montreal, wiser for our little daytrip, but rested enough to struggle to le Metro and a pizza place (chicken pizza with pesto sauce and a lovely salad) and to heave ourselves one final time up to our aerie at L'Hotel de Paris.

Next time: Chinatown, Little Italy, the Olympic Park, and was it Rue St.-Lawrence that the people from the Bistro told us was so much more interesting than Rue St.-Denis? We'll certainly check with the Bistro staff before going anywhere. We hardly got into the western part of the city, where the Anglophones are, but it looked interesting enough. And we'll want to hit those villages west of the city, as well as a nice bus tour through the country south of the city. And perhaps we could get a tour of some of those luscious Victorian homes that are everywhere!

I'll miss seeing the hundreds, the thousands of tiny balconies that each Montrealais apartment seems to have. I'll miss the Canadian Hershey bars that tasted like Nesle (my favorite!). I'll miss the beautiful tooney coins and all the activity down by the river at the Old Port. (I waved to the World Wide Web camera set up there. I tune into that view every day from work.) I'll miss the handiness and cleanliness of le Metro, which took us so efficiently around the city (except for the times we were absolutely exhausted and had to hail a cab). I'll miss the old gang at the Paris Bistro. I'll miss both the gothic, victorian and modern architecture, and the people who didn't mind talking to crazy Americans as if they were old friends.

If Montreal weren't covered in snow and ice a good third of the year, I'd move there in an instant. If I could find a nice apartment without any stairs.

the most beautiful of all housespainting I did about this house

This is the house I lust for. I forgive it for having so many steps. It's on Sherbrooke on the corner where you turn to catch le Metro.

This was one of the first paintings I did when I got back into oil. Definitely the first landscape to have a person in it!


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