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Montréal: The Weekend Has Arrived, and There's Lots To Do

Vieux Montréal

Saturday was a scorcher all day, with daytime temperatures ranging from 27° C to 32° C, Saturday somewhat more humid than we'd experienced earlier in the week, although a cooling breeze off the St. Lawrence provided some respite from the effects of sun, which beat down relentlessly from early morning through early evening. Still, as 2011 in Vancouver brought about the bummer summer, VanRamblings felt quite alright throughout the day, as we got our first taste of a 'real hot summer', and all that entails.

As in our previous post, we'll address issues in point form. Here goes ...

  • PC blues: VanRamblings brought along our 14" Toshiba laptop so that we might post memories of our visit to Montréal. Wouldn't you know it, PC 'glitches' abounded in our first couple of days: 1) we couldn't connect to McGill's computer network, so had to use our iPhone 3G; 2) our video editing software, Windows Live Movie Maker, failed just as we were ready to publish yesterday's video, and because we hadn't saved the video, we lost two hours work; 3) the screen orientation on our PC went kablooey; and, 4) our Movable Type blogging software has proved glitchy, troublesome and unresponsive. Problem 1 was resolved by a visit to McGill Tech Support, at 688 Rue Sherbrooke, Room 285, late Friday morning. We're hoping Problem 2 will be resolved with a download of the latest version of Microsoft's video editing software. Problem 3 was resolved following a Google search. And Problem 4 may be occurring as a consequence of our rather infrequent posting of late, which has caused us (perhaps) to forget some of the lessons we've taught ourself about how MT's html functions best.

On to VanRamblings' glorious, hot and perspiring Saturday, after the jump.

Old Montréal business district

  • VanRamblings hydrates our self, and feels better for it: At the best of times, VanRamblings tries our darndest to keep ourselves hydrated, a particularly important endeavour when the summer sun beats down. Over the course of the first couple of days of our visit to Montréal, we were going through those little cranberry juice bottles one finds in convenience stories at an alarmingly expensive rate. As we tend to suffer from des calculs rénaux (quel domage), ready access to l'eau fraîche and cranberry juice is imperative. What to do, what to do?

    A trip to Provigo became necessary. Friday afternoon we picked up two 2-litre bottles of Oasis 100% Cranberry Juice Blend, a 1.5 litre bottle of San Benedetto sparkling water, half a dozen Yoplait yogurt drinks (raspberry and strawberry), and a dozen fresh peaches, all for only $16! We were going to pick up a bottle of wine or a case of beer (available in the grocery store!) but may save that for another day.

  • In which Raymond purchases a train ticket to Québec City: By happenstance, we also made our way to the VIA Rail station on Saturday. As we were waiting for the 747 bus to take us to the Notre Dame Basilica, we noticed a branch of our banking institution, and being low on funds, we trucked on over to the building only to realize it housed the train station. Hallelujah! So, we bought a return trip ticket for Québec City, leaving very early Monday morning, returning late evening the same day. We paid more than we ought to have (we needed to reserve 3 days in advance for a $50 saving ... c'est la vie).

  • A busy metropolis: Wherever you go in Montréal there are hordes of people. Vancouver is a sleepy village compared to Québec's cultural and financial capital. Yikes, there are a lot of people milling about.

  • A sad admission about VanRamblings' fluency in French: We love the French language. In high school, French was our favourite subject (thanks to Kathleen Downs, with whom we were in love). We've managed to retain quite a bit of our French from way back when. And when we travelled in France, we used our French to good advantage (or so we thought). Some years ago, when enrolled in late French immersion, our wondrous daughter Megan made the following cogent observation, "Dad, you've got the worst French accent I've ever heard." Nothing like the dulcet, supportive words of a loving daughter.

    Since our arrival in Montréal, we have tried our darndest to communicate in French. We think our grammar's not too bad, and our retention of key French words is not too shabby, either (not to mention, we've got the Google Translate app on our iPhone, at the ready, for 'sticky' situations). Our experience using French has been far from salutary, though, based on the dozens of conversations we've had with the Québécois people.

    Each and every time we employ French, while ordering a coffee, purchasing a ticket, asking for directions, or for any other reason, the person with whom we are speaking always, always replies in English (sometimes very broken English, but still ...). Migawd, Megan is right! My French must be terrible. Will this deter me from speaking French?

    Sacré bleu, no!

Okay, okay, enough of this tomfoolery, I can hear you say. What about your day, VanRamblings? Where's the travelogue stuff we're really interested in reading about on your sorry excuse for a blog. Oh, la douleur.

Tell us about your visit to Chinatown, to the port, to old Montréal, to the Notre Dame Basilica, about your walk along the entire stretch of Saint Catherine's, about Dunn's Famous (for a second consecutive night). C'mon, c'mon, boyo, tell us the stuff that has brought us here to VanRamblings.

All in good time, dear and constant reader. All in good time.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at August 14, 2011 9:24 AM in Montréal 2011


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