Well, after a long, long sleep, I got a late start to the day here in Quebec, but that sleep was fantastic. There was only one room-mate in my room last night (looks like two tonight) and he must have come in quietly as I only met him briefly before he left this morning. What are the chances I’d meet someone from Nicaragua in Canada? I did tell him his country was beautiful.
When you’re a slacker about packing and then repack over and over like I did night before last, you forget something. The thing is I think you inevitably forget some things. The trick is not to forget anything crucial. So, far I’ve got a tiny list of things. I realized last night as I stepped out of the warm airport that I didn’t have a scarf… I don’t think I’ve laid eyes on it since I left Paris in January of 2010. No need for one at home and certainly none for last years warm new year in Mexico. So, if I had have remembered, that’s another 30 minutes or more that I’d have spent turning everything over trying to find it. Instead, I’ll have a useful souvenir from Quebec and one that I can wear rather than having to jam in that bag when I leave. Ha! Score! Now, I won’t tell you how long I shopped for a scarf, but I will say that in the end it turned out to be in one of the first shops I looked in. I wouldn’t say “one of the first shops” if there hadn’t been many after it before I went back. I’m not decisive about clothing purchases. I did briefly see one I liked better but, uhm… $90 for a scarf I’m unlikely to get much use out of is a bit much for a souvenir. Back to the comparably reasonably priced shop that had a sale going…
I’m afraid I’ve a dearth of useful information to share about Quebec so far. There are plenty of museums and such, but I’ve mostly been sloshing around the streets getting my bearings and enjoying the snowy weather (you can only say that if you don’t live with snow every winter of your life, I suspect). I did briefly check out some of the old fortifications and sections of the walls (I’m within the only walled city north of Mexico it’s a given I had to go see them). I also walked along a particularly picturesque street earlier At the end of it, the wind was particularly cold and gusting. I happened to turn around and realized I was at the emblematic Chateau Frontenac. I think there are better views of it from elsewhere in the city so no photos. Well, that’s one excuse as I also thought my fingers would freeze off in that wind. To give you an idea of how cold it was on that prominent spot atop the hill, I ducked into the Chateau’s shopping arcade and nearly ordered a hot chocolate. I’m not a huge chocolate fan and I rarely, rarely, rarely have warm beverages but it sounded so good at that moment… Then I smelled coffee, came to my senses and had an orange juice. It’s never been a smell that enticed me obviously and turned me off my brief hot chocolate idea. A few more days in the cold, though and who knows!
You know you’re no longer in the south when:
- It’s fairly common for cars to have ski racks on them;
- You commonly encounter people carrying ice skates.
- City parks have hockey rinks of the same genre as basketball courts back home.
- Outdoor ice skating comes complete with a Zamboni.
- Slush not only becomes a four letter word, it has nothing to do with funds.
No idea at all what I’m doing for New Years. The actual moment the clock strikes has never been a huge deal to me, but I’m sure something will turn up. I came in as the snow had reached a point I no longer felt completely safe with my camera in it and it felt quite late. Turns out it was not even 4pm yet! I have a lot of time to kill before midnight.