Day 78 Québec – Sat 31 Aug 2013

We slept in this morning.  It was glorious.  Even though it was only 07:30 it felt like it was later.  I’ve realised that part of my exhaustion is probably due to the lack of my weekly Saturday afternoon nap, where I get home from the gym and pass out for a few hours.  We’ve been going out every weekend, travelling, sight-seeing.

It took a while to get to the airport this morning. We found the Porter shuttle bus stop, on Front Street, in front of Starbucks.  I ordered a double espresso while we were waiting and the queue for coffees was long.  Finally the person that had been in front of me was the last person that ordered before me in the group of people waiting for coffee.  “Doppio espresso!” yelled a guy.  I stepped forward and some guy that had just ordered, jumped in and took it.  I was too startled to speak up.  Why would he not think to look around to check that the people who’d ordered first hadn’t placed the same order? Thankfully there hadn’t been many complicated orders after mine and “Doppio espresso, for Mark!” was quickly called.  I felt like yelling out, “Mark!  This one’s yours!” and going up and swapping cups.
The flight to Québec was thankfully not too long.  We played one round of Guillotine, which Daniel won by double my points, much to his glee.  I think I read my book.  We had to concentrate to remember that we’re in French-speaking Canada again and try to think of the French words for things.
At the airport when we were wandering about looking for taxis we met a young woman who saw us approaching the rank, and asked if we were headed downtown, and wanted to share a cab.  Turns out we were all staying at the same hostel, so it was an easy three-way split.  We asked where she was from, “Meh-hicko,” she replied.  I thought she sounded a bit pretentious pronouncing it like that, then realised that being from Mexico she was probably pronouncing correctly, appropriately, and me thinking, (in an Aussie twang), “Actually, it’s prah-nowwwnced Meck-sick-oh!” would’ve made me the wanker.  I just smiled.
We wandered about.  We toured a citadel, with a very enthusiastic guide, who battled with English as a second language and repeatedly apologised for hilarious mis-translations.  She told us the large cannon’s weight in pounds, instead of tonnes.  I think she muddle up a few dates too, but really, who cares?  Isn’t it more relevant to give a context to a building’s history rather than the date it was finished?  I’d rather hear who lives in the house with the little pink bicycles than whether it was built in 1831 or 1835.  She gave a lot of this relevant information like that, which gave the buildings relevance.  It’s like visiting Anne Frank house – I don’t recall when it was built but I knew it was interesting because I stood in the room that an entire family had to hide in.
Our guide had braces which made her saliva collect on her lips in stringy blobs.  It must have been hard to be giving guided tours all day. Maybe they were new.  I know when I got maxillary and mandibular plates in primary school it took a while to adjust.  I almost choked on the meat in my sandwich because I couldn’t chew it properly and it slipped into my hypopharynx. Our guide kept walking backwards to watch the group was following her, then not watch the kerb or wall she was about to walk into until too late.  Every little blurb she’d finish suddenly with, “en-knee-body ave any kestions?” with a piercing upward inflection, that was almost a shriek as she tried to make sure she yelled loud enough to be heard.  When she heard we were from Australia she got very excited about our coins, and told us how she collects currencies.  I really enjoyed her tour.
We returned to the hostel and napped for half an hour, which was great.  It is warm and humid today.  It looks built for winter, all double-glazed windows and internal heating.  Only a tiny fan for summer weather.
Tonight we walked up a street that’s been blocked from traffic for some shopping festival thing.  Or maybe a Celtic festival.  There’s also a gay pride on this weekend.  I think they’re all overlapping.  We’d Googled the gay pride thing this afternoon, when we’d realised we had serendipitously booked the same weekend.  It’s through the old city gate (actually not an original because it’s so huge, widened for today’s level of traffic).  We ate an expensive dinner in a touristy place that was very busy.  I ordered a duck breast.  It was dry.  Daniel had an interesting chicken pie thing, that had some history associated with it.  The menu recounted a local woman who had continued to make the pie and persevere, but they wrote in translation, “perpetrate”.  It made the pie sound dirty.
Trying to get an early night tonight, as it’s a big day planned tomorrow.

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