C'est Bloody Glorious!

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Sep 01, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Sunday, July 25, 2010

           DAY THIRTY-FOUR:  I'm going to lead this entry off by saying that everything I loved about Montreal is Quebec City, but this reflection is prospective, an opinion developed on Day Thirty-Five; I just couldn't contain myself.  Onward, then.             The morning begins where we all wake up to find emptiness where we'd assumed The Beard would be.  Some of us think he's up and around already, but it's certainly not true: he never made it back to the bus; it's getting tiresome to write because it happens every day or every night, but it's also getting tiresome because it's tiresome.  He'd broken his phone weeks ago and has no one's number memorized, and so it's now a matter of threading a bearded needle through a metropolitan haystack.  I stay on the bus with my phone on in the event Cornbread and Tristan, who head downtown on the Metro, need to reach Shmark or myself (Shmark jumped in Meryl's pool with his phone in his pocket; did I mention that yet?).  So after an hour or two sitting around, borrowing someone's wireless internet, ironically grabbing a bagel and cream cheese (Jew) from an Iranian café (Jew haters...kidding) with my customary the menthe.  In time, I get a facebook message telling me to tell Cornbread to meet The Beard at the information center in town, and I laugh to myself and wait until my hairy friend rolls in without explanation.  Oh, Beard.

            The Beard, having wandered the streets all night long, collecting maybe three hours of sleep on his wallet (which contains a faulty credit card, no less), joins us with the other two rescuers, and he immediately passes out on The Lockbox.  Cornbread then gets behind the helm and points us toward Quebec City.  The traffic is simply insane and unfair, and so we take a number of hours to move a number of metres, but on the way, Tristan shares a few nips of his Canadian whiskey and I snuggle up on the bench with The End of The Road, which is getting more and more perverse, and which is seemingly mirroring my own life more and more.  In it, Barth's anti-hero, Jacob Horner, is frozen by indecision and lives a life so pulled in either direction to a point where he strives not only to never have an opinion, but to never avoid having one, either.  I feel eternally locked into that on this trip, always following around, always willing to do, or unwilling, always playing another character to whatever new city I'm in, or playing no one at all.  That's, I suspect, the downside of constant travel, unless it's the upside?  I have lint on my bellybutton.  Yay!

            Tristan decides, as we haven't showered in so long and since he's leaving us soon, to make a hotel reservation for us.  We pull into Quebec City with a destination for the first time in a while, as a result, and approach Hotel Pur salivating en route to cleanliness; though we're proud of our reduction of need, we're certainly not above the rejuvenating nature of soap and liquid.  After three of us sneak in through the side entrance (we're sharing a double room), we take our turns, Shmark meanwhile taking a swim in the hotel pool, Tristan heading down to the pharmacy to get five bottles of conditioner (then urging me to go talk to one of the cashiers, who is supposedly stunning; I beg to argue beyond cute, but then we obviously differ in taste).

            It's tough to life my head from the white air-conditioned pillow, but I'm so very excited to get into that francophonic world outside, and urge everyone to get a move on it.  It takes a while but we do so, though Shmark and Tristan head off to get some whiskey and fast food while The Beard, Cornbread and myself head to a brasserie featuring Django jazz - score! - and a cornucopia of beautiful waitresses - double score!  The get some pates pesto et bolognaise, I some moules et frites, and our server, a petit blonde with a French nose and a big case of the jitters, bumbles and giggles and endears herself all the way to the check.  By then we're wondering what to do that night, ready to ask her to join us, but before she can, this nervous wreck herself takes the initiative and invites us out to a beach party with her friends.  What a cinematic moment this is!  She's truly kind and interesting, and her English is no better than a Parisian's would be - one surprising quality of Quebec, being how deep their French runs, how shallow their English - and we agree to meet outside of the restaurant at midnight.

            By midnight, however, after a short while in the hotel room listening to Goldfrapp, drinking Labatt Bleue, she's nowhere to be found!  The Beard refuses to give in, though, and stops a random Quebecoise to grill them about the location of this mysterious beach, and after some deliberation, we hop blindly into the bus and set off.

            We play a few songs in the bus, with Tristan tearing up a gnarly drum solo out of nowhere, before circumventing the cover charge by hopping the fence.  The place is going crazy, with dance floors here, fire pits and bars and palm trees there, live music strewn around crowds - with guys singing Bon Iver covers with French accents masked by their reggae tendencies - but Cornbread and I are exhausted and retire to a fire pit for a bit of calm.  We sit completely in silence for a while, perhaps out of things to talk about, before hopping the fence back to the bus.  Shmark and Tristan have been shooting triple whiskeys and were stumbling all over the sand, but both are asleep in the bus by the time of our return.  The Beard, meanwhile, is nowhere to be seen once again, and we're all quickly asleep, waiting for him so we can get back to the hotel and sleep in comfort.  He's in Dean Moriarty mode tonight, popping into the window to say, "dig the women in Quebec," darting back and forth, knocking over Tristan's drums only to say, "it'll all be alright, Tristan, trust me!"  I just want to sleep and, sun now in the sky, the minute The Beard boards again, we get the hell out of there.  At a stop sign, hordes of drunken party-goers see the bus and try to bum a ride from us - at least twenty people hopping on board, or trying to - before The Beard tells them all to Fuck Off!  We slink into the hotel room by five and, unable to avoid the concierge now, can only be as friendly as possible to where she's too relaxed to worry about five of us staying in a two-person room.  The minute I hit my bed, I'm out in bliss, and pleasantly sober, no less! 
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