Taking the VIA

Trip Start Feb 09, 2008
Trip End Feb 18, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Saturday, February 9, 2008

Now, I will take the Via Rail to Quebec for a week of fun with my parents. We are FINALLY going to Carnaval. It's especially special because it is the city's 400th anniversary.

Before I left for Quebec, Dave warned me that some planet like Mercury was going to be hanging out inside some constellation like Libra, so there will be a lot of miscommunication until the planet moves somewhere else, which will happen at just about the time that I get back.

The first thing I realized, when I got onto the train, was that I forgot the name and address of my B&B. Great. Thank you fantastic, expansive universe and planetary system. Previously, my mom had told me she would meet me at the station in Quebec, but I had told her:

"Don't worry abou me mom, I'm a big girl and can take care of myself."

Yeah, right. I can take care of myself, only when Mercury is behaving itself, apparently.

So, the nice man who changed the date of my ticket, also gave me an hour of complimentary wireless internet, so I could use it on the train. Little did he know, that my laptop doesn't understand the internet. I can't find any wireless signals no matter where I am, so I just banked on the small glimmer of hope that my parents will be waiting for me at the station in Quebec.

I board the train and sit next to a girl named Natalie who is a student at Ottawa U and goes home every other weekend to Montreal (lucky girl). She has a Mac and her computer detects the internet signal instantly, *eyeroll* So she offers to let me punch in my code, and lo and behold, the code the "nice" man gave me, is expired! Grrr!

Pulling into Montreal, all these memories of last fall came flooding back to me. I am reminded of the two dream-like times when I went to Montreal and had a wonderful time with Alana and Chris. Those days are decidedly over, so the memories are bittersweet.

I remembered "finding" a collapseable bike on Rene Levesque Blvd., riding it around town until it was time to meet Alana, then devouring an entire fake-salmon vegan wrap with her.

I remembered meeting Chris and partying all weekend with the Bostonian couchsurfers in a random apartment in some nameless suburb.

I remembered going to the market with Denis and concocting an improvisational pasta lunch on the patio, for one of the "last nice days of the summer".

I remembered stumbling upon an awesome klezmer band on some yuppy-type street and then eating some of Chris' (most likely frozen) shark at a Mauritian restaurant.

I remembered driving back to Montreal later, in Chris' ugly Corolla to see Tori Amos with Alana.

I remembered climbing up to the top of Mont Royal to watch the sunrise, only to find that we were on the wrong side of the mountain.

I remembered going to a jazz improv session with Vincent, insanely sleep deprived and pounding away at the keys of a grand piano that had one of its legs replaced with a 2x4.

I remembered meeting a girl I had met at a Halloween party in Ottawa at the housewarming party Alana took us to the next night.

I remembered singing Girl Guide campfire songs with Alana and climbing up on the roof of her boyfriend's house in a skirt, and totally bruising and scratching up my leg on the crumbling rocks strategically placed near the ladder.

I remembered dancing to the White Stripes...

I remembered the art museum and the giant tam tam drum circle.

All these things came flooding back to me as we pulled up to the Montreal station. They're all great memories and I don't know when I'll have more great times like that again. Hopefully, this week.

On the other hand, already, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do when I get to my destination, but it doesn't really worry me as much as it seems to, dear reader. There is always a way to figure things out. I guess I'm a believer in the resilience of humanity, the kindness of strangers and the wireless connection at Starbucks.

Luckily, my mom and dad met me at the station. Perhaps not so luckily, they wanted to go straight to the free Calgary Stampede barbecue and stay for the night parade. So I had to lug all my crap around all night. We took a cab, waited in a monstrous lineup for a hamburger and baked beans, listened to some god-awful country music covers by an Albertan band and waited way too long for the parade to start. It began at around 8 p.m., but it was advertised to start at 7 p.m.

The parade was... interesting. Busloads of highschool kids and dance school students jumping around to French techno music dressed up like bunnies, or clowns and just generally overreacting to the festive atmosphere.

Oh yeah, and did I mention my dad wore a crazy-ugly cowboy hat, that he got for free that morning at the free Calgary Stampede pancake breakfast?....All night...

After the parade, we wandered around looking for a better way home than taking another $18 cab to our B&B. My dad estimated the walk home would be "about 30 minutes" and luckily, we found a bus stop just before those 30 minutes were up, or else we probably would've been walking another two or so hours. Crazy crazy.

Finally, we found the place, after my mom and dad finally admitted to me that they weren't sure what the exact address of the auberge was. *sigh* Now, it's 11:40 p.m. and I am about to relax with a hot coffee and kahlua. Oh yeah, and did I mention there is NO HEAT in our room? Yeah, figure that one out. Goodnight.

P.S. there will be no photos until I get back, I forgot my USB *pout*
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