Mind My French!

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Motel Alouette - $80 without tax, Good. Micro, fridge, tv

Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Wednesday, September 3, 2008

With a scenery like this one it was easy to get up early for a long jog around the pond and park. We even got ourselves organised for a good old coffee and scrambled eggs breakfast next to the morning campfire.

So with a full stomach we parted to do a driven trail of the White Mountains. Sadly we didn't have time to stay another night but at least we have seen some of the best sceneries yet in all of the national parks we have visited, and up to now it certainly tops the USA ones!

Along the scenic road (about 50 kms in total) we also bumped into the Mount Washington Hotel where the famous Bretton Woods economic forum took place in the late 40's. We had no idea it was there! Link to hotel and more information:

Anyway, after a short lunch break at Quizmos (nice for quick food) we continued our path along New Hampshire and into Vermont. Within 2 hours we hit the US - Canadian border.

There were about 10 cars and trucks waiting to pass the customs inspection with the best part being the explosive detector dogs. Given our love for dogs we were looking at one of the labrador retrievers happily doing its work. Obviously the customs agent noticed that we were talking about his canine friend as he quickly approached us.

We both thought we would have an extra hard time for having looked at the dog, thinking that the agent would be suspicious of our interest. However, when the agent arrived at our car he told us "I've noticed you were interested in Truman". He then took out a small card from his pocket and said "I normally only give these to kids" and handed us over a small card with the picture of the dog and all the information on his work behind! He then jumped into the boot of the car and sniffed around with no explosives found!

Out of interest we checked internet for information on Truman...and he is there with a picture of the ATF agent that spoke to us at the end...thats internet! http://www.guidingeyesnc.org/Puppy%20Prints/fall2003.pdf

So in no time we were at the Canadian border...or was it not? The strange thing was that there was only one Canadian flag and way too many of Quebec. Also, most if not all of the signs were in French...suddenly in a different World!

Anyway we got our Canadian stamp and continued our trip. Sadly Quebec applies strict work timetables, very similar to those in France and when we arrived at the tourist information office at 5.05 pm....it was closed. We are sure it closed much sooner though!

Also annoying is that local maps (at rest stops) only show Quebec and not the rest of Canada so its difficult to see exactly were you are in perspective when driving along without a local map.

A couple of hours later (and without any Canadian flag in sight during 200 kms) we arrived at the small river side town of Drummondville where we decided to stop for the night. One of the additional difficulties of driving around in Quebec is that they dont announce motels at the road exits like they do in USA (it must be part of their fight against commercialism or something similar).

We checked into the first motel we found (Alouette) where we struggled with our French, mainly because it looks like all motel managers in Quebec are asian and their French accent is quite difficult to handle (at least we have difficulty!).

Although we went out with the intention of having dinner at a Quebecois Bistro, given the prices they were showing and the difficulty of language we decided to take away a couple of pizzas and enjoy the "luxury" room that we had for the night. Unluckily for us ordering the pizza was another frustrating experience due to:
- the waitress spoke zero English
- she had a piercing on her tongue
- she had a cleft palet
so all in all, she sounded like "thaa thaa thaa thaa thaa thaa". We gave up and just pointed at the pictures on the menu!
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