Posted by: James Shannon | October 16, 2010

Bonjour de Riviere-Du-Loup, Québec!

Since my last post I have gone from the heart of the GTA to the heart of French Canada — just spent an evening pushing my limited French skills to the limit.  It got good reviews, but also a fair share of laughs; par for the course when you make egregious grammatical errors speaking in a non-mother tongue!

Starting from yesterday, I set out with Abed for one last outing together — to the Centre of the Universe itself, Toronto!  We got within the city limits, only to realize that I had misjudged my fuel levels in my car … a somewhat panicky search for fuel began, and after a bit of a wander, we ended up getting the juice we needed at a station on Bathurst and Dupent Street (approximately).  Nice hood, by the way; wanted to wander, but the ultra-tight timelines I had imposed on myself restricted me from any explorations.  This should serve as a warning against binge travelling; give yourself time to linger in a place, as having an inflexible intinerary can rob you of the ability to truly appreciate your destination.

Given the very short time I had in the T-Dot, I did the most stereotypical thing that a tourist in Toronto typically does: I went up the CN Tower: yes there are pics, but they will wait until I’ve landed in Nouvelle-Ecosse (sic): lots of great content to come kids!

After that, Abed left my side, and all of a sudden I was a one-man show.  Feeling strangely alone, I departed Toronto and hoofed it for Ottawa.  The skies clouded up, and the light of the day slipped away to dark Autumn evening … and then the rain began to fall. The 401 is a crappy place to be when it rains, as the mist and falling rain combine to make travel a white-knuckle endeavour.  Eventually, I got onto the 416 which took me to the Ottawa area and with help from my ole Aitken buddy Charlie, I made it in to his house in Suburban Kanata.  Impressive digs, friendly sheep dogs!  We went out for beers at a local pub and caught up on our lives to the present day, among other topics.

This morning, Chuck served as a tour guide to the governmental attractions that make up downtown Ottawa, including the Parliment Buildings, museums, embassies (the ultra-paranoid design of the American embassy was my favourite!) and the PM’s house!  After that, I gathered my stuff once more and headed into Quebec.

Welcome to a new planet!  Hard to decipher signs, next-to-impossible to pick up on what the radio DJ’s were saying, but the music selection on a Saturday night was top notch, as Quebecers sure know their party music well!  Had some amusing exchanges en francais/english/frenglish buying dinner in Quebec City and gas in Cap de l’ Ignance to round out the day, which brings us to this couch that I’m typing this blog post on in Riviere-Du-Loup, Quebec!

The next few days should be the slowest of the trip, as I enter the Maritimes: first up, Fredericton and a mini-reunion @ Aitken House, then onto Saint John to spend time with my best friend from UNB.  After that on Tuesday, I return to NS and my family.

Looking forward to good times in the Maritimes!

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