Published: October 6th 2007October 5th 2007
Not cute nor furry #10
Vancouver aquarium (so cheating again), but I think the photo is cool. And no, they're not upside down.
Did you know there are pack gremlins? They go into your pack at night and move your stuff. They are particularly fond of my hair brush. I'm sure they also are responsible for the invisible, spaceless rocks that seem to weigh down my pack.
Anyway, Montreal. French. Elly, do you remember all those French classes we spent scribbling on the desk - well I'm beginning to think now that perhaps we should have paid attention!! Attempting French with a kiwi accent does not seem to have the desired effect. Fortunately most people will speak to you (albeit grudgingly) in English. Montreal is an awesome city, a bizarre mix of the old and the new. Arriving here really feels like a completely different country. New York and Paris combined with a Canadian twist, people watching here is interesting. It seems to be quite normal for conversations to switch randomly between French and English. Montreal is famous for it's smoked meat and Poutine (potato chips, gravy and cheese). Food here is excellent! And people can pronounce my name!! (spelling it appears to be a different story though so far I've had Ciefle, Ciette and Celle).
From Montreal Emily and
I headed up to Smurfville (Mont Tremblant). Mont Tremblant is identical to Whistler (see previous entry, inclusive of the hostel by lake, canoeing and another beaver). Pretty trees. I've timed my arrival in the east just in time to see the trees change colour. Algonquin Park and Fort Coulonge were awesome. The 10,000 moose in Algonquin Park had the day off when we were there, so I'm still yet to see a male moose in the wild. But I did spy some snakes!
The nation’s capital (Ottawa) was the next stop. Emily and I spent 4 days here, exploring the museums, art gallery and of course Parliament. As far as I can tell, Canadian elect their government by a process similar to our old first past the post systems (Greg, you may enlighten me here). Interestingly enough, Ontarian residents will get to vote to change their electoral system from FPTP to NZ's MMP system. Of the three major cities in the east, Ottawa would be my pick to stay and work. The city centre is really easy to navigate, and the canal, river and the buildings give the city a nice character. Ice skating down the canals in winter
sounds cool too (literally!).
You can feel the city of Toronto as you approach, the number of lanes in the road multiple and density of the traffic dramatically increases (similar to driving into Auckland). Toronto is very much the Auckland of Canada - including a tower similar to the sky tower. It feels a bit like an over sized Edmonton with the lights of New York. Lake Ontario was covered in fog for most of the time I was there. From Toronto, you kinda have to trek down to Niagara Falls for the day. The falls are pretty cool and they light them up with coloured flood lights at night. Niagara Township is a little tacky (think Los Vegas!).
The plan from here is to head further east, over to Halifax (via Quebec city and Fredicton). Briefly tour Nova Scotia and then settle down somewhere for the winter before the money completely runs dry! The weather has been very kind to us thus far - temperatures are still in the mid- low 20's and sunny. Perhaps this Canadian winter thing is a myth?
I hope everyone is well.
Ps. The rugby!!! Ouch. Emily
and I just watched the game surrounded by French men in a Monteral pub. We could barely see the screen, let alone read the score - but we could tell by the reaction of the crowd that things weren't too good. Out at the 1/4's, how embarrasing is that? Heads will roll!
There are more photos below