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Published: September 30th 2017
Quebec City's Train Station ...
... even better than the free wi-fi in the station and on board the train, was the smell of the station - like Montreal smoked meat! Absolutely heavenly ...
Geo: 45.5088, -73.5878
Always looking for a deal or a freebie - that's the Chinese way. You can try, but changing this fact is futile - it's hardwired into our minds, tangled within our strands of DNA ... so even when you can't score a deal, you feel like you were somehow shafted, like something was stolen from YOU, even when it wasn't yours to begin with. Case in point - breakfast at the hostel today.
It only runs from 7 to 10, so after waking up, I quickly wiped the sleep from my eyes and the drool from my chin, and ran down to the breakfast room just before breakfast ended. "Can I have your voucher, please?" Huh?!?!??? What voucher?!!??? "The voucher for breakfast - it's not included in the room rate, it's $6 extra." $6 extra???!!???? For this sorry excuse of a breakfast you offer???!?!?!
And how exactly did I know it was a sorry excuse for a breakfast, you ask? Well ... it's because I ate breakfast here yesterday. Without paying. Nobody asked me, so I knew nothing about it being extra. So ... even though I was denied breakfast today, a breakfast that I wasn't supposed to
View from High Above Quebec City ...
... with Terrasse Dufferin, a big boardwalk just outside the Chateau Frontenac.
get anyway, a breakfast that I essentially stole yesterday ... I still felt shafted, like something was taken from me.
Yes, it defies all logic - except for one type, and that's Chinese logic. It makes no sense, we know - but that's just the way it is, and that's what I was taught by my parents, who were taught by their parents, who were taught by their parents, etc, etc, going on for generation after generation ... this is all probably traced back to some cheap bastard from the time of the Ming dynasty, which would explain why it's such an ingrained mentality with us Chinese folk. Give us something for free? Then we'll ask for two of them! Deny us and we'll cry like you shot us, and then we'll complain to all our friends. Don't question this about us ... just accept it, as this fact cannot be changed by any ordinary person, no more than they could change the tides.
This probably ended up being a blessing, as I had planned on squeezing in two very important tasks before catching the early afternoon train to Montreal - a return trip to Paillard to try one
Breakfast at Paillard ...
... pain au chocolat (Quebecois call it a chocolatine), nowhere near as good as the bread in my sandwich yesterday. Tough pastry, not very flaky with uneven chocolate distribution - usually the two sticks of chocolate lay side-by-side, but instead were directly stacked on top of each other. This made for not enough chocolate in one bite, and too much in another, if there's such a thing as too much chocolate. The latte was pretty average.
of their croissants, which was billed as being the best in all of Quebec, and then on to Casse-Crepe Breton for an early lunch. This would have been a tall order, eating all that before my 1 PM train, especially had I ingested an enormous breakfast at the hostel beforehand - because, even though it was a crappy breakfast, I still would've stuffed myself to the point of puking, in order to get my money's worth. It's Chinese logic!
This whole idea of taking advantage of freebies continued on the train to Montreal - free wi-fi at the train station and then free wi-fi on board. Score!!! Thank you, Via Rail!!! Didn't exactly need to use the internet during the ride but since it was free, I got my money's worth using it for the entire three-hour ride!
Given the rise in price of accommodations during the F1 weekend, the most affordable places to stay are B&Bs or guesthouses, many of which are located in the Latin Quarter. Our B&B was perfectly located, just a few minutes walk from a metro station, a few blocks away from the cafes and restaurants on St. Denis, and a few blocks away from
Marche St. Jacques.
There's a definite buzz around town - tons of people out on the patios eating dinner or enjoying a drink, tons of people out strolling ... it seems very European in that way, with a strong cafe culture. The old town and port area were a bit disappointing ... though packed with cafes, there wasn't much life out in the streets, except for a few blocks around Place Jacques Cartier. And though still nice, its old town doesn't seem quite as charming as that of Quebec City. In fact, some areas of Montreal's old town are more reminiscent of Washington DC than France!
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