Val's Journal - November 6th, 2002

En Francais, sil vous plait

Last night was spent in a frosty Quebec field, or maybe it was New Brunswick: no one seems to know and it doesn't really matter. We're all pretty sure we're still in Canada. Fairly sure...

Last night was typical, I mean, laughable.

We spent 3 hours bumping over the bleak Quebec countryside, guided only by high beams, looking for the Auberge Paysanne, a quaint B&B that would have yielded some excellent filming opportunities. But nature, signposts, insatiable hunger and a general lack of mental acuity conspired against us. Perhaps we were doomed to fail, I'll have to read my horoscope. Either way, in a fashion stoic enough even by Socratic standards, we accepted defeat and pulled up to a little restaurant call Le Barrille (the Beer Barrel)- paper placemats, banquet seating.

Le Barrille was recommended to us by some bemused locals who told us we overshot our destination by about 2 hours and 180 kilometers. During the course of that conversation I was able to gather the meaning of one word in particular- perdu- a word repeated many times, especially with another French word, tres, attached to it. Perdu means "lost" and tres means "very". I thus deduced that we were, indeed, "very lost." My French is improving by gigantic leaps and humungous bounds.

(Necessity, needless to say, is the most excellent motivator when coming to grips with the idioms and sayings of a new language.)

Our evening meal at Le Barrille was a scene lifted straight from the pages of a Faulty Towers' script: linguistic misfires, a frantic maitre'd-server-proprietor-cook, food mix ups, faux pas and offences followed by eventual false reconciliation. All I will say is this: either our French is truly horrid or "salade" means, "grilled tuna melt". Tu comprendre?

Hilarious random encounters aside, Quebec has been the most eye-opening province so far. As Brad has spouted on numerous occasions, it is "a country within a country." There is such richness in this province, the kindest people, the most delicious food and an urban beauty that could only be rivaled by some of the most breathtaking side streets in Europe.

If you're thinking of moving here, quit thinkin'!

Nov. 6th, 2002
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