We’ll be flying to Istanbul on Monday, so this will be my last post from Canada.
Here are a few tidbits I learned this month:
- There are no specific words in French for seventy, eighty, or ninety. For example, 95 is quatre-vingt quinze, i.e. 4-20 15. So you have to do some multiplication and addition just to say and understand a two-digit number.
- There is no word in French for daughter, but there is for son. So Laurel is my girl, but Charlie is my son.
- Sales tax in Quebec is 15%! This applies to haircuts and just about everything except groceries. There are exceptions on the groceries though. When I look at my receipt, I see that everything is tax-free except the chocolate and the tortilla chips. So even though the chocolate is organic, dark, and fair-trade, I assume it’s considered junk food and therefore, not a necessity.
- A lot of people smoke in Montreal – 24%, according to one website I found. When the streets are crowded, which they usually are, it’s sometimes difficult to avoid having someone’s cigarette ashes fall on your hand or arm as you walk by.
- Montrealers/Montréalais are more polite (not counting those with the flying cigarette ashes) than Vancouverites in my opinion. Vancouver is a very wealthy city with a lot of urban hipsters. Montreal is an older city that is more traditional and formal. Although French is the official language, nearly everyone also speaks fluent English. Even the beggars on the streets are more educated than I am. I usually give a little money to homeless people and street performers, but the other day on my walk to the grocery I ignored a man greeting me in French. He followed me a couple steps and began speaking in English. He told me he usually worked but couldn’t that day and needed $18 to stay at a homeless shelter or some kind of housing. I’m obviously in no position to judge; the kids and I live mostly on Social Security Survivor Benefits. I told him I’d give him change on my way back from the grocery. I ended up giving him $15 on the return trip. He was so grateful, he kissed my hand. That’s the kind of thing I didn’t experience in Vancouver.
Scenes from Mount Royal Park:
A couple blocks from our apartment…
On our walk to the playset at Old Port last week, we encountered this old-timey farmers market just a couple blocks from our apartment.
Another day of sightseeing…
At the park in Old Port by the St. Lawrence River…