Thursday, October 20, 2005

Too harsh on montreal

I have to admit, I love Canada. My report on my arrival in Canada was less than flattering. I still think it would have been boring to say, “Canada is wonderful and Montreal is so cute” It is easier and more fun to criticize a bit. BUT, why do Canadian feel so insecure about their own country especially Quebecers.

In France you have the right to say bad thing about our country. We like it so much it gets annoying sometimes: “French sucks”, “shitty country”, “too much taxes”. Even many people are AGAINST the national team when they play “they are just shit, they deserve to lose”.
Well allow me to do the same to Canada since it is my country of adoption (for a short time though). We are not in the US, no need to swear oath on the Canadian flag.
To get back to the subject, Montreal is a fine city. It has everything you need in a metropolis yet it is small enough so you can walk from one way of the center to the other.
Unlike Toronto, the center is animated. Excuse me, Torontoans but you don’t have a Ste-Catherine and it is very cold and dark inside the skyscrapers cluster.
Well as people would argue, I have not yet discovered all of it. Stay tuned

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

It looks good! At last

It didn't take that much time at all. I am quite proud (even though I played a small part in it) of the Canadian winter website.
It has now what you would expect of a quite complete winter travel and activities website. Of course, I would like it to have much, much more. So we will have in a few days: Olympic news and blog (About Turin but also of course Vancouver), A games page (with a selection of existing games first), contest for the better contribution at winter where you are (stories about winter experience outside Canada) and Snow and Tell (Stories about Canadian winter experience)
Well since they trust me enough to let me update the website myself, you should expect some work on Hockey pages. I just hope I won't erase the site by mistake

Apple picking trip

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I were invited to my Boss house in Pointe Claire, West Island. It is a traditionally English speaking area but more and more French speakers come there. It Must be because it is quiet and cozy.

Anyway, the most important part of the day was spent outside of Montreal, near the Oka village where we went to pick apples.
Oka was the scene of a violent indian protest 15years ago which saw one policeman killed, so it was a bit creepy.
My first taste of Quebec countryside was good. As good as it can be in a fresh, rainy afternoon. We picked apples and we ate so many apples that we didn’t eat our picnic.
We also brought back a bag full of Apples, which leads me to think: “What can I do of a bag with 100 apples since we are 2 and don’t eat that much fruits?”

Anyone wanting some fresh apples may come to Rosemont area. We will be more than happy to share (or get rid of) them.

Even if we didn’t really needed all these apples, we found it to be quite nice with all the grandeur of the Quebec countryside. Trees were the colors of autumn. Apples and pumpkins were everywhere (didn’t know there was as much in the whole world) and the Saint Laurent was incredibly beautiful.
Well I recommend you go to pick some apples some day. Even though the idea sounds stupid to a French (Going to the supermarket looks easier), it provides well enough entertainment.

Canadiens vs Maple Leafs at La Cage aux Sport

Since we wanted to go out Saturday night but didn’t want to miss the Montreal-Toronto game that was televised, we went and watched the game at La Cage au Sport (the one at the centre Bell)
We were really scared at first because it was Disney on Ice that night at the Bell Centre. When we entered the restaurant, we found a lot of 3-5 years old yelling and watching Disney movies on the TV.
At last they left just in time for the game as more and more fans arrived.
The ambience was cool, especially the ones the table next to us that kept on chanting “On est des Quebecois” (we are Quebeckers) even though they were English speakers.
That seemed to upset some francophone though as If English Canadians appropriated their team.
As for the game, you might have heard of it, or better, watched it. It was a classic game because of the rivalry and the lead changes. The Habs should have won more easily though if Theodore hadn’t let up easy goals.
Well I don’t care if some people seem to have a bad Image of hockey fanatics, I sure will root for the Canadiens until we quit for France.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Winter coming up west

The legendary canadian winter seems to be heading our way since it snowed in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I am very impatient to see everything covered white.
We don't have the chance to have a great snowy winter in France unless we go skiing in the Alps.

Here is the article.

The Rockies seem to have a nice layer of snow bringing anticipation of the season start.The view from Banff's Sunshine Village is quite terrific.
Hope they will have snow in late november when it matters. Well it is too far from Montreal anyway so let it melt!
Maybe I'll get there some other time...

Thursday, October 06, 2005

PES evangelisation

It is NOT a Hockey blog as the last three posts may have given the impression. We european give much more value to Football. Forget the NFL, Forget the CFL(which is more entertaining), What you call soccer is the real football.

Even if you find it boring (I won't argue since even I find some games boring), sports games don't come any better than football games. Then again, forget EA sports and trust Konami and their magnificient Pro Evolution Soccer serie.
Not convinced? Don't waste time and go and download the PES 5 demo that just went out.
You can find it here or there

I like the feel, the technique needed, the different possible play styles. the only thing lacking are my friends for a beer and PES evening. Mum! I wanna go back to France NOW!

Just kidding

Poor Bruins. Again! Go Canadiens!

The first game of the season didn't work out too well for the bruins tonight.
Despite a clear domination in the second period, they couldn't take advantage of it and went on to lose 2-1 against the Canadians.
The winning goal came 11 second from time, thanks to an otherwise invisible Michael Ryder.
Even more excited by the october 18th game. Let's hope, there is going to be more goals.
More good news is that my boss seems to be considering giving me free tickets!? Since they are on first row, I think I'll work harder for a while.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Poor Boston Bruins

A guy from work told me that the Canadiens just barely made the playoff two times in the past four years yet beat the bruins, which were clear favorites, in the first round of the Stanley Cup.
Boston were seeded first(2002)and second(2004)while the canadiens were eight and seventh respectively. Boston led 3-1 in the series.

Well that sure adds a lot of excitement to the oct 18th game. I'll be watching the Canadiens-Bruins season opener Wednesday very closely for a preview of what to expect.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Montreal Canadiens - Boston Bruins tickets

Hourra, I received my tickets for the octobrer 18th Montreal-Boston NHL game. Well it is quite expensive (100 $ for moderatly placed tickets) but we didn't want to miss the Canadiens during our trip to Montreal.
Hockey is a true religion here. It may be true for all of Canada but Montreal may be where hockey true spirit is. Toronto fans don't kill me! I just have an objective foreigner view.
As for Boston I think it is one of the six founding teams so it will be cool to watch two teams with history.

Now I've got ten days to understand all the game and explain it to my girlfriend.

French speaking blog

I wondered why I was creating my blog in English in this post. After giving it some thoughts I decided to create a blog en français. It doesn't appears much for now but I will submit content in it during the day. Of course I will not abandon this one, I have so little work to do in my internship (sadly) that I can handle both easily.
Since I am not a big fan of repeating myself, most content will be different. Experience Canada will focus more about Canada and less about my comments on the last Star Wars movie (even if it may still happen). The french one will have more random thoughts but will also cover Canada.
Ok, that's it and enjoy.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Montreal (1) Impressions

My first contact with Canadian soil was in Airport Pierre Eliott Trudeau which doesn't count. every airport look and feel the same way. The only thing is that I had the uncool experience of getting through immigration.
Well Canada began at the exit of the airport and here were my first impressions:
_ ATM only distribute money for either Visa or Mastercard, very convenient when you are needing cash for the taxi and there is no Visa ATM in view.
_ Canadians like big limos. I guess they share that love with americans. No french would ever dare to travel around with this even if he was Bill Gates (We don't like to show how rich we are)
_ Canadians cars are different (Well after one month I forgot in what domains, I should go back to France to refresh my memory)
_ THE SHAME: Canadians have electric pillars in the street like underdeveloped countries. Only the city center has got underground electricty.
_ Montreal doesn't seem that prosper; it is kind of a disapointment to see the standard of living is at better equal as in France. Maybe lower than the Paris suburb I live in (except from these big limos)
_ Food is only junk food. I imagined that before and it couldn't be more true. Very few choice in local supermarkets. restaurants all serve beef and fries. I think you know as much as I the desastrous state of food this side of the atlantic.

Well that is only a beggining. there are so much things to say yet. Good and Bad.

Truth about Canada?

I realize I haven't even started to talk about Canada in my blog, which is supposed to be the subject of it all.
My bad, I will start now by giving this good articles Top Ten Myths about Canada written by Jim Hynes.He is redactor of our website canadian winter and he rocks (his others articles are better but less in the subject of my blog). It is only justice since most of what I know about Canada is thanks to my colleagues.

So here it is:

Top Ten Myths About Canada Explained
By Jim Hynes

1. We live in igloos

A few of us do – in the northern latitudes. And not even year-round – and mostly just for fun. The rest of us live in regular houses and apartment buildings.

2. We get around by dog sled
Related to number 1. We actually get around in cars and on buses and trains. I’m actually afraid of dogs.

3. We all know each other

“My cousin Kevin lives in Vancouver, maybe you know him.”
Not likely, especially since I live 4,000 kilometres from Vancouver and there’s about 30 million people between him and me.

4. All Canadians play hockey
Many Canadians played hockey growing up, and many keep playing into adulthood. But many Canadians can’t even skate. And my wife hates hockey.

5. It’s always cold in Canada
Canadian winters typically feature some extremely cold days. But not that many. Many winter days are very comfortable (-5 to -10°C), and summers can get scorching hot, even in the far north – hot enough to melt our igloos.

6. All Canadians say "eh" and pronounce “about” “aboot”
The “eh” thing is true. The “aboot” part is not.

7. Everyone in Canada speaks French
French is the predominant language in the province of Quebec, although English is widely spoken there, particularly in Montreal. Overall, English is the first language of nearly 60 per cent of Canadians, while 23 per cent are French-speaking. Many Canadians speak both French and English.

8. Canada's national sport is
Most would say hockey. But up until 1994, Canada’s national sport was lacrosse. That year, hockey became Canada’s national winter sport. Lacrosse remains our national summer sport.

9. Our police officers all dress in red and ride horses
We can thank Hollywood for this one. Canada’s national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the rest of our police officers for that matter, usually wear regular uniforms, drive in cars and spend too much time in donut shops, just like American cops. RCMP officers will wear their famous red uniforms on special occasions.

10. Canadians only know how to play games and ice and snow
A Canadian, Dr. James Naismith, invented basketball (in Springfield, Massachusetts).

Well some of these myths seems like the American vision.
We have a different approach on Canada. For what I saw, I would say Canada=USA. I'll explain in later post (Not many chances I have to deal with angry canadians anyway)