Welcome to Canada

We’re still in PV and held up a bit trying to take care of all of our outstanding issues. The bus is running, but still not great. I’m working on it and making more trips to Alberto’s. Also, we had shipped a package (a fairly expensive one) to ourselves at the condo several weeks ago and it never arrived. It’s simply disappeared and no one claims to know anything about it. It just hasn’t been our week (or two.) We’re still camped here and will stay until we take care of all the miscellaneous whatnot.

We’re in an RV park that’s pretty close to the center of Puerto Vallarta. But, It turns out it’s actually in the middle of Quebec. No kidding. We are the only non-French speaking people in the entire place. Instead of saying “Hola!” to everyone we meet, we now say “Bonjour!” It’s Weirdsville.
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It’s not that all of Canada isn’t represented – it is. But they’re all originally from Quebec. There’s someone here with Alaskan plates, but he’s French Canadian too.

It’s actually kind of interesting – being immersed in Montreal in Mexico. It seems like we’re on an entirely different trip. But, Bode is frustrated. He’s found some kids here and tried to initiate some sort of play with them and they refuse to speak to him – literally. He’s been playing with the local Mexican kids every day with no regards to language and they have all been great. The French-Canadian kids have an attitude. He’s speaking in some taboo tongue and they literally turn around and ignore him. He even tried some Spanish to no avail. C’est la vie?

The good news is that our decision whether or not to stay at this particular campground has been made for us. We’re being evicted to make way for a giant Canadian caravan. From Quebec. A big soiree and we’re not invited. Au revoir!

Also, I was listening to The Mountain Goats today and thought I would share what is possibly the worst song lyric ever: “Our love is like the border between Greece and Albania.” This makes Neil Diamond’s “…song she sang to me, song she brang to me” sound like poetry. I think the Spice Girls had some of the worst lyrics ever (not that I would know,) but the border between Greece and Albania?

One more fun fact: You can get a roll of toilet paper and a popsicle for 10 pesos.

6 thoughts on “Welcome to Canada

  • March 19, 2010 at 9:21 AM
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    The Quebecois are a special breed – the license plate says it all. I recall my dad telling how a group of Quebecois electricians had come down to work on a construction site and refused to speak to most of the men on the job. They opened up to my dad after he told them his mother’s relations had come from Quebec. Unfortunate this separatist arrogance is bread into their offspring at such an early age.

  • March 19, 2010 at 2:05 PM
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    Hi Gotfrid.

    I am sorry you have such a distorted experience of French Canadians. Whenever possible, we invite you to visit us in Sherbrooke, Québec, to give us a chance to help change your opinion of us and our kids.

    I don’t know any people of the world which breeds arrogance into their offspring. I believe, and I could be wrong, that arrogance arises as a defence mechanism when someone (or a group of persons) feel inadequately prepared to face the world.

    Until the end of the 60s, the people of Québec have been held under the tight management of the catholic church and the politic establishments (and to some extend, I must admit, by their English bosses).

    In the 70s, the separatist movement came into power with the explicit goal to separate from these forces that kept its population in the dark for so long. Resentment was strong toward the “English” as about 80% of the province’s wealth was owned by English Canada.

    Nowadays, There are still around 40% (depending on who you talk to) of the population that seem to be incline to separate. However, after 3 referendums, it has not happened. Lots has changed since the 70s. We are not under the yoke of religion and politics. We, as pretty much the whole world, are now fighting a common threat: globalisation, world economy and the depletion of our planet.

    There are still a few here that hold a grudge towards the English people. I suspect it might forever be that way.

    In every societies, there are different factions and I have yet to meet a person or a group of persons that depict the true color of their people. To really experience the true nature of a province (or state or country), immersion and time are of the essence…

    License plates are a mystery to me. I have been to New Mexico and although I loved touring its wonderful back roads, I have not seen any fairy folks in this “Land of Enchantment”.

    I can also say that the Sunshine State was not living up to its motto this past winter…

  • March 19, 2010 at 2:16 PM
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    I moved to Quebec from Vancouver eleven years ago and everywhere we went, people were nice to me even when I didn’t speak French hardly at all. They were mostly excited to practice speaking English with me.

    So I’m sorry you guys had such a bad experience! Don’t worry – your ‘little’ Montreal is not like the big one.

  • March 20, 2010 at 4:51 AM
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    I travelled often to Montreal and Quebéc, including Quebéc City, Alma, Trois Rivières, Grand Mére, Sherbrook, Gatineau, Témiscaming, and even vacationed at Mt. Tremblant.

    Well, enough to learn conversational Quebécois. It is my most travelled Canadian Province outside of BC.

    I’ve always found that most of the people of Quebec are very generous and nice. I also found most couldn’t speak English outside of Montreal very well either, so I learned to adapt.

    Quebecois are proud of their province and heritage. And rightfully so. Although as a foreigner, I wasn’t often welcomed with open arms as one would hope (maybe due to the language).

    I am not sure I understand why one would not really try to learn English, as it seems to be a universal way to help with employment in tough times. Learning English doesn’t necessarily destroy your culture. But it does broaden it. But I understand the concerns and Canadian Content Laws, etc.

    Many years ago, there was a great ad campaign called “I am Canadian” by Molsen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRI-A3vakVg

    There was also a funny spoof called “I am not Canadian” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TncdhLGjFTE

    Some of it was close to true. I never quite got the “no right on red” laws.

  • March 20, 2010 at 8:55 AM
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    I don’t get the no turns on red light laws either except that the drivers here are not very considerate of pedestrians and this gives the pedestrians a fighting chance!

    I teach English to French students in college – they have two mandatory English courses to take. Unfortunately the history is that the people in the regions away from the cities are easily kept in the dark (first by the church, now by some politicians…)

  • March 22, 2010 at 10:22 AM
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    Ghislain-

    The Germanic origin of my name certainly implies a certain bias toward most things French – I freely admit this bias and try to keep it to myself (unsuccessfully at times…). I willingly acknowledge the exaggeration of my final statement and retract it. Certainly I cannot know outright why these particular Quebecois children, in contrast to the locals, refused to play with their 4 year old peer, other than to suggest emulation of their parents’ behavior, which may be nothing more innocuous than vacationing and feeling comfortable within the circle of their own friends/sojourning provincial citizenry.

    Thank you for considerate follow-up to my entry. I fed into a stereotype, whose perpetuation I share I responsibility in breaking.

    Cheers.

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