La Ville de Québec!

Friday: We arrived in Québec City at around 5 pm – it wasn’t a very long trip from Chicoutimi, only 2 hours or so. After we dropped off our luggage at the University of Laval, everyone went off in their separate ways for dinner. I ended up eating at a Pizzeria along with eight other people. The pizza was pretty overpriced, but the server was friendly. Although there was a bit of confusion at the end when I went to pay because he asked me something in French and when he tried to explain in English, it made me even more confused. I finally understood that he was asking for how much tip I wanted to give (later on, I found out that it was the custom for all servers to ask for tips here in Québec. Do people do this too in Alberta?). Anyway, it was a very lovely street, where the restaurant was. Very quaint. Very charming. It was like Pleasantville or something.  Afterwards, we strolled down to a busier part of the city where we saw many street performers (some painfully mediocre – I have a video!), street artists and vendors, artisans, etc. It was such a cool part of the city. Québec’s night life rocks! A whole bunch of the students and animateurs later met up and we all went to see an outdoor show called “ Le Moulin à Images” (http://monquebec2008.sympatico.msn.ca/MonQuebec2008/?eventid=287&id=1&module=events) in celebration of Québec’s 400th anniversary! The show basically told the story of how Québec came to be (historical highlights, etc). It was beautiful. Difficult to describe though. There were pipes turning, a large building in the middle, and pictures flashed over it like a slide show. Québec is such a gorgeous city – absolutely stunning. Cobblestone streets, horse drawn carriages, bright coloured lights at night, live music on every corner, cafés and boutiques… One street, called Rue St. Jean, had shop after shop lined up one right after the other – each one unique and different. There was a French Christian bookstore, a candy shop called, “C’est Si Bon”, and one of Québec’s most popular clothing stores, “Simons”. There was so much walking Friday night that I was completely exhausted at the end of the day.

Saturday: After a large breakfast at Laval, we hurried to pack up and wait for our bus to take us to the Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec. It was a beautiful museum that reminded me a lot of the Met in New York City. There were two buildings attached to one another. The first one used to be a prison for notorious female criminals (ok, this building wasn’t that beautiful, but the other one was a looker!). The prettier building is nicknamed the “Louvre à Québec”. I wish I could’ve taken a photo of the sculptures, but photography was forbidden. There was one statue of “Daphne and Chloe” (if I remember correctly)… I could look at that one all day. After our visit to the museum, Jenny and I walked down the streets and had lunch at a lovely Crêperie. It was so hot that day. And there were so many people like you wouldn’t believe! Way more street performers than the night before. We walked the same road as the previous day and it was just bustling during the day. Caricaturists sketching, the scent of freshly baked pastries, traditional Québec music played live from violin/accordion/flutes/etc – and not to mention the amazing architecture! This is one sweet place to live. We shopped for the rest of the day down on Rue St. Jean (it makes 17th Ave look like a strip mall). Ooh there was also a Musée du Chocolat where I bought myself strange tasting ice cream. I asked the lady what it was in French, and she said something that I couldn’t understand and because there was a growing line behind me I told her I’d have that one. Obviously, my French comprehension could use some more work. But in my defense, the Québécois accent makes it difficult to understand! I found that the majority of people responded to us in English, even when we replied back in French. Oh there was also this old man who asked if I was Viet, and I when I told him I was Chinese, he asked me how long I’ve been in Canada, and when I told him I was born in Calgary, Alberta, he asked if I had lost the ability to speak Chinese. Some things don’t change, eh? Haha…

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