I was surprised more than anyone that we were on our way. We say aboard a Via Rail train (Canadian version of Amtrak for you American folk) on our way to Montreal. It was cheaper to fly out of the northern Francophone city than from Toronto or Ottawa and less hectic than adding an extra pair of visits with angry customs folks by heading southish to Syracuse. Also cheap moi had enough travel points to get us train transport for free. Granted, as usual, I didnt account for the cost of parking a car for a week at the rail station… nor my wife for the cost of a needed hotel stay and rousing ones selves when one books a six am flight.
So we sit on a train.
Chug a chug a chug.
It had been a stress inducing few weeks leading up however due to the need to arrange child transportation and care and paperwork for medical supplies for my wife. And buying food they would eventually not eat choosing to be away from home at others places for six of eight days. Oh and not to mention a minor plumbing disaster a week before we left. And work issues. All in all a day before leaving I was at DEFcon 3 and ready to accept losing a few grand and just staying home.
But chug chug chug. We were on a train.
Transport from train station was simple. It was Canada! We are Canadian! No lanuage issues. Everyone speaks engkish! Sure we grew up learning French but realistically, contrary to what they taught us in school and what advocates of French immersion for kids will tell you *, living outside of Quebec you rarely if ever need or use what French you know. Ever. It is all a big lie. And you feel anxious when placed in a situation when you may have to use it.
No French used apart from eavesdropping on others and dropping a “oui merci” here and there immediately followed by a “yes please” so you come off as polite but there being no mistake you are Anglais. We got from train to airport to hotel and ate the best spaghetti Bolognese I had had In years. (Far better than the Tom Hiddleston Bolognese disaster a few years back…).
We slept and set the alarm for two am.
Day 1: We Arrive… Hell is Other People