Friday, August 7, 2009

Feels like Cape Cod. Sounds like Quebec

I was awake at 6:10 this morning. As I dozed in my sleeping bag I took stock of what needed to be done this morning to prepare for the trek home. About twenty five minutes later the people camping next to us started to stir…husband and wife were going about the business of making breakfast…and they were speaking French. Actually…of the four sites within earshot of mine…three of them are occupied by Quebecois. In fact, from a casual conversation from one of the park rangers I gleaned that most of the people presently staying at our camp grounds are from Quebec.

Our vacation was originally going to be spent in Montreal but because our government wishes to strip away our liberty under the guise of keeping us safe we now need passports to return from Canada (yes…I would rather be left alone than be “safe”). I let my passport lapse and could not get it renewed on time to go to Canada. So it is sort of neat that Quebec came to us this summer.
As I started my day I could not help but hear the couple next to me. Unfortunately my French is very limited but from what I could hear they were talking about eggs and how their kids won’t like breakfast….it’s comforting to know that picky kids are not unique to Anglophone cultures. As for the rest of the conversation that I did not understand...I am sure that it involved hockey, Molson beer, and cigarettes.

Yes cigarettes. If North Carolina tobacco farmers are concerned that declining numbers of smokers in the United States will cut into their business they need not be concerned. The Province of Quebec stands ready to support them. These people know how to smoke. At their camp sites, waiting for the shower, on the beach, and in their cars, our French speaking neighbors to the north are able to smoke for speed, distance, and accuracy.

Beach side smoking is something that always fascinated me as the beach struck me as the last place I would want to smoke. As an occasional cigar smoker and reformed social smoker, there are places where it seems appropriate to light up and places that aren't. It never occurred to me to smoke at the beach. Apparently, the beach is the perfect venue to smoke for our northern neighbors. See a middle aged man at a Cape Cod beach with his stomach draped over his Speedo holding a smoke….yup…you got it…he is from Quebec (or from Revere).

Actually…I am being a little unfair….ok…very unfair…the people from Quebec that I met on our little vacation were very nice, my neighbors particularly so. Endearing were their enthusiastic attempts to get by on their limited English (as an aside…I hope we as hosts were more tolerant of their limited English than the natives were of my limited French when I last visited Quebec). My kids found very amusing the conversation I had with the husband who wanted to know what the weather was going to be like today. He struggled with his English and I with my French…I think I told him to expect a blizzard today.

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