Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Having fun is costly....





































So I haven't posted since December 26th, intentionally.

I decided to shut it down for a mini Christmas vacation with just Alice and I.

Instead of going south were I was pointing, Alice thought it would be more fun to go East and North to Quebec. I figured why not, it's about the journey not the destination. I'm so glad I listened to her.

First off I want to say that I come from this era where people from Quebec were viewed as separatists and often stories would be told of how rude they are to English speaking people. That even though they could speak English they pretend they can't.

So this was the mindset I had going into Quebec. I was defensive.

The reality couldn't have been more opposite. Our entire time in Quebec the people were beyond awesome! It seemed that once they knew we were English they became even nicer to us and spoke English or brought us English menu's. They are definitely not the Quebec generation of old, or at least they hid it really well.

We broke the trip down into about 3 hour driving blocks. We made it to Montreal. Then to Quebec City. Then Back to Montreal and finally a stay in Kingston. It was 6 days that flew by and aside from the cold, which I HATE with a passion, it was a great time.

Part of what made it fun was it was just Alice and I on a road trip. Reminded me of when we were 17 or 18 years old and went on a similar road trip from Winnipeg to Minneapolis in the winter. At that time I had my mom's old car, a Pontiac Ventura, with a big hole in the floor boards that when you went over a puddle you'd get splashed.

To this day I still remember that trip. I remember stopping in Moorhead, having beers and shooting pool with these over sized pool ques, then getting lost in Minneapolis. This was the era of the map, not the GPS.

That was one of my favourite trips and not I think our Quebec Trip topped it or is at least right up there.

Why?

There was no destination planning. It was just go where the magic truck took us. There was no hotels to be booked until we were minutes away from needing one and when we needed one it was on to Hotel.com or Tripadvisor to find and book a hotel. I absolutely love those apps and the reviews. In every single case we got awesome hotels along the way.

We had not time table. We didn't know if we were going to be away 3 days or 10 days. We just let it happen.

We had no scheduled agenda. We would just find a hotel in the heart of a place and walk around and sit our selves down in a place that looked cool. We never go to live music and by chance we had 3 of the nights out where we found a place playing live music. Damn is live music awesome. I forget about that. There is an energy live music throws off that you don't get with recorded music.

Each of the live music days were completely different.

One of the nights it was a cover band and it was the location of a bachorette party for a young 19 year old girl getting married who was definitely partying hard. Definitely too young to get married in my mind. Mind you this is Quebec....maybe it's different there....

Second night it was all French music and it was all young people. Very cool. It is very apparent that in the French culture the women are most in control. It was cool to see, almost reverse of what you normally see. Instead of the men partying hard like the movie "Top Gun", it was the women. Quebec is definitely "women power". I liked it.

Third night was New Years and all older people with grey hair dancing to 60's and 70's music. They rocked it out. I felt young being there by about 20 years, we were ALMOST out of place. It was stimulating to just people watch. The guys in the band were not very good singers but it didn't matter to anybody, it was the beat and the memories that song carried.

In all the cases we closed the places down. It was just awesome.

Food wise?

Well lets say that's all we did was eat. I threw out all governor on the food. I ate more french fries and poutine and crap that I've eaten all year long in just 6 days. I ate so much I could feel myself growing and my clothes tightening up. But Alice got me through it with some sage advice like "get over it" and "you still look good to me". All good enabler advice.

I figured what the hell, what I lose in 6 days I can make back up in 12 days if eat properly and workout.

We had some great sleeps. No alarm clocks. Wake up when your body says it's time to wake up. We slept so much I had to get up some days because my back was getting sore from lying down.

Even one of the most fun parts was my screaming how "F#CKEN" cold it was over and over almost every night we were walking around. In Kingston we got lost and could find our hotel and I felt like I was 15 years old again walking around in Winnipeg freezing my ass off. In a twisted way it brought back some good memories.

I screamed about the cold from Kingston to Montreal to Quebec City and it was only about -12 C. Mind you with windchill it was probably - 20 C. I have no idea how people live in that cold. Yes, I used to, and I can't recall how I did that. That's insane.

With that said we are definitely coming back in the summer. If it was warm out I could see us walking around for days and days on end just exploring aimlessly.

It also just goes to show that destination isn't as important. What's important is hanging out with someone you want to and just having fun and being open to any possibilities.

Heck we should be doing the same thing at home in Toronto. There is so much to do here we could just rent a hotel room downtown and explore. It's easy to not even see what you have in your own backyard.

Alice and I both agree this might be our best ever holiday together. It was definitely fun on so many levels.

The kids said with was hard to miss us with all my Facebook Postings.

I find that really interesting, it shows the power of social media. That even though you are away, if you are connecting with each other online it doesn't feel like you're away. The web sure removes distance. I find the friends I have online I kibitz with, most are not within 1000 miles of me and it feels like real genuine friendships. Some I've yet to meet in person.

Social media also got us to some restaurants. People I know referring us to stop somewhere. Again the power of social media never ceases to amaze me. It's a whole new world. I like it.

One highlight of the trip was on the way back there was a huge accident on the 401. A tanker truck flipped and crossed the entire road. By the time we got there the road had been shut down for a couple hours. We happened to make it to one of those EnRoute rest stops and were locked in there. On my iPhone I saw there was as back way out but when I checked it out the road was locked off by a big gate. If I was able to get through that gate we were free.

I walked up to it. Pulled on the lock. Nothing.

Turns out that somebody got someone to open it for only a brief moment of time. I found out and it wasn't easy navigating the cars and semi trucks in the parking lot but I got to the gate seconds before the guy was closing it. Yes!!!! We were free. I felt like I won the lottery. Had we not got through it would have been at least another 30 min to an hour waiting as traffic was just starting to move. I've never been more pumped and excited in all my life. Especially as I drove out and the route was along the highway and I could see all the people in gridlock.

Also, now thanks to Alice I'm also becoming very metro sexual. She bought me some Nivea for men skin creme. We'll see how long that lasts. It seems like a lot of work to have to put it on daily and I'm narcissistic but not sure if I'm that narcissistic. Or I may just be more lazy than anything.

What can I say...It was an awesome Christmas vacation. Now I have 5 more days to relax before getting back to work and by saying relax I mean "stop eating crap food and get back to exercising".

It's definitely going to happen. Since coming back from Arizona in great shape and maintaining up until Christmas it's been like I'm on a drug it feels so great. Highly addictive. I want that high back.

I also want this cold to stop and snow to melt. In Toronto we normally don't have snow on the ground very long. I'm done with it. Christmas is over. Please melt. Fun was fun, now lets get back to reality.

Other than that....It was an awesome Christmas with family and mini vacation hanging with Alice.


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