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Canada, again - helen-louise
baratron
baratron
Canada, again
Oh dear. I have made Richard unhappy. I didn't quite realise that he was talking about going back to Canada THIS TUESDAY i.e. 28th January i.e.in a week. I was focused too hard on the being in Toronto around the middle of February part and not really thinking about the beginning of the trip.

I know nothing about Montreal other than that they speak weird Quebec French, the Biodome is really good, and anything I have picked up from the Kathy Reichs books which are set there. I shall have to search papersky and redbird's past lj entries about things to do in Montreal. And I need to find out how accessible the city is, especially in winter weather conditions.

I am now very stressed because I need to get enough meds and clothes for the trip, as well as sorting out enough work to take with me. I'm planning to work for half the time and look at museums, zoos etc for the rest of the time. (Probably one day of work followed by a day of sightseeing). A week doesn't seem like long enough to sort everything out. Argh!

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Current Mood: stressed stressed

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the_siobhan From: the_siobhan Date: 20th January 2014 20:59 (UTC) (Link)
Do you speak French? They understand "proper" French just fine, but you will have a lot of trouble understanding them. OTOH, most people in the city speak English as well.
baratron From: baratron Date: 20th January 2014 21:51 (UTC) (Link)
I can read French, and understand spoken Belgian French (the type I am most familiar with), and write it with extreme difficulty due to being completely rusty. I'm not terribly good at speaking it at all. Ah well. In the worst case, people will just think I'm a stupid tourist :)
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baratron From: baratron Date: 20th January 2014 22:02 (UTC) (Link)
Assuming they're booking him in the same hotel as before, it's Le Westin Montreal.

I wonder how big the "huge snow tyres" are? My wheelchair has pretty big tyres - it's suitable for off-road use, although not a dedicated outdoor sports chair. Hmm. We have a couple of different sets of tyres here, anyway. And the wheelchair itself weighs enough that it doesn't skid, except down ramps.

Indigo and Chapters sound good, but is there by any chance an independent science fiction bookstore that has books in English? Whenever I travel to North America I buy all the books I want which aren't published at home :) Well, as many as I can carry, anyway. And I prefer to support independents when I can.

I wondered about the Botanical Garden! Sometimes they have a lot to see in winter, other times they are mostly dead. I expect we'll go there one weekend. We tend to be interested in live animals (especially wolves and bears, although bears in their natural habitat will be hibernating right now), plants and trees, sciencey stuff, and art. So I expect we'll be going to le Musee des Beaux Arts as well. Apparently it's "just down the road" from the hotel.

Would you be interested in meeting up for dinner any time? (It's fine if you're too busy, given that I haven't seen you since you moved to Canada).
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baratron From: baratron Date: 21st January 2014 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
Chinese is my default "I am in a foreign place" cuisine! If necessary I can eat stir-fried vegetables and plain rice, though most Chinese restaurants can manage nuts and/or tofu for protein.

I also like Vietnamese, cooked Japanese (not sushi), Indian, Italian, Lebanese... Pretty much anything except for Thai, which I have problems with because I hate both cilantro and lemongrass. Oddly, becoming vegan has made me very much less fussy than I used to be, because I can eat anything that's vegan without getting ill.

Hadn't heard of the Granby Zoo before (don't remember seeing it on the random touristy website that I found). There was another zoo that was basically what we call a safari park in the UK, where you have to stay in your car and drive around because the animals are loose, but "safari" park doesn't seem like the right word for Canadian native animals, and they didn't supply an alternative ;) We were vaguely interested in the Ecomuseum Zoo, but they are startlingly vague about how to get there:
How do I get to the zoo using public transit?
Visit the Société de transport de Montréal website at www.stm.info for information on how to get to the Ecomuseum zoo using public transit.
and I haven't looked it up yet.
hobbitbabe From: hobbitbabe Date: 20th January 2014 21:55 (UTC) (Link)
If it helps, I'd advise you to think of it as reading French and speaking English. People who deal with the public switch to English very easily and courteously (even to me, with my obviously-Canadian accent in English). I would recommend restaurants but I can't remember the specifics of your dietary things ... do you eat dairy?

I love visiting Montreal.
baratron From: baratron Date: 20th January 2014 22:10 (UTC) (Link)
I'm vegan because animal proteins and I Do Not Get Along. Chinese is almost always good, especially if they have bean curd on the menu and understand Buddhist-type diets. Indian can be good, though I tend to favour South Indian vegetarian restaurants over general Indian places. I love Italian food, although some Italian places have virtually nothing that's even lacto-vegetarian. To be honest, the only cuisine I actively dislike is Thai - I have the genetic trait of "cilantro is icky" and also really hate lemongrass.

I have the HappyCow list of restaurants, but half of them sound terrifying ("raw" food? In winter?) or will be too far out, so recommendations are always good.
kshandra From: kshandra Date: 21st January 2014 00:21 (UTC) (Link)
"Reading French and speaking English" is a brilliant way of putting it.

When I was in Montreal for Worldcon, the phrase I was taught to use in stores, restaurants, etc. was "Bonjour-hi" as shorthand for "I'd love to communicate in your native language, but I'll just make a hash of it." ;-)
redbird From: redbird Date: 20th January 2014 23:55 (UTC) (Link)
I hope some of my past posts are helpful—just about all of the relevant ones are tagged "Montreal," along with some that probably won't be relevant to your purposes—but I wasn't looking at accessibility at the level you need. (Even if I'm talking about things being easier to deal with/get to, bad knees don't stop me from riding escalators.)

Edited at 2014-01-20 23:57 (UTC)
epi_lj From: epi_lj Date: 21st January 2014 02:28 (UTC) (Link)
Montreal is pretty wonderful, but the weather is rather nasty right now and for the next little while. Pack warm clothes.

Pretty much everybody there speaks English. In touristey places they do seem to appreciate if you make a halting attempt to speak French first, but they will immediately flip over to English. My experience of businesses and other non-tourist attractions (our head office is in Montreal) is that 90% of business is conducted in English, and that virtually everybody is fluent.

I went to an art gallery there that I quite liked, but I cannot remember what it was called now. :(

They don't fluoridate the water!
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