Ah, les temps sont durs, faut faire des économies partout. Mais bon, le train non-chauffé le matin alors qu'il fait 0°C dehors, je trouve que c'est un peu limite de la part de la SNCF. D'habitude on se croirait dans un four mais là on s'est amusé à regarder la buée quand on respirait. C'est pas très pratique pour lire non plus... mes gants ne sont pas l'outil idéal pour tourner les pages.
Et puis c'est un de ces jours où je me dis que j'aurais mieux fait de rester au chaud, j'ai complètement zappé le fait que j'ai laissé mon déjeuner dans le frigo ce matin. Bah! C'est pas grave, il y a où acheter de bons trucs à manger par ici mais ce midi je devais manger de la purée de pomme de terre faite maison avec une sauce aux champignons aussi faite maison et des kiwis pour le dessert. Ca sera pour ce soir alors!
In other news I will probably have two more films to scan tonight so I should get the redscale one posted. Here is one of the reasons I love the Diana family: you can have multiple exposures and advance the film as much or as little as you want.
(click to see a much larger version of that image)
Montréal. End of August 2010. Diana Mini. Redscale 100.
( +3x2 - more of the canal and some other things )
This is what I've been working on. For this one I think I'll post the scans in proper order instead of randomly.
(on the right you can see a Cool Globe that used to be all over Marseille)
I always take one blank shot after I insert a new film... and then straight on to the proper shooting. I don't understand how people can respect the customary three blank shots. Don't they want happy accidents?
( +2 or 4, depends on how you count )
Have I already declared my love for the Diana Mini and redscale film? It is possibly the best combination in the world.
All good things must come to an end and this is the final entry on Canada (up until I finish the Diana Mini roll and get it developed). About 140 double photos later, that's it! Starting tomorrow there will be new exciting adventures known as "going back to work", you should see my schedule (settle in/meeting/lunch/meeting/discussion/
Lots of love for the country, lots of love for the lovely people of Quebec and lots of love to everyone who hasn't complained about the hundreds of photos and random babbles.
That bottom photo was taken from the bus to the airport. Now this is advice for peeps who might be coming to Montreal later on, those express buses will not stop if they are "full" to pick up people and they will not put more on the line during rush hour. So yes, you might have to wait an hour and a half to get an express bus that will stop to pick you up to go to the airport. Also, their definition of "full" is a bit strange because honestly if people didn't mind being a tad squished, twice as many people would get on and it wouldn't have been such a mess with people waiting for over an hour. Thank goodness I only had to wait for half an hour and at least it's apparently much better than it used to be, before you only had a normal city bus going from the airport!
I wish you had those limousine buses from Korean airports everywhere. From now on I'll forever compare transports to and from airports to those buses!
( 2x2 more photos - waiting in airports and flying )
My last night in Montreal I caught the start of the Festival des Films du Monde and the first outdoor screening. The film was Que la fête commence... from 1975, a proper French film d'époque, with Philippe Noiret and the forever-amazing Jean Rochefort. Alas there were no subtitles and many left early on as not everyone enjoys those kinds of productions.
I could probably watch anything as long as Rochefort's voice is there. Heck, I even got into equestrian sports because he was the commentator for those during the Athens Olympics!
The best part is that many people came prepared with their own folding chairs. You could also borrow a small pillow to sit on. Such brilliant organisation!
( 5x2 more photos - sky at night, reading lamps and more random food )
Things that make my morning: calling a place to know if they develop film (those places are getting so rare these days!) and having them tell me that they not only develop film but they also have a parking lot. It might sound strange but small places in Marseille on busy streets usually don't have one and that means either you park "en triple file" or you leave the car far away. Well, I could cycle there but I also need to go visit my friends at an SNCF boutique so I can get the papers to get my monthly pass TER + RTM.
Fun times this morning.
Back in Montreal though, the adventures along the old port continue!
They now have wifi along there and you can download and listen to stories related to the old port. Those stories are kind of cute and I would love to be able to tell you if those stories were in French or in English but I can't remember. They probably were in French.
( 7x2 more photos - listening to concerts, enjoying the rain and more adventures of that kind )
Well, it's good to be back home. Although now I'm starting to panic because "home" is no longer Helsinki and that's kind of scary and I have to commute to Toulon next week already. Driving down from the airport proved a good point though, you can't substitute driving experience in Marseille. If anyone asks me how to drive to the house from the airport I wouldn't be able to explain, I really don't know in my head but once on the road, the route just makes sense.
Oh and I was welcomed with one of the most impressively strong Mistal we've had in a while!
Of course the next few entries will still contain photos of Montreal! On Thursday I took the metro to the Atwater market and walked back to town from there because I wanted to see at least one of the locks on the canal.
It just so happened that the market wasn't all that interesting but I had one of the best pain aux raisins ever there. It was buttery, it was perfect!
( 10x2 more photos - locks, chess, ports and up until the start of the really touristy area )
Apparently yesterday was some kind of "demonstration"/"go on strike" day around Montreal. I was walking back from Chinatown and the Old Port when I saw two demonstrations complete with signs and all of that. Then in the evening I was one more.
While walking down some small streets in essentially what is Little Italy I noticed these two papers plastered on almost every lamppost. I don't know if it's because I grew up surrounded by what was supposed to be communism but these pamphlets amuse me so much. Yes, the world is fucked up but who can really think that everything can be solved by blaming the rich people. Sure they have money, if they didn't someone else would have it and be rich. It's not like in "communist" areas there are no rich people.
And world-famous-bagels #2. I took the exact same ones I got at Fairmount. I'm not quite sure which ones I liked best. All I know is that they're still both better than the regular store ones.
I should start thinking of going to go get my bags and head to the airport. I have no idea how the security lines are these days... I hope nothing as bad as at JFK, after all this is a much smaller airport. And my planes leaves at almost midnight. Midnight! I'll arrive home and it will already be 1pm. Sometimes I say I wish time would go faster but travelling eastwards always makes time travel way too fast.
I realise that there must be some gods of travelling that like me quite a lot because I seem to always have rather good weather abroad. And I'm not complaining, although it's true that a rainy day is a perfect excuse to sit in a cafe reading, sunny days are perfect for walks in the park and reading on stairs, etc.
The other day I woke up to a cloudy sky and I even got to use my umbrella for a couple of minutes. That was the day I headed out to the islands across from the old port... I don't know what I expected but those islands turned out quite less paradisiacal than I hoped. In the middle of it all I got the chance to have the most depressing, yet enlightening, discussion on a bus.
Alas some asshole cut down that flower the day after I got the photo. And the bioshpere is closed because of ongoing strikes.
( 4x2 more photos and stories of people who hope to win at slot games )
Ah. Montreal. I pretty much know the city center by heart now, the same for the old port, the walks along the river, Saint Urbain and Saint Laurent and to some extent Saint Denis. I had some major revelations to write but now they're gone from my head. So much for that.
From what I've seen in the past week, the best time to hang around the city is when the sun starts going down. It makes all those really tall buildings look much better.
( 3x2 more photos - chinatown, fashion choices and place des arts )
To the west of Mont Royal there is Lac des Castors but there weren't any castors in it. Very disappointing. There were lots of ducks and fishes and children feeding those ducks and fishes.
Judging by the signs close to the lake there must be a mini-skiing hill somewhere close by. At least they have a remontée mécanique. What is it called in English? Not a chairlift, not a gondola lift thing... really, I should know. There must be a more generic name than "j-bar".
In other news, in a way I'm glad I'm going home tomorrow (at midnight, who makes planes leave at midnight?) as my feet are starting to protest. Actually my black chucks are almost ready to fall apart but the photo doesn't really capture that. That's ok though, they've visited with me more cities and countries than some people will see in their lifetime.
( 4x2 more photos of squirrels, lakes and ducks )
Yesterday I went up to Mont Royal.
On paper it was a great idea but perhaps going there after already walking all the way from the city center to go get the Fairmount bagels was not so great. I wish I had a way of tracking just how much I walk around sometimes...
Mont Royal, what a perfect place it would be to go for a run! The main road goes up quite pleasantly and I bet there is time to get tired on it. I didn't bring my running shoes in my backpack, opting to bring dressier shoes for the conference days, but next time I shall bring them along.
( 7x2 more photos - Montreal from above, crosses and Marseille references )
Is there anyone else from the Oregon-Trail-on-school-computers era? I quite like this "trailer" that was made. I would absolutely love to see a real film based on the game with all the cult phrases. The trailer is hilarious, they've got so many details right... down to the way how we used to give horribly random names to the characters!
Now Montreal has two bagel addresses which fight over the title of "best bagel in the world". Both are open 24/7. Yes, tiny bagel shops open 24/7.
Yesterday I went to visit one of them, the Fairmount one. It's true that their bagels are good. They're fresh, they're not hard to chew and they're not perfectly round and with a perfect shape like the perfect ones you can get from a normal shop. I'll go try the other shop today to see how it compares.
But see... bagels and I, we're not in love. It's true those bagels were very, very good but I just don't seem to have what it takes to love bagels, it's not them, it's me. I suppose that for me bagels are meant to be breakfast food but they're just too heavy for me to eat them for breakfast. They could be lunch food when stuffed but honestly between a sandwich made with a fresh baguette and one made with a bagel, I'll take the baguette one.
As I said, it's really not them, it's me.
( 1x2 more of a 'regular' bagel from a 'regular' shop and some transformers on the street )
I live about three minutes away from Place des Arts and the other day I fell on a light/water show. That show ran for three test nights and it run for longer in September and October.
The kids usually quite enjoy the fountains, even without the coloured lights, but this time around they liked them even more.
( 4x2 more photos of Montreal adventures during night time )
What do people do on Sundays? Some people go to some random church, others sleep in... I skip lunch and have two breakfasts.
There really is a reason why I have a "Gali acts like a grown up" tag.
( 1x2 - the second breakfast involved cookies )
Funny thing was that at the place where I got my second breakfast the guy behind the counter would switch back and forth between English and French. It was kind of hilarious. First he took my order in French, then while he was making the coffee he asked in English if it was still raining outside, then he switched back to French. I kind of loved the people in Quebec.
Right. And remember what I said about there being degradations all over the place? Here are some examples.
Seeing the spelling, I do believe some people are just ignorant fools who try to provoke and only manage to do so poorly.
( 2x2 more of small degradations/stickers + 2x2 photos of random streets )
I'm kind of behind on my Canada spamming! But I have discovered new things! You can buy milk here in plastic bags... but it's only in a plastic bag if you want a couple gallons of milk. This is so exciting but absolutely not practical, still very, very exciting.
How much sugar have I had? Not much. I did have one too many sweet breads from the Chinese bakery.
And now on to the spammage. In case someone did not know, I stayed at one of the Laval University residences, about 20 minutes away from the Quebec City center. I made some new friends there. They were shy though and I only managed to capture one of them on camera.
I have no clue what those things were, prairie dogs perhaps, castors? Probably the locals were all thinking "just how crazy is she?" while I was trying to approach these guys without them running off. Makes me wonder if there are crazy tourists taking photos of the city bunnies in Helsinki.
( 5x2 more photos of the campus and bus stops )
As I previously mentioned there are a couple of famous good restaurants in Quebec City and after having tried two of them and listening to what the other patrons were saying, I can understand most online reviews.
The other day I went for brunch at L'Echaudé which is by no means a very upscale restaurant but let's say that it's in the classier range of local bistros. For example you get a small mise-en-bouche (alas not pictured because I sometimes suck at taking photos, especially when I'm hungry) and other such things. The prices are pretty reasonable, the food is excellent and I had the loveliest waiter in the world who understood my love of desserts.
I even tried some local white wine and I must say it was rather good. I would love to bring some back for my dad but I doubt it'd survive very long in my backpack. Perhaps they'll be selling some at the airport! I had an egg roll with smoked mozzarella, the best thing in the world, served with baked potatoes and salad. And then I had some sorbet because I like dessert, I forgot to ask what brand of sorbet they serve but it wasn't sugary which is my main problem with most sorbets. (BTW, the whole thing wine + mise en bouche + main dish + dessert + tax + tips cost me less than 30 bucks again, not bad if you ask me.)
Now on to the stories of the patrons. There were a lot of tourists and I was amazed by what they ordered! They ordered steak. No exception! The menu had such wonderful things and they ordered steak (and then complained that it wasn't properly done just as they liked)! Perhaps they didn't know what the things on the menu were but they could have asked. Then again maybe I have a different perception of these kinds of things because I don't really enjoy meat... but if you're a meat lover why go for steak when there is duck and other good meat on the menu? If you enjoy steak so much, why not go to a steak place where they'll know how to cook your steak just as you like it?
I'm a huge egg lover so for me the egg dishes at these restaurants are pure bliss. In normal restaurants you just get eggs. Here you get extremely good eggs with amazing variations and flavours and everything goes together so well. Plus there are flowers in the salad. That gets 123987 extra points.
( 1x2 more photos - flowers and dessert )
Conclusion: if you're going to Quebec City, ask me about their restaurants!
Also, ViaRail, you amazing company! You provide me with free interwebs in your train stations and it's rather good! And now if only you could upgrade your wifi on trains so that it would actually work, I'd love you forever and ever and ever. SNCF, please learn from these guys!
Right. In an hour or so I'll be in the train back to Montreal... en attendant, I'm eating a bagel and it's the start to "Gali hunts down bagels in Canada". I have four and a half days for this mission.
On Saturday I decided to walk to the city from the Laval campus. GoogleMaps told me that it would take 1 hour and 23 minutes going by the shortest route but I took some detours to visit the "suburbs".
I also ended up reading and having a morning siesta out in the sun as there was a great park along the way.
( 7x2 more photos - new furry friends, museums and parks )
On a completely unrelated note I had a strange dream last night and all I can remember is that somehow my sister knew who Aiba from Arashi was. Who? What? Where? Why? How? I have no idea. But Kso knew who Aiba was.
I've been asked a few questions a couple of times in the last few months and I've given short replies to the people asking... but here is a more complete entry on stuff related to the photos posted here.
The main things that always comes back are "don't you have a life? why do you post so many photos? don't you spend hours editing them and writing the posts?" and similar questions. To put it simply, no, I do not spend that much time editing the photos and writing the posts. I would say that I spend maximum an hour each day but most of the time it's about half an hour while doing other things. Some people have gardening projects, I have this LJ. Here is how typical post-photo taking time goes:
- I take the SD card out of my camera and copy the photos taken on my computer.
- I look through the photos and delete the ones that aren't good enough or do not really tell a story.
- I sort the photos two by two, this way even more photos get kicked out of the lot.
- I put those photos together with some slight editing here and there.
- I upload them and write the post... with raw html so there is no need to spend hours on the layout of the post.
(- Eventually I also upload the unedited photos on Flickr for archiving and backing purposes.)
The text in the posts is probably what takes the least amount of time. In my case, a photo is worth a lot of words... I post often because I post about what's going on, I don't wait three days to have enough for a huge post, I like to pretend that my life is so interesting but in reality I just have a terrible memory. This also forces me to go through my photos and sort them. How many people out there take tons of photos and never really do anything with them? Isn't that just a waste of technology and time?
Oh and probably I can make a book of my entries and give it as a present to my grandparents for Christmas. Easy peasy! I would do the same for my parents but my mum religiously reads my entries so it wouldn't be as exciting.
Overall the thing that takes the most time is actually going out there and find adventures.
I should also mention that sometimes I shamelessly inspire myself from the work of others (but I do leave comments on their blogs telling them that I like their work... so it's ok), like for the shoes photos.
And I get to play with different settings on the camera and shamelessly spam with photos of flowers.
And as a final note I should probably mention that all the edited twoxtwo photos are also uploaded on this Tumblr... because not everyone wants to read entries and some people don't feel like clicking on lj-cuts to see all the photos.
I think that covers everything pretty much.
Except for the cameras maybe. I mainly use my E-P1 these days with the kit 14-42mm lens but I'm looking into getting a 50mm lens (or possibly a 20mm because the 50mm micro four-thirds lens is extremely expensive and I don't feel like getting a huge lens for a tiny camera). I also take tons of photos with my Diana Mini in half-frame mode so I don't get to develop films often. My on-the-go camera, when I don't feel that bringing the E-P1 is safe or handy, is the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX12, I absolutely love that point-and-shoot. Eventually I'll get my dad's Zenith-E (limited Olympic Games edition!) properly looked at... right now the mechanism to release the film gets stuck but otherwise everything works!
Did I forget anything?
First, as always, I went to visit a supermarket in this foreign land. Alas it seems that the number of strange and amazing things decreases when one knows the language of the country. I did find some rainbow Twizzlers though! Rainbow ones! They still have no taste like regular Twizzlers but at least they're rainbow coloured.
And second, please some explain to me the stupid concept of indicating the price before taxes? Really what's the point? "Oh the price is 3.99 CAD, that's great, I'll be able to get rid of some of my 2 CAD coins! Oh wait, it's actually 4.XX CAD because of the stupid tax... great, here's a 5 CAD bill and more coins go in my wallet, awesome." Yes, that's me on a daily basis.
Probably the argument is that since the taxes are different in each region, indicating the "real" sale price (what the store is getting) without the taxes lets you know if the store is cheating you out of money or not. Still, it's not helping! Heck, why not indicate both prices before and after tax? A bit like two prices were indicated everywhere during the euro transition.
Honestly I'm already having a hard time thinking of tips (don't get me started on that!) so trying to remember that the real price of what I'm buying is actually 20% or so higher is horrible. Just how many years does one need to live around here to get used to this?