Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Hello-Bonjour from Canada!

Hello-Bonjour everyone!

I arrived safely in Montreal yesterday in the late afternoon local time / midnight German time. The flight to Amsterdam (where I had to change planes for Montreal) was rather short but I was sitting next to an American travelling to Detroit who had been on a business trip in Europe. He'd travelled the world various times and consequently, the 50-minute flight was way too short for a reasonably substantial conversation. However, he invited me to spend my layover time with him in the KLM Crown Lounge at Amsterdam Schipol Airport: free drinks (5 different kinds of juices, tea, coffee and more), free food (rolls, hot and cold buffets), free wi-fi connection and comfortable chill-out seats to just sit back and relax!
Luckily, my connecting flight took off on time - 'only' 7 and a half hours till Canada =) Time literally flew and the Dutch air hostesses virtually filled us with food! Us - that's an elderly couple from Quebec City - and me. I was totally confused about whether to speak English or French because they seemed to love to play it by ear. They were actually quite untypical of people their age. I mean - my grandma wouldn't go on holiday to South Africa. Well, she wouldn't even fly but that's a different story. Those people, however, seemed more than happy to take on a 20-hour journey for their annual "big vacation".
Upon asking them about immigration procedures in Canada, they just said: "There'll be an officer asking you questions about what you intend to do in Canada. But don't worry - you have a good face!" - Well thank you :-D
The enormous queue at Montreal Airport Immigration was soon forgotten when I met Hannah again after 5 and a half years! She studies here at the "Université de Montréal" and invited me to come over for a visit. This is also why I got to attend a psychology lecture today! Interestingly, the teacher hands out little "télévoteurs" so that all students can participate in an initial quiz. You simply press the button for the answer that you think is correct on your "télévoteur" and the teacher gets a diagramme on her computer. Do that same quiz again after the lecture and you get an idea of your students' learning progress =) Genius!
The topic - Short-term Memory - was really quite interesting as well. But the thing is: lectures here take 3 hours as opposed to 1.5 hours in Germany - and they're held in Québécois French. And now that's something to get used to, trust me! "Il n'y o pô d'chauses dzifférentes lô." ["Il n'y a pas de choses différentes là!" - just to combine a few examples.]
Another thing to get used to is the cold. Flying over Newfoundland and Labrador on the way to Montreal, I saw nothing but drift ice and mountains covered in snow - for hours!

Drift Ice, miles off Canada's coast

Newfoundland and Labrador from above

Frozen River

Saint Lawrence River with drift ice

 You would think that it gets warmer the further south you go but DUH! Montreal's climate is so humid that temperatures are indicated in both 'actual degrees' and 'felt temperature'. An example of today: actual degrees -15°C / 5°F, felt temperature -25°C / -13°F. And in case you've never seen snow piled up as high as a mini-van, check this out:

Heaps of snow... literally :-O

And what do you do when you're already freezing once you're out the door? Right... climb a hill! The "Oratoire Saint-Joseph", however, was a wonderful sight to visit:

Oratoire Saint-Joseph with the Canadian (left) and Quebec flags (right)

 And the sunset impressions speak volumes... but see for yourselves:

Sunset over Montreal


Tomorrow will be another day of discovering Montreal, just like Wednesday. And Thursday, we'll be off to Toronto for the weekend. So look forward to more fotos from Montreal and news about Toronto, Niagara Falls and Canadian ice-hockey!

Stay tuned,
Yours Chris :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris,
    thank you very much for the nice pictures. Enjoy the county, the snow and all the new impressoins.
    Mum & Dad