Thursday, June 14, 2007
As we speak, I am in Quebec City, Quebec. I have to work. Never been to any where in Canada prior with the exception for a week in Toronto. It too was work but the problem was that I had just gotten back in the States from Cape Town, the day before this trip, and that is a 16-hour flight. I did not stay in the airport as long as I did this time – six hours. However, there were two observations that stood out. The first is that Black folks do not fly in Toronto because I say none in the airport over that time period and this was a Friday. Second, on every corner in the Toronto airport, folks trying to get you to sign up for credit cards.
However, back to Quebec City. It was nice, quiet, collective, albeit I was there on behest of your government’s scientific interest to talk on health issues related to substance abuse among incarcerated populations. Add to that I was the only African American and the only male with three other white women speaking on the subject.
Otherwise, I could adapt, even though I do not speak an ounce of French. The extent of my French is as follows: Chardonnay, Merci’, Merci Beaucoup, Roland Garos and French Fries. In addition, there was the small mater of not being able to find grits and instead being offered beans. And the fascination that folks have with putting crepes on ever menu item and the limited avaliability of folks of African descent. I knew there were not many because the only folks that rode or I saw riding the bus were white, in fact I only saw one back person on a bus out of about 8 or nine that passed by my hotel.
But then there are other things I will never adapt too. The first are the French language keyboards in English – go figure. The next is getting change back in Canadian loot when you spend US dollars. Lastly, the sun rises at 4.10 am. I mea I got p my first day their thinking I’m late for my presentation, which was at 8am because I saw the sun out, got up, started to dress, thinking I was late and looked at the clock. It was 4.11am. I forgot it was that far up north and close to Nova Scotia. Even with this, I had a ball. Especially when I went to Largo’s, a little jazz restaurant and wine bar on rue Saint-Joseph (picture above. The owner (Gino Stemarie) and I had a ball discussing why he did not carry any South African Wines and he gave me a jazz CD recorded in his bar by this group called the Andre Laure Sextet. One word, tight. I would recommend anyone visit Quebec City unless they need something other than Crepes to survive on – that nearly killed me.