After a really easy flight that seemed like nothing in comparison to a flight to French speaking Europe (France, Belgium, Switzerland), we arrived in the very cosmopolitan and international city of Montréal. The first impression an American has here is “this looks like home” and yet we can see the French influence in some buildings’ architecture, and French is spoken and seen everywhere. We feel at ease and at home here, but it’s even better because we get to speak French all the time.
The accent of the spoken French is quite different here from the French spoken in Europe, and some vocabulary is completely different. The accent difference is much like the difference between a Texan’s speech patterns in comparison to that of a Wisconsinite. Some of the word differences we noticed are ice cream (la crème glacée in Québec / la glace in France) and lime (la lime in Québec / le citron-vert in France).
People in Quebec are warm, welcoming, and helpful, which reminds us a lot of the Mid-West. People offer helpful information or simply stop to chat a bit. They are often pleased to have met Americans who have not only taken the time to become fluent in French, but who are so curious about the Quebecois culture and way of speaking French.
This city of approximately 1.6 million people is truly diverse. On every street corner, you will find one, two or even three restaurants of different ethnicities. We have been tempted by cuisine from around the world: Vietnam, Japan, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, West Indies, France…you name it, you can eat it in Montreal! As you can imagine, the population is truly international.
Today we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Jean Talon market, where we had the opportunity to film interviews with merchants, shop keepers and shoppers. We were able to taste regional specialties such as maple syrup products (ice cream and tart), locally grown strawberries, and Quebecois goat cheese (chèvre) and sausage. By strange chance, Neelie and Alison came upon the hosts of a show called “des Kiwis et des hommes” (Kiwis and men), who were intrigued to hear about the purpose of our visit to Montreal. In fact, they were so intrigued that they invited Neelie and Alison to be guests on their show. We’ll report more after tomorrow’s filming…
One interesting feature of Montreal is the “mountain” that lies in the middle of it, overlooking the city. We visited Mont Royal today and after eating the delicious market food, we thoroughly enjoyed a hike which led us to the summit and a panoramic view of the city.