The last three days have been so jam-packed with francophone experiences that we have not even had a chance to write about them. Since “les filles” have all gone to see a free Cirque de Soleil performance, I decided to stay back and reflect on some of the highlights of the week.
On Wednesday, we all split up: Alison and Neelie went one way (more on this later) and Renee and I the other. Since hearing about a place called the Insectarium, I had no other desire but to be there. Of course not everyone is fascinated by what basically boils down to an insect zoo. The real draw for me was an insect tasting, which would challenge all of our culinary faculties. So, Renee and I embarked on the trip: Metro Berri-Uqam (University of Quebec at Montreal) to one of the Biodome stops. As we climbed the long escalator that leads to the outside world, images of beautiful plants, insects and the Olympic stadium filled our heads. (The stadium, the Biodome, the Insectarium and the botanical gardens are all basically in the same place.)
When we reached the top of the escalator, there was a long hallway that lead to the inside of the stadium. We opened the doors to the stadium and realized that it was completely quiet and empty. It seemed strange to us that there should be no action inside an Olympic training facility and stadium, but what did we know?
We walked outside.
As we ambled along, the sky overcast, the air rather heavy, I had a real urge to use the little boys’ room. None in sight, so we kept walking. We chatted about this and that (always in French of course, since we had promised ourselves a complete immersion experience). As we neared our destination, we realized that it too seemed quiet and empty. Did it open later than we had thought? Were we the first ones here? Great! No long lines…
I really had to use the bathroom, so we walked into the doors of the Biodome and ran smack into a table not unlike those used at a school bake sale. But behind this one was a security guard.
Guard: Bonjour / hello (all of the customer service and tourism people automatically say both, just another indication of the linguistic politics of this country)
Renee: Are you open?
Guard: We’re closed today tomorrow and probably the day after.
Renee: Because of the holiday?
Guard: No. everyone’s on strike.
Renee: That’s not very convenient for the tourists.
Guard: That’s the point.
Brett: Is there a bathroom I could use?
Brett: Where is the nearest one?
Guard: I don’t really know. Maybe the café down the road.
And that’s how Renee and I didn’t see anything that morning.