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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie

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 Travel Diary : Eastern Canada: Quebec and Maritimes

The english language is without doubt what the esperanto wanted to become at the end of the 19th century. The esperanto, with the goal to connect the people with the use of a common language, has never succeeded in its mission.

The english language today, and I could notice it, is practiced in every country of the world. Even in the most remote places of Africa, you can ask for assistance to then english teacher.

This is why, after two years of travel, I have to admit that I was quite happy to change my mean of communication for the french language, that I rarely used during this last couple of years.

The “quebecois” indeed, is a little different than the french practiced in France. Also, the acadian, this other form of french practiced in the maritimes, is even more different.

I noticed again that a language can explain which influences had.the civilizations who came through one area. A language is also necessary to understand the way of thinking and the reasons to act of a population.

My goal was close enough to what can offer the language: to understand the people.

I can tell you straight away: to get positives interactions with the locals in this corner of the world had been a total success.

More informations below if it please you.



 

A little island in the middle of an english-speaking continent

The whole Northern Part of America is english-speaking... The whole? Not really. A little part of the continent is still speaking french. This little part is called “Quebec”. This province chose to keep practicing its language to keep a part of its culture.

And that seems to be a real concern here... This is what I thought when I was wandering in the streets of Montreal. What kind of power you need to have to be able to change the name of the brands of the biggest companies?

Even a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) had to adapt and to change its brand in french which makes now PFK (Poulet Fris du Kentucky).

From the KFC to the PFK


Smiling a little bit, I was thinking that at least, that would be a nice lesson of humility to those greasing companies..

A little bit further, the local lobbys have been unable to save the giant “Starbucks Coffee”, transformed for this occasion in “Café Starbucks Coffee”.

Café Starbucks Coffee... You can only double the coffee in the title!


Quebec has a very different culture, unique. The langage, so the music, so the litterature, so the way of thinking in general. How did we get there?

The first person in Europe to put a foot in Quebec was the french explorator Jacques Cartier. Nevertheless, like in the rest of America, those lands were populated by native americans... However, please admit that the “Good White Christian European” had more rights to be there... well he had his own rights at least!

Several wars later, with the iroquois or the english speaking english people or both of them in the same time, the french immigrant are still speaking french. We can find them today in Quebec, in Acadie, or in Louisiana, while the english immigrant are now living on the rest of the continent.

Today, the quebecois culture is not totally french, not totally something else neither because it got developed in a pretty unique way. This is a mix of french, american or even iroquois influences.

So many influences that nobody seems to know the origine of the interesting name of this little village in Quebec:“Saint Louis du Ha!Ha!”


The city of Quebec for example, doesn't really looks like an american metropole, but more like a little french village.

Québec City


Or the famous Castle of Frontenac, nor very similar to the Empire State Building.


Contrary to the metropole of Montreal, which is more like in the new american standards.



We can say that the french language is a very important part of the culture in Quebec.

Nevertheless, other parts of the culture are also important, like the cuisine, that we are going to discover down below.


 

Time to eat!

The cuisine in Quebec

The poutine!

Nothing to do with Vladimir, nor with Russia, although this meal is more enjoyable with a cold weather. The poutine is a dish with french fries, coming with a sauce on some cheese on the top. The sight of it doesn't look very tasty, but the meal is... and when it is freezing outside, it is certainly more appreciated.

A poutine


We can also find the “beaver tail”. This dish is a canadian pastry, that we can find often in Quebec. The beaver tail looks like... a beaver tail... but not the taste of it hopefully. That looks like a little bit a fried crepe, on which we can ass different kind of sauce, as the very tasty peaner butter for example.

The pastry “beaver tail”


And a real beaver tail, if you wish...


 

Alcool in Quebec and generally in North America

From the pleasure of eating to the enjoyment of drinking, there is only one step. However, alcool is quite taboo in Quebec and even more in the United States.

To order an alcoholic beverage or to simply enter in a bar, I will need to show my ID. In Canada, I can start to drink at 19, while in the United States it is 21. It is also forbidden to have an “open bottle” outside the house.

Also, this kind of beverage got huge taxes from the government.

So it is now possible to see new kind of restaurants, offering to the customer to bring his own bottle if he wants.

“Apportez votre vin” (“Bring your own wine”), that will be cheaper...


Of course, I am not even talking about mixing drinking and driving. Anyway, some smart guys succeeded to do both together, while still staying legal.

At least, we know to who belongs this car!


In North America, it is possible to chose your letters on the car-plate, but you have to pay a “little something” of course.

 

After, the meal, the ice

Snow, ice, rink and hockey. No cream on this ice however. As I was saying in the last newsletter, hockey is without any doubt the sport number 1 in Canada. It is also in Quebec.

From their youngest age, even before to be able to walk, we put the kids on skates. In the schools, we don't see the children practicing soccer, no! No football! Everyone instead is coming with a stick.

From their youngest age, we put the kids on skates


Every city has his own team... maybe except the city of Quebec... who succeeded to sell his own team to the city of Denver in the United States! “The “Quebec Nordiques”, created frond private fundings, has simply been sold. Yes, it is possible to sell your team, even in another city and even in another country!

Imagine that the Barcelona FC would be sold and move to Minsk in Belarus!

“Money problems”... Montreal had some when they organized the Olympique Games in 1976. You have probably seen a glimpse of the Olympic Stadium built specially for this international event. In total, it costed 1 billion of dollars... And the tower was not even finished for the Olympics...

The Olympic stadium of Montreal, seen from Mont Royal


 

In the maritimes

From the other extrem of the country, which is the West Coast, up to Quebec; people told me :” More east you will go, nicer the people will be.”

I have to say that it is completely true. New Brunswick and New Scotland welcomed me extremly nicely.

I have been invited very few times by the locals to stay overnight in North America... In 7 days in the maritimes, I have been invited 4 times!

In exchange, I have even been able to explain my journey to a school in Sackville in New Brunswick.


This area is called “maritime” because we can find there the Atlantic Ocean coast. I like to watch this infinite landscape and its littoral. The canadian east coast is really amazing and wild. In comparaison, I would say it looks like a little bit the south-western coast of England.

A little coastal village on the Eastern Canada area.


This coast is also very difficult to sail, that is why it is possible to see so many lighthouses, like this one in Peggy's Cove.

The Peggy's cove's lighthouse


When I got to the last big city on the eastern part of the country: Halifax, I have indeed suceeded in my challenge to cross the whole Canada “on the thumb”, which has been pretty easy...

Halifax, the last big city on the eastern extremity of Canada


 

Québec and the maritimes “on the thumb”

“Thumbing” or “Sur le pouce” is the way to say “hitchhiking” in Quebec. Indeed, the fact to show your thumb is the body language mean to try to stop the cars in Quebec. That's why the expression “thumbing” has been used.

After this technical explanation, let's go to check if it works.

In Quebec and in the maritimes, we are quite close to the level of easyness that I found in Nicaragua.

Even the police didn't even bother me once. To give you an idea, I was even hitchhiking straight on the highway. The police drove passed nearby me, without saying anything... So?

So it has been a beautiful moment. I really enjoyed traveling in this very welcoming area. Just to say, it is possible to mix development and social life. This is not because we own some objects that we have to see ourself as possible victims. The Quebec and the maritimes showed me that, thank you to them to have become my example.

 

Enlighting a little fact

To conclude, I would like to finish on this enlightment.

You will probably think that I am not very objective because I am french... Well, maybe, but not for the reasons that you can think.

Indeed, the fact to be french speaking helped me to acceed and to understand in a better way this culture and to also enjoy the difference.

I am FOR defending a culture and against a STANDARDIZATION of the world.

Quebec is not the only culture that I am defending. I like to take the side of the kind of minorities who are generally threatened. Difference is an asset who allow us to acceed to open-mindedness: Let's protect it!

-Remember the situation in Panama, who lost its culture for an americanization of its way of life.

-Remember the History of our world, from the time of the latinification of Central and South America, to the colonization of Africa by the french, the english and other ones.

Yes, remember all of that... (“Je me souviens” means “I remember”


All this facts to tell you that I am not taking especially the side of Quebec... but I am taking the side of every unique culture...

I like the challenge to try to keep a culture, because this is an “asset” ladies and gentlemen.


I will let you by wishing you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. About myselft, I found a part of my family living in Massachusetts to spend my third Christmas on the road.

My family, like my parents and my sister who came to visit me when I was in Montreak, thank you to them!

Then I will spend New Year in New York!

See you very soon,

Jérémy

 



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