Monday, August 11, 2008
We were very excited today because this is the first time either one of us has been to Canada. After trying many times to find a route to get there with our GPS we realized it does not include Canada. We looked it up online and to get the download we would have to pay fifty dollars to add Canada. So, this will be the first time we are on the road without our GPS, we will just have to figure it out the old fashioned way.
We got a full tank of gas and some groceries and off we went. We knew Champlain was close to the border but didn’t realize how close, within a couple of miles we were already to Canada.
After waiting in line behind 3 or 4 cars, it was our turn to go through customs. The very nice young man took a quick look at our passports, asked us some questions, and sent us on our way. No one checked anything. It was such a relief.
The questions he asked us were: what is your license plate number, where do you live, why are you going to Canada, how long are you staying, do you know anyone in Canada, what do you do for a living, do you have any fruits or meats, do you have any alcohol or firearms or pepper spray.
We drove north on 15 and felt pretty weird not being able to understand the signs or billboards. It is a good thing that there are universal signs for things like traffic signs.
We eventually found Old Montreal. Finding parking in Montreal was hard, finding free parking was impossible. We finally found a spot we could fit in and parked our Bella. The parking meters are in French so we did our best to understand them. It seemed they were five cents a minute … outrageous.
As we walked around we did some window shopping, and watched some street performers. One was like a clown riding a unicycle and breathing fire. The other street performer played a guitar while he sang and danced and got the audience to sing along. He was pretty funny. Then there was a Native American band, with the soft soothing sounds of the flute. There were a lot of people here today and lots of activity, great for people watching.
Then we heard some thunder and decided to get back to Bella before it started raining. We drove around trying to find the Walmart to spend the night but never found it. We asked around but no one knew where it was. Along the way we saw a grocery store, Loblaws and as the manager was coming out, we talked to him and he gave us permission to stay the night. Loblaws is a chain grocery store, we saw several as we were driving around.
After getting settled in for the night, we had a chance to get caught up on our reading, as we have no phone, no internet, no computer, no GPS … absolutely no communication with the outside world.