A Visit To A Foreign Land

Life was getting a little repetitious at Rainbow Lake, here in the heart of the Northern Adirondacks.  My office Indoor/Outdoor weather station seemed to be having a battery problem.  The outside temperature indicator sometimes showed no digits at all.  Not wanting to check the red-liquid filled thermometer nailed to the post under the deck, I was forced to go upstairs to ascertain the ambient air temperature.  I couldn’t go into the screened-in porch because that was just the same as going outside.  So, I was forced to check the Indoor/Outdoor unit that sits on my window sill above the sink.  I didn’t fully trust that one either because I haven’t changed the battery in 14 years…but it somehow kept giving me the correct outside temperature.

The Radio Shack AA’s really blow my mind, but at least it prevented me from having to find my fly-fishing thermometer and stand on the porch.  I’m telling you this because I didn’t want to go out again when I knew it was -9 F., again for the seventeenth day in a row.  I could see from my kitchen window that there was at least 8 feet of snow on the front deck and I would have to shovel a tunnel (not a path, a tunnel) from the front door to the car.  I didn’t want to attempt this because I haven’t seen the car in about 10 days, so I wasn’t sure it was still there.  Maybe it was stolen.  Maybe my wife took it to Saranac Lake to replace the battery again and forgot to tell me about it.  I didn’t really know, all I could see was a mound of snow about 17 feet high in the approximate location of where the driveway used to be.

My life?  I would go down to my office and start a blog.  After running out of anything to say, I’d come up to the dining room table and make a few Scrabble moves on my laptop.  When I realized I was going to lose again to my lovely daughter in Orting, WA., or my friend in Australia (where it was about 117 F), I’d go find a book to read.  After getting halfway through The Fanged Princess, written by an eighteen year old author, Elizabeth Wheatley, who already had written several other teen vampire fantasies, I would stand in front of the picture window and think of the last episode of “Breaking Bad” or try to spot a wolf or bear crossing Rainbow Lake.  Boredom was setting in.

I needed a vacation.

It didn’t take many seconds to decide where we would go for a weekend get-a-way from the cold and snow of the Adirondacks.

We’d go to north, to Montreal.  Yes, there I could hone my skills in French.  After all, I knew the words for butter, milk, street and stop.  Anything else I needed to know, I could pick up as I went along.

We packed light and after filling the car with 6 or 7 bags, we headed North on the Northway.  It really felt good to put the pedal to the metal and put some miles behind us, after all, the speed limit changed at the border to 100.  Let me tell you, that felt good.  You can’t even do that in any of the states, except maybe Texas or Ohio.  I proudly handed over our passports, careful to keep my thumb over my entrance visa to Somalia.  Sixty-two miles later, we were checking into a quaint Montreal hotel.  We were given a room on the 32nd floor of the Marriott.

One of our first stops was the Museum of Fine Arts and saw some really good art.  Curiously, many of the paintings were done by Canadians.  I couldn’t find anything done by Da Vinci anywhere.

Canadians are a rather peaceful nation.  Unlike the U.S.A., they tend not to start wars.  So, it was comforting to see a horrid weapon of killing turned into an interesting object of art, like this:


Or this, I think it was called “Contemplation with Flower”


After we finished at the Museum of Fine Arts, (which was free, I wish to add…the way all art should be) we decided it was time to begin looking for a place for dinner.  We got a recommendation for a place called Dominion.  It was a superb meal.  I went back to the hotel and wrote a 5-star review for the establishment.

While at the bistro, I did run across a few curious things.  Now, I’m not normally a “concrete person”, but I see no need to display an untruth.  After getting my coat, I needed to use the loo (notice my use of a Euro term?).  There by a staircase that led downstairs (always a bad thing to do in a bar/restaurant) was this sign:


So, I went downstairs in search of water in the closet.  After searching behind some doors, some woman screamed something at me in French after I opened one.  How was I to know Femmes had something to do with women?  My, the Canadians can be so suspicious.  I finally found the source of the water.  Now, I’ve been in not just a few Gents rooms in NYC and many other cities, but nearly all had some kind of copper or porcelain sink.  Not here, at this 5-star establishment.  This is what I found:


I washed without wasting time (or water) and we headed back to the hotel.  The pool and jacuzzi were still opened and since I was still suffering from soreness in my lower back (I had surgery in December, did I ever mention that in a blog?) I decided I would take advantage of the hot tub.

I dressed for the water, and went down stairs.  I grabbed a US magazine and put my foot in the hot water.  Luckily, no one but the attendant across the large room with the pool could hear my subtle screams and curses.  I know the Canadians operate on the metric system, but I didn’t need a conversion table to tell that the water was about 209 F.  I was sweating even before I got the bottom of my swim suit wet, which took about twenty-five minutes.  I lowered my body, figuring that the Montreal hospitals could do wonders with second degrees burns of my lower torso.  I looked at the bubbling water to see if patches of skin were floating like the chicken fat that used to roll around in the pot of chicken soup my grandmother used to make.  I read somewhere that the human body sheds its epidermis once every seven years.  I was doing all of mine in thirty-five minutes.

But, what finally drove me out of the hot tub was the US magazines articles about Kim Kardashian and her weight loss.  I tossed the magazine onto the pile of French editions of Elle and went back to the room to see how long it would take me to look less like a red crustacean and more like a primate.

Back home, I could now sit at the dentist’s office or hair-cutters and ignore the copies of US magazine.

After all, I already knew that Kim could fit into a size 2 jean.

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