Gone hunting beavers for the month

I am heading off to Canada in a few hours.

A last minute decision to attend the once-in-a-decade get-together organized by the Famiglia.

Why Canada?

I hear picking a remote location with a climate quite openly hostile to the very idea of human survival is part of the whole bonding experience thing. The choices for the 2015 meeting have been narrowed down to the Gobi desert or an island off the Bermuda archipelago. This year, it is a burg south of Montreal in the beautiful, nuts-freezingly cold, province of Quebec.

I have never been to Quebec. Actually, I have only been to Canada twice, I think. The last time was a gig in Vancouver which I masterfully managed to spend entirely in such a state that I barely even remember going there altogether. My memory of that episode stops somewhere around Saturday morning, when I took a cab to the airport straight from the club where I’d been playing the night before and only resumes when I awoke from a 15 hours sleep on the following monday.

Hence, my knowledge of Canadian culture only covers the basic: they like hockey, eat fried beaver tails covered in maple syrup and hate freedom… But I’m sure there is more to it and I intend on finding it.

Of course, the sudden change of plans meant that I also had to convince E. that Canada would be much more fun, albeit substantially more expensive, than a silly Japanese onsen resort that offers such petty activities as ski, sake and natural hot springs on a daily basis. Understandably, her take was that, if she was to spend fifteen hours on a plane trip to the other side of the world, she might as well try to land in a place where you can lie semi-naked on a warm beach while sipping a mai-tai.

I wasn’t gonna try to sell her the whole getting-to-know-my-gene-pool angle, and I was painfully aware that the immense entertainment potential provided by mocking the natives’ weird pronunciation would be utterly lost on her… But I was able to pique her curiosity by playing the cultural card (and I sure hope they still do have a few freaking dogsleigh around there, otherwise I’m a dead man). In fact, she is the one who is all excited about it now: she’s been checking Montreal’s nightlife online, and it seems there is plenty to do, provided we do not get lost during the 5 hour cross-country ski expedition from the house to the city.

Talking about: it seems like we will be stuck enjoying our freedom in Montreal on New Year’s Eve, with nary a party plan in sight. I am told that, like most everywhere else on the planet, the locals typically roam the streets while getting drunk on fermented moose milk liquor or some other potent local brew. But frankly, I’d rather be drinking at an ambient temperature where I can still feel my tongue…
so if any of my dear canuck readers out there has a good suggestion on where to go and what to do on that night, we would sure appreciate (I was in fact considering a baby seal clubbing expedition for that night, but my travel agent claims the season hasn’t begun yet, is that true?).


  1. Chuck: ahem… let’s say it was very low-key… actually the lowest of lowest key of my New Year Eve’s parties, ever… which was relatively ok with me, since I’m not that big a fan of mass NYE celebrations anyway (got enough of those back in my intensive clubbing days).
    See, as I had more or less suspected, we weren’t staying in Montreal per se, but about 30 minutes from there, in the charming burg of Saint Jean sur Richelieu… with no car…

    Our options for the night were thus twofold:

    1) hitchhike or cross-country ski our way into Montreal and party on.
    2) follow our host son (an absolute dead-ringer for Chong, of Cheech and Chong, in every possible way) for a smallish houseparty at his friends’

    Option 2) was picked, and it was good fun, if nothing too crazy.

    On the slightly pathetic side, we did nearly pass out (mostly from exhaustion) before the countdown… and didn’t make it long after either…

    But we were very rested the day after!

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