Centre de Plein Air, Beauport, Quebec. We have declared today a day of rest and venture no further than the local Tim Horton’s donut shop and nearby Wal-Mart. Rain is expected shortly so David hoists another sail alongside our awning. Nathan cleans out the mouse habitat and lays down fresh wood shavings. David makes up the bed to create two long sofas with a small table between them. I work on cleaning out our mini-fridge and finish off the last flour tortilla on hand , making my own version of savory crepes avec asperges et jambon à la Hollandaise. I contemplate a nap.
During our morning walk to the neighborhood donut place Nathan has observed the universality of old men gathering to discuss the morning news over their petite cardboard cups of senior café. He tells me that Tim Horton’s is the perfect blend of McDonalds and Starbucks since old men are known to congregate beneath the golden arches while old ladies are more likely to while away their idle hours at Starbucks. While I make a torturous attempt to order mon café avec crème, I see that the two groups just stake out different sides of the same establishment; how French! It’s kind of like the unisex bathrooms he discovered a few days back. At first we were all a bit disappointed to see how very American much of Canada appears. But upon closer examination subtle and not-so-subtle differences begin to emerge.
We are less on guard and have begun to relax more as we venture out to this new land. David is now attempting his own version of pidgin-French, trying to French-ify English words be adding ‘la’ at the front and ‘ette’ at the end. At Wal-Mart he points out that there is no waiting at the hair salon since I desperately need a trim. I try to explain that I don’t mind mangling a foreign tongue to buy food or a beer, but it is another matter entirely to communicate the subtleties of a preferred hairstyle to someone I have just me when I don’t even know the word for ‘curly.’ He grins smugly and suggests that I just say, ‘less longggg.’ But I strongly beg to differ, pointing out that the way he has pronounced it I would be asking the stylist for a multitude of tongues. While we are making progress, I don’t think we can afford to get too cocky yet. I tell him he should direct a French-speaking barber to cut his hair and see just what he ends up with. Enough said.