J’arrive!

February 21, 2016 • 1:45 pm

I am in the Montreal airport, where I can already discern that my “Parisian” French, spotty as it is, will not serve me at all. I can barely understand the local patois, and I bet they won’t understand my French, either. Fortunately, I’m heading to Halifax, where I’m told they speak English. 🙂

I have consumed two Tim Horton’s donuts, deciding that I will go without real food until I arrive in Halifax in four hours. The donuts were small, but cheap: the exchange rate is now $1.38 Canadian for every U.S. dollar, making a Canadian dollar worth only 73¢ US. That means that a large Starbucks latte (which I did not procure) costs about $3.25 at the airport. I’m going to clean up on this trip.

Lest I leave you without merriment this afternoon, here are two items sent by readers. First, a cartoon drawn by reader Pliny the in Between, from his/her website Evolving Perspectives 

SOURCE-Art Shows.002

And this cartoon, forwarded by reader Ken, should be no more provocative than the one above, but it will be. It’s from The Spectator, is by Robert Thompson, and is called “Veil.” It’s really quite innocuous, but I don’t think the picture of the pig on the wall (likely inadvertent) will go down well:

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 2.21.17 PM

 

 

62 thoughts on “J’arrive!

  1. Be careful about what you say! We, french canadians, are proud of our accent! :-))
    Have a nice trip east!

      1. Le temps que l’on prend pour dire “je t’aime”,
        C’est le seul qui reste au bout de nos jours.
        Les voeux que l’on fait, les fleurs que l’on sème,
        Chacun les récolte en soi-même
        Aux beaux jardins du temps qui court.

        Gens du pays, c’est votre tour
        De vous laisser parler d’amour.

        Le temps de s’aimer, le jour de le dire,
        Fond comme la neige aux doigts du printemps.
        Fêtons de nos joies, fêtons de nos rires
        Ces yeux où nos regards se mirent…
        C’est demain que j’avais vingt ans.

        Gens du pays, c’est votre tour
        De vous laisser parler d’amour.

        Le ruisseau des jours aujourd’hui s’arrête
        Et forme un étang où chacun peut voir
        Comme en un miroir l’amour qu’il reflète
        Pour ces coeurs à qui je souhaite
        Le temps de vivre nos espoirs.

        Gens du pays, c’est votre tour
        De vous laisser parler d’amour.

        GENS DU PAYS
        paroles: Gilles Vigneault
        musique: Gilles Vigneault, Gaston Rochon

        1. Le Doux Chagrin – Gilles Vigneault

          J’ai fait de la peine à ma mie
          J’ai fait de la peine à ma mie
          Elle qui ne m’en a point fait
          Qu’il est difficile…

          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile
          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile

          Et moi qui tant en méritais
          Et moi qui tant en méritais
          Dites, ma mie, vous m’en feriez?
          Qu’il est difficile…

          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile
          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile

          Mais depuis long de temps je sais
          Mais depuis long de temps je sais
          Que sans peine il n’est point d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile…

          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile
          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile

          Que sans peine il n’est point d’aimer
          Que sans peine il n’est point d’aimer
          Et sans amour, pourquoi chanter
          Qu’il est difficile…

          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile
          Qu’il est difficile d’aimer
          Qu’il est difficile

      1. But they do have padded paws, which is what this seems to be – pigs have pointy ears, unlike the rounded ones here – and a teddy bear does fit better in the “puppetry” sense.

      2. That’s a paw (complete circle inside a ‘C’), not something curly. A very well-known British ventriloquist’s bear: http://www.rogerdecourcey.co.uk/
        I really don’t think that was meant to be a pig. Even after you said it, I couldn’t see it (identifying it as a bear was easy; the other is more of a problem – a muppet?). The ears and nose look like a bear (especially a cartoon/toy one), and not a pig.

        1. Sorry, I posted too soon. I meant to say:

          Definitely not a pig. The ear shape is wrong, and a basic requirement for a cartoon pig is to have a pig snout (with two nostrils in plain sight).

    1. My first impression was a bear on the left, a frog on the right. Upon reflection the one on the left, with those big teeth, looks pretty glirine– like Sandy the squirrel on Sponge Bob. If that’s a tail to the left of it, instead of a hand, then maybe a beaver– it looks flat, obovate, and has a scale in the middle of it.

  2. Also your Parisian French will make the locals think you are an English speaking Canadian who learned French that way and they will hate you for it. They will understand your French but tell you they cannot because of the hate.

    Unless you meet nice people in Montreal which you probably will. I’ve had the above happen to me and a friend who speaks perfect québécois French but I’ve had really nice people help me out more than be mean to me.

    Out shit dollar is thanks to our former PM who put all the money into oil like the Putin of Canada that he was. So Canada and Russia both are suffering with the cheap price of oil.

    Eat a dutchie donut!!

    1. I had a more friendly response trying to speak dictionary-practiced Italian in Italy than high school French near Montreal (long, long ago)

      1. So you are saying the people of Montreal do not like the rest of Canada? Kind of like being a Haole in Hawaii, or a Honkie in Harlem.

          1. There’s a pretty good slice of the west that would like a shot at voting in any third Quebec referendum that might be contemplated.

            1. Ontario and Quebec are secret allies. We may complain about each other but we tend to enter into pacts and alliances.

      1. Stupid airport! Maybe in Nova Scotia then! Try some nice clam chowder (not at Tim’s as they don’t have it) if NS has it. The real good stuff is in New Brunswick though.

    2. The French language is almost never heard in British Columbia. I can think of a lot of things to blame our former Prime Minister
      for, but I doubt the drastic drop in energy prices can be blamed on him.

      1. That’s true now, but like most parts of Canada there were francophone enclaves once (and still are in some cases). For example, part of Coquitlam, near where my father lived as a child, was a district called “Mallardville”, for example. Last I checked the French-language street names are still there – but with infill so it is hard to see. (Also lots of Hong Kong money, so Cantonese is the second language now, apparently.)

    3. As an Anglo Canadian who learned French in a small-town Ontario school (and then had to re-learn it living in Ottawa for six years), my experience is that francophone Quebeckers are pleasantly surprised by English Canadians who are willing and able to speak French, with whatever accent.

      What they *really* can’t stand are “les Français” – French from France – whose accent is usually interpreted as snobbish.

      1. I have several French friends as well as Swiss friends from Geneva who were very warmly welcome by the Québecois when they traveled there or settled there for a while. They had no problems due to their français French whatsoever.

        1. Most likely they weren’t in Montreal. This is where there is the most tension between Anglophones and Francophones. It’s the place of Bill 101 after all.

            1. Yeah I guess asking for directions to the Eaton Centre was really offensive to the Ambulance guy that told my fully bilingual friend that he “couldn’t understand her”.

  3. That means that a large Starbucks latte (which I did not procure) costs about $3.25 at the airport. I’m going to clean up on this trip.

    I make 100% Colombian coffee at home which I calculated at about 20 cents per 12 oz cup, including Half & Half and sweetener.

    Lets assume that Starbucks cup is around 24 oz (but probably smaller), that makes it 8 times more expensive than I produce at home. I also make my own espresso or cappuccino too.

    That is cleaning up (drops microphone from eye level height).

    /end of pedantic rant

      1. Go into somewhere like a hotel and have a real cup of coffee. I rarely drink McCoffee (just like I rarely eat fast food).

    1. Father of actress Candice Bergen. He was quite a whack job. He put the dummy in his will, but left out Candice. When the family ate breakfast he would put both Candice and the dummy on his legs and he would move Candice’s mouth along with his dummy’s mouth, providing the words for both sides of the conversation between Candice and his dummy.

  4. If you could get by with that, I could be a ventriloquist. Maybe the guy on the knee is the ventriloquist and the one in black is the dummy.

  5. J’arrive j’arrive
    Mais pourquoi moi pourquoi maintenant
    Pourquoi déjà et où aller
    J’arrive bien sûr, j’arrive
    N’ai-je jamais rien fait d’autre qu’arriver

    a famous Belgian

  6. “I am in the Montreal airport, where I can already discern that my “Parisian” French, spotty as it is, will not serve me at all.”

    I could have told you that! When I took French classes last year, a standing joke, whenever any question of colloquial usage came up, was “Except in Canada!”

    cr

    1. So, if you are a foreigner in Quebec, you should not use English because the residents want to communicate in French, but it is no use to try French either (if you speak any) because it will be the wrong kind of French, so you can just shoot yourself :-).
      (I am of course exaggerating; I am sure there are helpful people everywhere, but this reminds me stories about people trying to use Russian in Poland in the 1980s. To sum up, would be much better with improvised sign language.)

      1. I can’t comment on that, but from my French teacher who had, I think, lived in Canada for a short while, I understood that the Quebecois were more protective of their language than the French. Particularly in respect of ‘borrowings’ from English like ‘le week-end’, ‘le football’, ‘le parking’ and ‘stoppez!’ (Canadian version ‘arretez!’, presumably).
        Incidentally, in planning my first ever visit to France and sussing out the best way out of Lyon using Google Streetview, I did a double-take because there was a sign that said “STOP”. Yes, French stop signs all say ‘STOP’.

        cr

        1. The French Quebecers are, yes. (A social question: Am I a Quebecois? I’m from Quebec, but I’m first-language English …) The Acadians generally think that the Quebec nationalist extremes are crazy, though. (And they have their own slang, too!) One told me: “we know perfectly well the danger to our culture is from LA and New York, not Ottawa or even Washington.”

  7. I learned to speak French in France and some years ago when I did some work with a forestry company in Quebec I struggled to understand some of the people I met in rural areas. Everyone was very friendly though and I never got the sense that anyone was trying to be awkward over the issue.
    It was interesting to see how some words and phrases that are archaic in French French remain current in Quebecois. The example that springs to mind is the still widespread use of “ma blonde” in Quebec to denote a man’s girlfriend or lover, a usage that persists in France only in the song ‘Auprès de ma blonde’.

    1. Language preservation occurs in South Africa too. I was told the local Dutch language (Afrikaans) is much like original Dutch of 300 years ago. There might be an analogy to biological evolution, but this is Monday, so I won’t elaborate.

  8. I used to listen to the CBC French service when I was living near enough to Vancouver BC to get it sometimes.

    I understood the announcers just fine. But, when they brought in someone speaking the Quebecois dialect/accent — not a word of it!

    That would take some practice for me to understand it!

    Same thing with German and Bavarian for me. Hoch Deutsch (and even some Plattdeutsch, and most of Dutch and Flemish) no problem. But Bavarian dialect (especially if the speaker(s) doesn’t want you to get it) — no way. Nothing.

    1. I have the same problem with Geordies.

      (For the uninitiated – just think Yorkshire, only much more so.)

      cr
      (… having successfully offended most of north-east England…)

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