Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Je ne suis pas fiable

"Fiable" means "reliable," according to my Larousse Dictionnaire Compact. Anyway, sorry about the whole never posting even though I keep saying I'm going to thing. The problem is that the less often I write, the more daunting the task seems when I sit down to do it, as there's always so much to say. The obvious solution would be to write shorter posts every day, but, you know, other things get in the way. Like French! And drinking! So this will be pretty quick, as I'm heading downtown for lunch with the guys (to clarify, this is as opposed to "the girls," who I obviously wouldn't be having lunch with if I could avoid it).

In class this morning a fellow Edmontonian (who now goes to the University of Nebraska on a diving scholarship) and I had to give a ten-minute presenatation on the city for our oral midterm, which went okay until the question part of the presentation, at which point we stood there in awkward silence while everyone in the class tried desperately to think up Edmonton-related questions to ask us, including our prof. Turns out Edmonton just isn't as interesting as, say, London, Edinburgh, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, or the small Japanese town near Tokyo one woman is from. Go figure. Anyway, I didn't have time to mention anything about dead hookers or rotating baseballs bats, as Chris suggested, but I did get to talk about how stereotypes of Albertans apply much better to Calgary and rural Alberta than to Edmonton, which was "le fun," as they say here. Tomorrow we have our written midterm, which I really need to study for, but I just can't get motivated. When you're not sure you're even going to get credit for a course, it's surprisingly hard to care about your marks when there's a vast, interesting city out there to explore.

So anyway, besides school, things continue to be relatively rad. Yesterday we finally got to go on that tour of the city we were supposed to have two weeks ago, which was quite good, although probably not as useful as it would have been the first week. Still, it was interesting to hear (or at least partially hear, as it was in French) the history behind everything we've been seeing, if not a little disillusioning (we learned that the main square in the centre of the lower city, which has several very beautiful old-timey buildings, was actually rebuilt in the '70s, for example). But to counter that, I discovered that the place on the Plains of Abraham where we were drinking on Saturday was right by the spot where General Wolfe died, and the well where he took his last drink of water was just a few feet away from there too (history!). It was also cool to see the parliament building (sorry: L'Hôtel du Parlement) up close. The highlight for me, besides getting really sunburned, of course, was when some girl came up to me after our guide had just spent 20 minutes talking about the parliament building (and I don't care how little French you know—I think the giant Fleur-de-Lys and the dozens of statues of famous Québecois made it pretty obvious) and asked, "So, what is this?"

Alright, I've talked about history long enough. I'm sure you all have one question on your minds: what really retarded things has Joanna been up to lately? Well, the usual, really, including taking an hour in the mall to buy a pen yesterday while we waited in the grocery store for her (I publicly vowed that I'm not setting foot inside another mall for as long as I'm here, so I couldn't come with her). But best of all is the elaborate vendetta she has against Nelson (that Venezuelan guy we were hanging out with earlier in the trip) because he decided to start dating (or at least sleeping with) this Mexican girl. See, this really tears Joanna apart, since she can't handle not being everyone's favourite person (ironically enough, as I haven't met a single person here who likes her—even Steph and Jen are starting to get annoyed), hence her indignant comment about me being Matt et cetera's roadie. Because of this, she's decided that the best way to handle her insecurity is to be a total bitch every time she sees him. Nelson, being a relatively nice guy, is somewhat bothered by this, and apparently went to go talk to her about it yesterday. She then proudly recounted to me how she told him that we're all really pissed off at him and don't want to hang out with him as long as he's seeing that girl.

So basically Nelson temporarily thought we're all incredibly shallow, insecure people like Joanna because she decided that it would help her cause if she pretended we were all on her side. Luckily, I ran into him today after class and explained everything and we had a good laugh about how crazy she is. Bon temps, as they probably don't say here (I think that actually means something about the weather being good).

Hmmm ... what else have I been up to? We went into centre ville for some excellent crepes on Tuesday and spent a while wandering around (the city is much more enjoyable at night, mainly because it's cooler and therefore you can see things without wanting to die). Speaking of which, I hate to talk endlessly about the weather, but I've never experienced anything like this before. It's actually a little better today, but for the last four or five days, it's been around 30 with anywhere between 90 and 100 per cent humidity, making it feel closer to 40. There was a thunderstorm on Tuesday and there was actually steam rising off the ground while it was raining, if that gives you any sense of what it's like. Actually, just imagine what a really small room feels like when you run an extremely hot shower in it for about an hour—that's exactly what it felt like outside for the last four days or so. Not only does this make you feel incredibly gross all the time, but it also makes your hair look really stupid. Needless to say, there was a decent amount of complaining going on.

Monday we went to this "soirée internationale," which was basically a glorified talent show for the people in the program. It wasn't bad as talent shows go, although there were the requsite number of embarrassment-shiver-inducing performances (like some girl singing I Will Always Love You so badly that people were actually laughing during it, or the guy reading his poetry who kept mixing up his words because he was so nervous). And ... what else? Oh yeah, the highlight of my week! How could I forget? On Sunday Sean actually managed to organize quite a decent potluck (I made fruit salad after making it explicitly clear to everyone that I can't/don't cook). Unfortunately, that was the hottest day of them all, and everyone decided to eat in the kitchen where it was even hotter (not exaggerating, I think it was about 45 degrees in there—I was sweating like I'd been at the gym for an hour, and I don't sweat). Still, it cooled off a bit once it got dark, so we decided to head into town to see Calexico, who were playing for the last night of the festival.

This trip resulted in two very stereotypically Québecois things happening: first, we wanted to drink but didn't want to pay the exorbitant drink prices at the festival, so we bought some beer and were drinking it out of paper bags (classy!) while watching Calexico. This was all fine and well until one of the guys working the festival came up to me and starting saying something in French which I couldn't really understand since he was talking quickly and it was loud. I assumed he wanted me to throw my beer out, so I was on my way to do it when he stopped me and told me that he just wanted me to finish it quickly and then throw it out—never have I encountered a Canadian city that's so liberal with its drinking laws. It's hilarious.

Secondly, we left for part of Calexico's set to check out some of the big street performers' festival that's going on right now. Now, this may not surprise some of you, but street performances here are very different from street performances back in Edmonton, namely in that they make absolutely no sense. The first one we watched consisted of two guys in nothing but white underwear performing vaguely sexual acrobatic tricks together. As if this wasn't good enough, we then stumbled upon a performance for kids that was going on. As soon as we started watching, I was reminded of Chris once telling me about how crazy and nonsensical French/Québecois kids' television shows are.

Okay, this is really long and I have to go to dinner, so I'm going to post it and finish my story later. What a cliff hanger!!

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