quebec

August 17 , 2016


The Frontenac, a huge hotel, dominates the old city of Quebec. It was handy to look up wherever we were and use it to get our bearings. We stayed two nights in a small hotel, Manoir Terrasse, catecorner to it in the old city, and parked our car a few blocks away. Our room faced the St. Lawrence giving us a great view of a huge fireworks display Saturday night, and let in the sounds of light rain and the clip clop of horses. Nearby we took the funiculaire down to a lower level of the city that sits right on the docks. Many magnificent old stone buildings and new fun public spaces with fountains and statues. I love the promenade that goes from the deck of the Frontenac up a gazillion stairs and bridges and puts you out on the Plains of Abraham. You'll remember that the song Acadian Driftwood references a battle that took place on the Plains of Abraham, the results of which led to the expulsion of the Acadians from Nova Scotia. I always thought "Abraham" was a biblical reference, but no, a guy named Abraham Martin pastured his livestock there in the 1600's and the name stuck. He rented the land from the Ursulines, who got to Quebec in 1639, the first nuns to land in the new world.

We had some good meals there but nothing better than this bowl of cafe au lait to start the day.
On the way home we stopped in St. George to shop at an amazing grocery store marked by a large windmill. It was like a small French Whole Foods, with deli cases and a bakery and spices and every kind of delicious thing. We got lunch there and ate on one of the beautiful pedestrian bridges on the Chaudiere River with a linear sculpture garden on one side and a bike path on the other.

While I was off on a fun weekend, Baton Rouge was experiencing an historic flood. The weather pattern that produced that much rainfall in such a short time was like a hurricane without the winds, a rotating thing that scooped up water from the Gulf and dropped in a concentrated area. My sister Claudia's house flooded for the first time ever, and those whose houses didn't flood were trapped where they were because roads were submerged. All I could do was follow the posts and the photos.

rocks

August 7 , 2016


Maine is experiencing drought conditions and the lake water level is lower than usual exposing rocks that you didn't know were there. I think Winnecook may be an Indian word for "eats propellers." In between the islands today I got stuck on a flat rock for a bit. Two things learned from that. One, don't paddle fast in a rock area; you just get more stuck. And two, don't use your better light weight kayak in low water; use the indestructible blue Castine.

Our entertaining and terrifying presidential election has me refreshing Nate Silver's Election Forecast page with its creative graphics several times a day to be reassured that the sensible people in the country are voting for Hillary. Demographic information is the best part of poll results. Things like Catholics breaking for Hillary or the split between college educated whites and non-college whites or in what states you can safely protest vote for a third party candidate without affecting the Hillary victory. Pew Research also has good drill down on demographics. Susan Collins has just come out against Trump and a comparison of the comments on the same article in the Portland Press Herald and the Waterville Sentinel tells you everything you need to know about the first and second congressional districts. I'm having a skinny chicory latte in my Hillary cup before hanging the second load of clothes (the AirBnB is thriving). The other side of the cup says "Red, White, and Brew" but maybe it should say "Bitches get shit done."