We went to Canada! I had Thursday and Friday off, so after our winning streak ended at trivia Thursday night (we got second place.) the boy and I drove up to Magog on Friday. Magog is in Quebec, where they speak French. Like, everyone does all the time, for real. I hadn't really thought much about it, thinking there'd be bilingual signs but that people would mostly be speaking English amongst themselves like normal people, but no. The French thing is for real. Luckily, we discovered that once someone says something to you in French, you just have to say "Excuse me?" or "Do you speak English?" and they will switch right over. At a restaurant for dinner Friday night, our waitress seemed to understand us, and we even pointed at the menu items we wanted. But although we had definitely pointed at the carafe of wine, and she even asked us "red or white?", she came back a few minutes later with a small pitcher of beer and two glasses, setting them in front of us and leaving without a word. The beer was very tasty.
In Canada they also really, really like skiing and hockey, and also foods that are fried and meats that are smoked. I do not recommend going to Magog for shopping. The clothes were all matronly but aggressively craftsy/funky, like the clothes at Zanna and Skera (locals will understand). The art galleries sold the kind of quality items that always make me feel better about myself as an artist.
What you should go to Magog for is the lake and the mountains. On Saturday we took a gondola up Mt. Orford and looked around at the pretty foliage and the view, then we came back down and drove around exploring the west side of Lake Memphremagog. We stopped at a monestary where they make and sell cheese, but they were all out. They also grow apples, so we bought apple crisp and jam for later. We also passed signs for "Arithmatic" that ended in a big field with a bunch of camper trailers in it, and we wondered what word in French that could possibly mean. Was it some kind of math competition? A horse-related thing? Turns out there's a movie being filmed there, called Emotional Arithmatic. Hah. Then we made it to Owl's Head, and took a very long and alarmingly-steep chairlift ride up the mountain. The view was superior to Orford's, just as the host at our B&B had said.
It was a lovely time all around, and it was nice to feel like we really left the country, even though we drove only 3 and a half hours from home.
Things we would do next time: Rent a boat and get out on the lake, and make advance reservations to do the zip-line adventure thing in the woods.
[An aside: I am looking forward to Man of the Year opening and failing horribly, because that might finally kill Robin Williams' career for good. "What if a comedian ran for president?" Well, Robin Williams is no comedian, so I guess we'll never know. The advertisements for this movie make me angry, that's how crappy this movie looks.]