One of the major ways we've interacted with Montrealers on the street is in being barraged with adoring cooing in French: "ah, c'est tout petit! ... tout mignon, ce n'est pas tres vieux?. .. un petit garcon or une fille?". . . etc. Old, young, black, white, male, female, well-heeled and down on luck: people of all descriptions are enchanted by a wee baby in a sling. Countless people have never before seen a baby in such a thing, which is weird, considering Montreal is pretty tough to navigate in a stroller. The Metro lacks elevators, and the sidewalks tend to be narrow and/or crowded in our part of town. Part of the appeal for people in our part of town is the rarity of seeing a baby at all; this is a neighbourhood of students, professional couples, and elderly/disabled and low income people who live in the social housing projects around here.
Other Iggy news: he's now eating solid foods and getting nice and chubby!
We've had some field trips to report on:
The St. Patty's Day Parade
This was right in our neighbourhood, down St. Catherine Street. Refreshingly home-spun, not a lot of corporate presence at all, but the down side was that the lack of organization made for two things you don't want a parade to be: gappy and quiet. Many times it looked like the parade was coming to an anti-climactic end, when it was just the next brass band trying to catch up with the rest of the parade. The marchers were mostly small community groups like Irish dance groups, churches, Irish music groups, and rec sports teams. The spectators were mostly families with kids and drunk people of all ages and backgrounds happy to have an excuse to be publicly drunk in the middle of the day. What impressed me was the enthusiasm and bonhomie of the crowd. The parade lacked any real dramatic impact, but everyone was just enjoying being out in the sunshine and enjoying the day. They shouted and cheered the same for every group that was marching. It made a big impression on Milo, though, his only previous experience with parades being the Bowness Stampede parade, which is very small scale and totally homemade. He sometimes likes to play parade, where he dresses up in something unusual and walks back and forth in front of us and we're supposed to exclaim over what it is he's supposed to be. Nothing gay about that.
Cabane à sucre
We went to a real Quebec sugar shack with our friends Michelle and Anthony. To give a rudimentary definition, a sugar shack is the house on a maple syrup farm that serves traditional Quebec food in a nostalgic atmosphere. It's a popular early spring outing for families here.
Snow still on the ground, but temps getting warmer and the sap flowing in the maple trees. Here's a snap, but for the full report, I refer you to Anthony and Michelle's exuberant Montreal food blog, called An Endless Banquet. They are true foodies, gastronomic adventurers par excellence, and witty and generous writers to boot. Their blog is a must for anyone planning a trip here. Anyway, we had a blast, the music was fantastic, me and Milo danced up a storm, and the food was, well, I'll let AJ do it justice since he's the professional food writer.
We figured we'd best make it there at some point while we're living here. Dave had been twice before but I never had. We were there over the Easter weekend, and I highly recommend that as a good time to go; mostly the tourists at that time are Quebecois, and the crowds are small but the weather warm. To be truthful, we only got a very brief glimpse of the city. This was one of those trips that really makes you question whether travel with small kids is worth it. That said, the old town is gorgeous and we had two lovely meals that Milo behaved enough for us to enjoy.
Dave and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary on Earth Day. My mom was in town visiting, so we had a sitter and we went to Laloux, one of Montreal's great restaurants. We'd been there for a full meal deal for our dating anniversary back in February, and the desserts were so good we just had to experience it again. I can't do them justice, because the desserts as described on the menu don't actually sound that great. You have to taste them to believe. And we are believers now. Oh yes.