Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Quebec is the French part of Canada. It hasn't made money in decades, which is immediately obvious by the number of potholes after crossing state lines. The province is the second-largest (7.7m to Ontario's 12m) and Montreal is Canada's second city with about half of Quebec's population.

The leaves are changing in North America, and every tree is a different autumnal tone. The crowded, leafy forests, in summer uniformly forest green, fade in warm fall colours.

Montreal used to have money, but Quebec's separatist rumblings scared off major companies. The 1976 Olympics were Montreal's last attempt at greatness; unfortunately, despite having more athletes than any country but USA and USSR, Canada failed to win a single gold medal.
The streets are aggressively historical, with gap-toothed cobbles lining the Old Montreal part of the city and barkers promoting restaurants in the light rain. Chinese convenience store owners speak pragmatic French. I visited two lesser cathedrals by accident before finally getting to Notre Dame.

The leaves must drop away:
And yet it were a greater grief
To watch it withering, leaf by leaf,
Than see it pluck'd to-day;
Since earthly eye but ill can bear
To trace the change to foul from fair.
-- Byron

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