Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Celebrating my 52nd Birthday in the Birth City of Canada

We celebrated my 52nd birthday in the only walled city north of the Rio Grande, Québec City. This French speaking capital of Québec province rambles along the St. Lawrence River. Pink, blue, and white sails curve as the chilly October breeze push the graceful yachts downstream where tour boats and the ferry also make their way. On land, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac – a luxury hotel - dominates the skyline with its copper roof, turrets and towers. Beyond this imposing hotel, there are hundreds of shops, restaurants, and cathedrals.

While making our way to the Citadelle, we asked for directions to the entrance. A French-Canadian named George stopped pedalling his bicycle and gave us more than directions. He had been a tour guide for the city as a young student. Our questions lead to a narrative history of the roles of the French and British armies in building and battling at the fort. Fresh with new appreciation for the historical importance of the city, Ed and I walked the Promenade des Gouverneurs and skirted the star-shaped fortress.

On the city’s edges along Rue des Remparts, low ramparts were studded with cannons. These are lifesize versions like the little one Ed owns. Ed’s cannon actually fires. These cannons had not fired since the 18th century. I asked Ed to pose for a photo suggesting that he had graduated to a bigger cannon and found a new way to disturb the peace.

More than the cannons and historic significance, I enjoyed the street performer who was a one man band. He had a drum strapped to his back and a cow bell on his waist. His rythmic strut tugged chords anchored to the heels of his boots and caused the drum to bang and the bell to clang. He strummed a guitar and sang farovites like Bye, Bye Miss American Pie. The open guitar case held the collection of money given in appeciation by the audience for his marvelous performance. Thanks, Jacques!

October 6, 2007

1 comment:

gloria said...

Happy Belated Birthday! I thought about you on Oct. 6. I love your blog...keep 'em coming...