Friday, July 22, 2005

Contradicting observations

Living among the French here in Quebec is rather paradoxical. On the one hand, they've embraced many capitalist ideals and a good deal of American culture. (Quebecers are number one in the world for per capita consumption of Kraft mac'n'cheese) On the other, the city of Montreal bucks the mainstream much in the way San Francisco does and is one of the most unique (art-filled, festival ridden) societies in the world. Talk about a melting pot, this place has large Greek, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Mexican and Arab communities within a city of just a million (2 if you count the suburbs). But Quebec being a French speaking province, the preferred (or rather legally mandated) written and spoken language is French. I have had long conversations with English people, solely in French, because the event was French speaking. But in other places, like the metro, everyone speaks their own language, and you hear snippets of all of them every day.

Taxes are high and crime is low. (I don't really think this is a paradox, but my Republican friends will)

People who live here love this city and would never want to live anywhere else, except Florida. (There are huge communities of retired Quebecers who live in Florida during the winter, little towns almost)

French people like to say postitive things in the negative form: It's not cold today. (It's nice today.) That wouldn't not please me. (I'd like that.)

If you don't say "Bonjour" you're rude, but if you decline an invitation, a simple "No" is all that is required. No explanation necessary.

One of the most popular tv shows here features a family living on welfare and cheating the system whenever possible.

Half the people want to separate from Canada, and the other half don't.

All the curse words here are centered on religious objects found in the Catholic church. (Chalice, Sacrament, Host, and the worst, Tabernacle) They use the English word "fuck" constantly, but it has no obscene connotation. C'est fucke! (It's broken)

Quebecers are repulsed by refried beans (sadly for me) and love to eat horse.

Stores can sell alcohol only until 11pm, bars can sell it until 3am.

I suppose I could go on, dear reader, but alas, the day presses at me like a child on the window of an ice cream shop.

1 comment:

r said...

informative. I'll try to remember these things next time I'm in Montreal.

Oh yeah, I don't know how to speak French.