The Spirit of America

We spent Canada Day weekend in Massachusetts. And based on the line at the border, we weren't the only ones to flee Canada for a road trip. We went to Watertown, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Salem and parts in between. It was also my first visit to Harvard and MIT and the first time I went sailing from the Salem Harbour. Not only is our host a sea captain, he is also a great cook and gave us a grand tour of the area.

Funny enough, we planned and cancelled our trip four times before finally going. The weather was supposed to be terrible. Threat of thunderstorms did prevent us from sailing out of the harbour on Sunday. But while it was windy, we didn't see a drop of rain until we were heading north on our return trip home. So the threat of rain turned to sunny skies and 37 degrees Celsius (98.6 Fahrenheit).

One thing I determined is that Canadian liquor stores have boring names. Unlike Bunghole Liquors in Salem, we have The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ). But then again, loosely translated to English, very loosely I might add, you can say it is called the Society of Alcohol, and that has a pleasant ring to it.


Speaking of Salem, I learned a couple historical facts on this trip. The Salem Witch Hunt lasted one year. Twenty people were put to death while 150 were arrested.

Another thing I learned, my Magellan GPS has a much easier time pronouncing the street names in and around Boston than it does in Montreal.
The connection between Boston and Montreal is intriguing. There exists a fierce rivalry due to hockey. Remove the hockey factor and you find a mutual love. Nearly everybody I know back home in Montreal has been to Boston at least once. And on any American long weekend, Montreal is filled with visiting Bostonians. Another thing I was surprised about was the amount of tourists that were visiting Harvard. I do not think the local Montreal universities get many tourists, but I could be wrong.

But here's the question, now that I visited the Harvard campus, can I put on my resume that I went to Harvard?


Driver's Licence

It's driver's licence renewal day. I have been putting it off for so long and it is set to expire in less than a month. Saturday morning at the department of motor vehicles, or as it is know here as the SAAQ not to be mixed up with the SAQ where you go to buy booze.

So, it opens at 9AM. Or so they say. Then why are there 30 people waiting here before 9? I am hoping some of these people queued in front of me are waiting at the wrong government office and actually supposed to be in line at the unemployment office downstairs.

Okay, now it is five past nine and they still aren't open.

Finally, 10 after nine and the doors open. Take a ticket, no pushing.

Only 21 people in front of me. "Now serving number 47." I am 68.

Shoot, I have to take a photo and I haven't shaved in two days. Oh well, its not like I show my driver's licence to many people. Only the cops who pull me over ever get to see it,


Oh, my neighbour is here. The one who keeps saying we should come over for a BBQ but doesn't actually tell us when.

Oh dang! She just saw me, she is coming over. Tippy toes. Tippy toes!

A little bit of chit chat. Oh, and isn't that nice. She just invited us over for a BBQ again. 

Really, I think it's just a matter of timing. Finding the time when we are all free. She travels for work, we have been moving around quite a bit lately. 


I think I am paranoid. Every time I see the camera flash from someone getting their ID photo taken I start thinking, 'Who just took my picture!? What are they going to do with my photo?'

Twelve minutes and six people are done. I should be out within a 1/2 an hour.

What? Wait. I just read the sign. They do not accept credit cards? Since when? Oh. Right. Since always. Okay, I have my debit card.

One angry person with an international driver's licence not getting what he wants. The clerk doesn't know what to do. Call the supervisor.

Another angry person. They are calling the numbers too fast and she missed her turn for taking five seconds to get to the counter.

This is going really fast. Only seven in front of me. 

Wow! Check out that guy. Maybe I didn't shave for my photo but at least I am not wearing a crazy bright red shirt. Ow. I think it just gave me an aneurysm.

Ooh. I'm next.

Okay. Done. Now I can go wait in line at the bank.