I want to catch myself here, because who's to say what a "good" day is supposed to look like? If you are a wedding photographer you probably want an overcast day, but if you are a bride you want it to be sunny. If you are a macro flower photographer you want the air to be completely still, but if you are a sailor you want it to be windy. So instead of assigning certain weather a label of "good" or "bad" maybe I should just try to describe it, as it is, as a fact.
The day started off with massively oppressive, dismal skies; goose-bump inflicting, soggy air and a looming threat of torrential rain and monstrous thunderstorms.
Is that better? Maybe that's too much? Sounds a little bit like I don't approve of the weather, right? Okay, let me try again, with something more objective, if I can manage it, without being devoid of expression.
The day started off with heavy, gray skies and cool, humid air.
|Paddling away from Clayton|
|Therese paddling past an island|
|Passing the steamship|
With anxiety, nervousness and determination, I pull my kayak towards the shore. If we could at least get close to the other shore, we could pull the kayaks out and maybe walk back to the rental place. I am keeping my kayak near the other islands, in case we can't make it and we need to get out of the water anywhere for solid ground. I am seriously considering one such island that has exactly three trees and some shrubs. It is tiny, but we could at least be out of the water there, in case lightning started. Then maybe, we could somehow get the attention of the coast guard to come get us, or a passing motor boat. I am making these plans, thinking, thinking, backup plans, Plan B, if all else fails. Or maybe, we will just make it across the river and be fine. Okay, let's shoot for that, we should try to avoid being stranded on an island in the middle of the river.
|"Susan" pulling the kayak out of the water|
We drive into downtown Clayton for some lunch, stopping at Koffee Kove. We had scoped this place out the other day, there had been a line out the door, but it kind of looked like a dive, and it was, but the good kind of dive. There were old fishing relics on the paneled walls. There were harried waitresses rushing around. Therese and I ordered the Haddock Fish Sandwich, which was supposed to be what they are famous for, their fried fish. It was probably the biggest fish sandwich I have ever seen. It was long, with an equally long piece of perfectly cooked fried fish on it. It was amazing. I think I ate half and "Susan" who only got a salad, ended up eating most of mine and Therese's sandwiches.
Okay, on to Montreal. It seems as soon as we get in the car to leave, it starts to rain. At the border, while going through the tollbooth-style customs, the young Canadian customs official grills us with:
"How does everyone in the car know each other?"
"Where do you live?"
"Why do you live in New York but have a Pennsylvania license plate?"
"Why are you going to Canada?"
"What are you doing in Montreal?"
"Where are you staying in Montreal"
"What's the address of your hotel in Montreal?"
To the last question, Therese feebly answers, butchering the pronunciation of the street name, Boulevard Rene Levesque. Suddenly, he seems satisfied with his questioning and smiles, "I guess you didn't have time to practice your French before going to Montreal. Its pronounced Ren-ay La-veck. Have a good time in Canada."
|Small house island|
"Bonjour. Parlez-vous anglais? S'il vous plaît?" I say, nervously, while also trying to muster up my very best, yet awkward feeling, French pronunciation.
|Therese on the Subway|
|Near Sherbrooke station|
|Pickles & Mustard|
|Bone Marrow Appetizer|
Feeling very full, we decide to attempt a cab ride home, since we are really not that far from our hotel. Miraclously, we do find one and he even understands some English. In a slur of French, I only managed to recognize the sounds of the street our hotel is on and it sounds like a question, so I guess he is confirming the address.
"Oui." I say, and we are off.
|Montreal from our hotel|
I pulled out the sofa bed of our tiny, shared Montreal hotel room. Before turning in, we are all exhausted, I take a few photographs out the window, since this will be my only opportunity to see a Montreal night. I reflect to myself, "What an odd day. We kayaked amongst islands through white-capped river waves before a storm. Then we had a gourmet dinner in a French-speaking city. Now I am going to sleep on a sofa bed in a cramped hotel room in Canada."
Sackets Harbor to Clayton, New York to Montreal, Quebec, Canada:
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