Monday, July 29, 2013

The Officer's Daily Log:

Québec City, Québec, Canada

Saturday, July 20th, 2013-
As we left Wellfleet, Massachusetts, our car was packed to the brim with the remaining artifacts of the experiences of the past three weeks. My parents constantly switching drivers, the ride took ten hours, with a stop in Vermont. I've never really been on such a long ride, and this was certainly very, very long. From playing Dumb Ways to Die and listening to every single song on our iPod to playing endless games of tic-tac-toe and rolling the car window up and down infinite times, we finally arrived in Canada! It was odd that we were truly in a foreign country as we had simply drove there! Although Cape Cod is my favorite place in the world, it felt, once we entered Québec City, like we were on vacation.
That night, after we checked into our hotel, Hôtel Manoir Victoria, we went to dinner at Chez Victor, where we had gourmet (duck, pork, and boar)burgers and a classic Canadian dish called Poutine, which is french-fries with a gravy sauce a clumps of melted cheese. C'est parfait. After the meal, we walked to the port where there was a stage set up within a grande outdoor theatre. The stands were already full, and there were multiple lines of people waiting to go in, but as the the beginning of the show took it's toll (you could tell by the energy of the audience), we ushered ourselves in (with a bunch of other eager humans) and luckily got a seat! 
The show was spectacular. There was a human cannonball, confetti shooting everywhere, gymnasts flipping in the air and landing on one another, ballerina's twisting and turning in floating hula hoops, clowns juggling fire and knives on unicycles, and much, much more. And as the lights flashed and the music blasted, the circus framed our stay in the region as a great one.

Sunday, July 21st, 2013-
We awoke on Sunday to find ourselves in a very different atmosphere than the Cape. The beds were very comfortable, and for breakfast we had some yogurt and fruit we had bought the night before. The markets in the city were very scarce and expensive- I don't think there's so much fresh food for the public to consume, and if there is, it's marketed at a very, very high price.
That morning, we went to a Siberian Spa. The whole experience was intertwined with nature, as everything was built outside into the forest. The method of the Siberians is hot, cold, relax. For step one, there were jacuzzi's built into to the natural rock of the outside and both wet and dry saunas all around. For step two, there were various cold plunges with icy waterfalls flowing from above, and you could also dunk in the river. As for relaxing, there were lounge chairs near crackling fires outside and multiple huts and coves with hammocks and cozy chairs. For the past few days, something had been bothering me and I was a little bit tense but the spa was, as stereotypical as it may sound, was very rejuvenating. 
After a French baguette, cheese, and some dried meats, we walked up to the Plains of Abraham where the battle of Québec took place.

In that battle, the French were taken by surprise and lost the future of self-governing, as New France was defeated by the English. From then on, the British ruled Canada, and to this day, the French, who had such a strong culture, they continue to struggle to keep the heritage of their past heritage alive. After, we toured the Citadel, the ring around the grounds that protected the fort.
I have traveled my entire life, been to so many places, and explored so many cultures. But throughout it all, the history of each land has been defined, explored, and played with so many times that what we have to understand is that with the facts that we know, we have to take our own insights and create our own historical events. The present is a repetition of the past, and yet the past is a prediction of the future, and everything determines everything and it's just one big circle and where are we really? We are in 1500, living with the natives, yet we are are in 2999, living in turbo jets with personalized robots: we are now, we are we are we are no definition we are what we are and I've just thought and thought and we are nothing so much as we are everything, living in the parallel universes of yesterday, today, and tomorrow, galloping through the seas of time, hopping like bunnies and swimming like seals through everything, yet does it matter? It's just a system, a circle, a machine, and every time it cracks it's only building a new system, toiling and ticking and moving and growing and shrinking and flowing and just, just everything. Why don't we abandon everything? Because everything is already abandoned. Oh no no no, we're all just big fat blobs floating somewhere in this universe searching and living and just being.

Monday, July 22nd, 2013-
On Monday morning, we lingered to the Old Port and took a tour about Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Québec City. Although Jaques Cartier came much earlier, Champlain created the first permanent French settlement in the territory. The women giving the tour was dressed in an outfit of the time period and described the events as if she was currently living in her description. We then saw a historic film playing with the idea that history is only personally interpreted.
We continued to explore the streets of the city, and wandered into a museum that had an exhibit on the history of video games. This kind of history is awesome! Life is just one giant video game, constantly progressing by moving forwards and backwards all at once. We started from the simplest games of the mid 1900s to the complex (although it doesn't really seem like this) Wii and Playstation and dance games of today. As we left the exhibit, we saw a giant sculpture of the Assassin from
Assassin's Creed: my brother (me too, I guess) is OBSESSED with the song! It just gets you pumped! Ahhh! That night, we had the greatest meal ever to enter anyones stomach throughout the entire universe. We went to an exquisite, hipster, high-end restaurant called Patent et Machent, which means little things and big things in French. It was superior. First of all, the atmosphere of the restaurant is superb, with chalk boards on the walls, old wooden tables, and dish towels for napkins. The vibe was great, and the French music made it even better. For an appetizer, we had a risotto (of course, it's like two bites on a giant plate) and a tartare de boeuf, which was amazing (small raw beef on a crisp,
toasty slice of baguette with a beautiful sauce). For our main courses, we had sliced deer and a slow cooked pork with exotic vegetables and a delicious sauce. It was just so good! To end the dream, we had the most perfect dessert: a white cake with an aged cheddar sauce. It sounded a little bit odd, but it turned out to be, actually, the best. Thing. I. Have. Ever. Tasted! Food is utterly superior.

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013-
Looking back, today must have been a continuation of the extravagant food we had the day before. On Tuesday, we hopped into our car and headed to Île D'Orleans, a large island in the middle of the body of the St. Lawrence, in the mouth of the Atlantic Ocean. As the island has microclimates due to the positioning of its outer ring of mountains, it is the perfect spot for farming. This is where the farms of many of the small, budding businesses of Québec City are located. We decided to tour around the island in a circular fashion. We first stopped at an apple orchard, where we royally consumed some exquisite apple butter on a loaf of, well, perfect bread. Ah, perfect is such a deceiving and complicated word but this day was, at least in the food sense, absolutely perfect. Every time we go on vacation, we are never left without amazing food! 
As we ate the morning delicacies, my parents tasted some wine and my mom, in her eager attempts to wildly try unusual food, tried a duck confit parfait. Now, in New France we had already eaten multiple levels of "duck products," per se (many confits), but this one, being a parfait, was literally a duck smoothie- it was so creamed it was appalling that it could possibly be meat. All though this was awful, I still can't see the appeal of being vegetarian. I think I'm a very healthy eater, but I also disagree with people who eat way to little and strictly eat certain things and eliminate others because it's not "good for you". Actually, it's quite the opposite- eating balanced and hearty food is really good for your body. I'm not quite sure what this is really trying to sum up to, but, all in all, food is fantastic!
After raspberry picking, more wine tastings, visiting cheese farms, a black current orchard, a jam shop, sirop (as they say in French; we just thought it was how they pronounced syrup in English, but it's actually spelled like that! It was oddly hilarious to us) farms, an animal farm and lots, lots more, we were ready to retire for the day.
However, you cannot retire when the best is in front of you, as we were about to discover.
As we drove, tired and stuffed from a day full of eating, my dad spotted a small, gravel path leading up to something hidden. Being quite the curious one, he drove us up the road. We came across two large houses, and we decided to go into the left one as there was a sign that said "ouvert," open. We went in, and this women greeted us from behind a counter as we walked in to the coolest looking, cutest, retro, awesome little jam shop. It was so quaint and modernly old fashioned- walls were painted in this RETRO, my new favorite word, blue and chalkboards filled the room. They had an old refrigerator, blue, of course, which just made everything even better. Now, I really love design, and when something feels good and right to me, it's really great.
This shop was called Tigidou, which has a slick meaning in French, yet I'm not sure what it is. The women gave us some samples- the first compote we tried was a frozen jelly, much like a sorbet. It was delicious, and we continued with some other jams that continued the ecstasy. Okay, to some, this may not sound so great, but in my little world, it was so cool. The women, sensing our interest and getting the feel for us, asked if we'd like to see upstairs, which was a private room that they'd been working on since they'd started the business. It was full of old canoes, great lights, antique objects, couches, shelves with old books, toy cars, and more. The next room was a playroom with everything you could imagine: a ping pong table, air hockey table, punching bags, toy guns, a pool table, a record player, and more. My mom and I set off for a match of ping pong, which is such a back and forth sport (in the way that it's repetitive with the ball simply bouncing to and fro constantly) it's really very fun and relaxing. After we finished, we went back downstairs, but a sorbet and a few jams, and said good bye to our new friends. Anyway, this whole experience goes to show that a) there are some really kind people in this world eager to show you their little life b) some people just have a GREAT sense of design and c) who knew jelly and jam could be so great?!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I am home, once again. I am home, the home where the song of the land matches the song of me.
I am home to the bay, the sacred incove with the properties of the ocean but the security of a pond.
I am home to the ponds, the little droplets of water in which I flip, dance, and childishly swim in as if I am queen of the circular captivity.
I am home to the ocean, the traveler, whom I have met across the glob. The ocean, the sea, the waves of salt water grasping your hand and emerging you into a vast, quiet world of peaceful rumbling- back and forth, to and fro.

the moon 
Darkness is
 Who knew that the beauty of nature could be so close yet so giant all at once? I am sipping the freshness, drinking the virtue of the world each day, embracing the shape of the stones and the touch of the seashells, digging my feet into the hundreds of thousands of millions of grains of sand, grasping me and pulling me in by my soul.
I am experimenting even in my regularity. We all are. Coming here each here has brought the sense that this is my place. My time. My world. My return.

What is the Earth really composed of? 

Is it really all rock and fire and water and air and elements and all the other scientific classifications we have made? 

Or do we make the Earth? 

But then again how could we possibly be of any importance to this huge planet when we are only an addition? 

                                                                                                        We haven't been here from the start.

  Yet we are now, and we cannot let now be taken from us.

 While my mom ticks away at her days in the sea of work, the troops, my brother, father, and I, have explored every inch of our personal vacationland. We've gone to Long Pond, Gull Pong, Dyer Pond, Great Pond, Duck Pond, Spectacle pond, Newcomb Hollow, Lacont Hollow, Whitecrest, Mayo Beach, the Audubon, Lieutenant's Island, Great Island, Uncle Tim's Bridge, and every where else not classified by name. We've rented boats, flipped off, and laughed like helpless, reckless, excited children.
We've told joke after joke, tried to humor-ise the unhumerable. We've told stories and read book after book. We've played game after game, rounds and rounds of endless card games. We've walked the same walks and swam in similar waters.
Yet this similarity is so new and inviting and still has room for exploration. I have really enjoyed being with my family, creating games, foods, stories, everything with my brother, and mostly, the scent of freedom is in the air.