Friday, January 16, 2015

New Year's Eve in the Great White North

I realize we are well into the new year, but I just wanted to talk a little about our New Year's Eve. We spent it again in Quebec and it was a lot of fun. Going up there is nice because it's far up enough to where you find people who don't speak English, but it's also Canada so the people are cool and hockey is king. What more could you ask for? Granted, it was (and is) cold, but we're New Englanders, so what's a little cold? If anything, it was warmer than last year, where we had wind chills in the -20s. This time I think it stayed in the balmy single digits, so it was a cake walk for seasoned veterans like us.

The drive up was a lot easier, as well. Last year there was a massive white-out snowstorm for almost the entire time we were there, including the trip up there. Driving up was not only precarious, but it was downright scary, not to mention slow. The snow was relentless, and the wind was howling. It was hard to see because there was so much snow, and the road conditions were very poor. We saw cars who had lost control and were on the side of the road the entire trip, and because we were driving so slowly, the trip took what seemed like 7 hours. I was tense the entire time, and it was at night, so we couldn't see a thing. It felt like driving in Antarctica because it's flat farmland the whole way. What an ordeal.

This time around, we left earlier, and there was almost no snow on the ground. It was sunny and clear, and we did the trip in about 5 hours. The ride to the border was a piece of cake. As hard as the snow made it to drive, the snow drifts along the way and in the city were pretty darn impressive. This year, the streets and sidewalks were clear. Either way, I think it made our lives much easier.

Since this was our second time around, we had a better sense of the drill, and it made it more fun. It was not as daunting finding places to eat and staying out late on New Year's Eve. In fact, this year we all stayed up past midnight and hung out in the town square. Last year the girls headed out into town until midnight while the boys went to be at 11:00. This year we vowed to be real men and join the party, and a party it was. The people in Canada don't let a little thing like sub-zero temperatures stop them from having fun, and they were out in full force all night. The music was blasting and everyone was dancing and having fun. Best of all, the crowd was mixed, both young and old, and I'm talking really young kids and really old adults. The whole range, so I didn't feel like a big fat nerd and didn't have to worry for the kid's safety. Then again, it's hard not feeling like a big fat nerd when you are a big fat nerd. One last note, the music, dancing, and fireworks were amazing.

The hotel that we stayed at had a nice evening reception with food and beverages, and they had a big screen TV that was broadcasting the hockey junior world championships, in which Canada was playing the U.S. Canada won, much to the happiness of the crowd, and we got to sit and watch hockey. How can you beat that? I have to confess, I'm not horribly disappointed that Canada won. It's their national sport, after all, and most of the U.S. is reasonably ambivalent about the game.

After midnight, we walked with the throngs of people back into the old city and went to bed. It was a fun night, just right in terms of debauchery and noise, even for my old bones. The next morning the hotel extended breakfast hours and had a late checkout. We got our things together and made the long drive home, which was longer than the drive up, but that's a story for another time.

Happy new year once again, and thanks for reading, and thanks to Gav Owen for the pic.

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