in two days i fly back to hollywood and the people will ask what have i learnt

bieber fever

there are two ways to answer such questions.

the first way is to have a pat, generic response with a tad bit of insight that errryone can relate to.

the other way is to really reach down and attempt to pull some deep nugget out that just may blow their minds.

obviously this trip was way more than eating poutine in fast food joints and speaking bad french.

poutine and a 6 piece of mcnuggetsit was a little deeper than realizing that priceline dot com is a godsend to the frugal traveler who doesnt mind doing a wee bit of work to crash in four star establishments for a couple bucks more than what people pay at the super 8.

world travelers all know that most of the people around the globe, when youre vacationing are typically pretty swell.

so when the good people of canada were kind, warm, and at times wonderful these last few weeks, that came as no surprise.

we all know the xbi are a bunch of jerkoffs who have their priorities all wrong so that too is nothing new.

therefore what can i tell my brothers and sisters of this wild, weird, and totally spontaneous journey?

how about this: i feel completely lucky to have had it, a tad unworthy that it happened to me, and entirely grateful to have met the super cool people that i got to say hi to and tres enriched to have experienced this part of canada with someone as special and unique as the boss’s daughter

speaking of her, we had a fascinating discussion at this all u can eat sushi hut last night and i dont know if she loves me or hates me or will kill me in my sleep tonight at the request of the xbi,

cix,

or whatever organization she’s really secretly part of – or heading.

i cant say i would blame her no matter what she thinks or does, but if tragedy strikes and i never set foot again in the usa, i loved you all and please sprinkle my ashes in the bleachers of wrigley field.

if you do want to do something in honor of my doomed soul, how about we start with this; please petition hotels these two favours on my behalf:

1. do not charge your guests more than $5 a night for the honor of parking their vehicles on your properties. of course real estate is valuable and these are tough times yada yada yada, but you are being ridiculous and extremely tacky when you charge $150 for a room and $25 to park a car overnight in your facility. this behavior may look good on your bottom line but it wont impress st. peter or your mother. knock it off.

2. do not charge your guests more than $5 a night for the privilege of accessing your wifi. in the two weeks that i traveled around canada i was hit up between $12 and $19 a day for internet access. and rarely was that access blazing fast. its sad enough that you have the gall to put a $4 price tag on a small bottle of water, stop with the greediness or people will resort to going back to stealing your towels and calling immigration on you for your undocumented workers.

just charge us properly for the room and stop nickel and diming us for the normal things that normal people obviously use.

thank you.

its 2:15am here in canada. tomorrow i spend my last day of vacation here in this town that mostly speaks french and i love it.

i start a new job on monday and i have no clue who is in the playoffs, whats been going on in politics, or what groovy new tunes top 40 radio thinks the kids wanna dance to.

but i do have some cool new stories to tell and a bunch of clean fresh socks i just picked up at h&m.

i plan on downing some more poutine, watching a little hockey with the locals, and organizing my pictures on flickr.

thanks to everyone who said nice things about the photo essays and gave me tips on what to do and see. this was so awesome i cant even believe it.

now i know why justin bieber is so proud to call canada his home.

as you know, j’ adore crazy ass signs telling you not to do things

no to errything except hospital shirts

ok i can understand not wanting people to use old school motorola flip phones in church

and i know they prob dont want you to smoke

or ROLLERBLADE up in the chapel

or have white dudes wear baseball caps

but i sorta like dogs who can sit when you tell em to sit

but the one thing theyre cool with is people wearing hospital shirts?

maybe its a french canadian thing.

ottawa was pretty awesome but quebec city may have taken l’poutine

 

thanks to priceline dot com the boss’s daughter and i ended up in some mighty swanky hotel rooms at about 50% of what most people paid.

the bad part was the website wasnt always intuitive or quick.

no matter, look at the crappy view we got at the hilton in quebec city!

for those of you who havent been yet, thats quebec’s parliament, which is french for “pretty mcdonalds”.

because im never satisfied, heres what i didnt like about the Hilton

fuckers didnt have wifi so you were stuck with a too-short ethernet cord that barely made it to the foot of the bed

on top of that the connection wasnt even very fast And the cord kept disconnecting.

i know i know, first world problems.

etienne hiding from the authorities

you know who had it figured out though? our friends from singapore who just brought the whole crew down to the lobby where wifi was free and the couches were superbe.

this morning we had eggs and bacon and club sandwiches in the crazy mini mall beneath the building.

but the best was the night before when we had the most romantico italiano dinnero in the walled olde city where this dude sang all the best guitaro songs and we dined on pasta and sipped on ginger ale just like real italians.

it was sad to leave the crazy capital but it was nice to be on the road again.

unfortunately the countryside of quebec smelled like wide open derrier

ive seen some trippy things in my day but this even impressed me

healed

we were at the huge amazing St. Annes church just outside of Quebec City

and inside we saw two columns filled with crutches and we were all what the…

then as we walked around we saw little cubbies for this saint and that one

then we saw this amazing scene and we understood: this church heals people who cant walk n stuff

as you know im a born again Christian who loves that line “if you have a mustard seed of faith you can move a mountain”

but does that mean that the guy in the wheel chair has to look like Jesus in a polo shirt?

also, why does the lady have a baby?

it was all ridiculously fascinating and the highlight of the trip.

next to the waterfall 40 kilometers away where you had to pay $9 to view it.

my other problem with the church (because i am a man who only sees problems in the most beautiful things)

they insist that you pay $4 (Canadian) to light a candle.

not cool, Christians, not cool.

one place the xbi wont follow you is to a church

st annes

little known fact.

church

so we went to the weirdest, biggest craziest church we could find.

technically the xbi isnt supposed to snoop around in canada, but if its to track down one of their dudes, the cix allows it

im just a shadow

but what i am trying to impress on the cix is im not an xbi dude, im just me, a shadow, a tourist

someone trying to convince the world that skateboarding is not a crime

inside

 

but all they say is, then why are you hiding at the coolest church in town?

and im all what a black man cant like taking pictures of fountains?

crutches

and they said, if we believed that, then we’d believe Faith could truly heal

trust me i wanna write

canadas white house

but what am i gonna say that hasnt already been said?

the citadel

that Quebec is a hidden gem thats been around for 403 years yet no one ever talks about it and someone stole their hockey team away?

pop

that wine and champagne are so common place that they call the small bottles of bubbly Pop and give it to their kids but the kids rock the pinot grig when noones lookin?

beef

that the beef is so delicious that the cows fall right over in the streets and the sunshine braises it as a form of pre-heating?

meters

that if you dont have money for your parking metres its totally d’accord to put a sticker on it as an IOU?

salmon

that the salmon is so amazing that you barely notice the cous cous, or the melt in yr mouth goat cheese hidden inside?

acdc

that to honor AC/DC the city of Quebec emblazoned lil lightning bolts on the manhole covers?

raybans

when the waiter checked my ID he noticed my birthday was approaching so he went to the Sunglasses Hut and bought me Raybans because he overheard me say that the Blues Brothers was my favorite film?

nappers

i know, i know, this is all boring for you, so if you want, take a nap, but if you wanna see more pics of yesterday, continue along… (ps theres toplessness)

Continue reading

the randomness of images i have seen in Canada = oh lala

first lets talk about the crazy ass stuff i have seen at McDonalds here in Quebec.

the beheaded Ronald McDonalds asking for money was a petite troubling but it didnt stop me from eating francais fries

Ok, now someone asked whats a Quarter Pounder called in French. The answer….

french canadian mcdonalds

A Quart de livre, which simply means “a quarter of a pound”. yep, le boring.

Everything in the Quebec McDonalds was en Francais. Gotta say, a little annoying, but cute.

No one in France likes to eat in their cars, so the dining area was Packed!

and now a quick time out to see what the bosses daughter does with jelly packets and spare orange slices

(which is code for hurry up and finish your crepe tony im bored)

and an orange

ok people know that fast food changes as you cross borders. but mcdonalds is called mcdonalds errrywhere, right? right. but KFC is suddenly PFK in french canada. Say what???

oui! its called poulet frit kentucky. trust me, it was almost impossible to just take this picture
and not run inside and eat everything inside. including the poutine which all of canada agrees is the best of all the american fast food restaurants.

super poutine

speaking of poutine. hi! :)

also..

the world needs more canada

i think we all agree

merci

im not saying the boss’s daughter is involved in the cix, canadas xbi

mounties in ottawa

but last night she was giggling aboot something and this morning she woke me up
saying hear that? hear that?
i said all i hear is a buzzing in my ears cuz its too early o’clock.
she was like its bagpipes! the official instrument of the cix!
i was all, who cares about the cix or anything at this hour other than the zzz?
but shes so cute, america, it was hard not to look at her beaming and jumping around

and before i knew it i was dressed (if shorts and an AC/DC shirt counts as dressed)
and when we got out of our hotel room we saw this:

mounties in ottawa

i was all wtf. she was like LOL.
and i said, ok im going back upstairs to bed cuz this is either a nightmare or a dream
and when i turned around i saw this:

special agent in canada

and i looked back at her and she was smiling so bright it was nuts.
i was all, Lucho’s daughter isnt cix are you?
and she just kept smiling.
and i was like, wait are you trying to get me to be part of canadas undercover superheros?

and she was all i dont even know what youre talking about. and smiled even bigger.
then this guy turned around and said, i dont know what youre talking abooot either

cix agent maple

and then the bagpipes started going again

bagpipes

and then the drums, my beloved drums, started beating

and then the mounties on motorcycles

picked me up and drove me to a helicopter

and took me to this castle

mysterious castle

where i write you tonight where i am weighing some fascinating options

and eating poutine.

ottawa blogger party represent!

tina h., one of my favorite ottawa bloggers from way back in the day (pictured, left) noticed i was in town and just happened to be throwing a bash mere blocks away from our hotel

so we decided to run into a liquor store to pick up some brewskis, wine, and champagne

but guess what America?

aint no such thing as a liquor store in Ontario – and all the government run operations (The Beer Store, and the LickBO) close around 2:45pm.

so we had to arrive at the party empty handed.

no matter, Tina had some fine cuban rum and some excellent conversations already in the hizzy.

so we talked movies, sports, politics, and the wonders of Ottawa which people for some reason still dont think id be interested in but of course i am, this place rules.

not only does the city not punish you for wanting to have a bit of a night life,

but they cleaned up the heroin hang outs underneath the little mini tunnels,

there’s poutine around almost every corner,

and the weather has been spectacularly mild if not perfectly warm.

tinas party had lots of cool folk, really good music, and i loved how everyone took off their shoes once inside the spacious crib.

not only that but also in attendance was one of the xbi’s first black canadian agents, colin x. (pictured, far right) who i was so excited to meet because i thought he was only someone the agency made up in our training manuals.

freakin love ottawa!

earlier in the day we went to the best Indian food place ive ever eaten at, Indian Express, where we had butter chicken and some veggie dishes and some sweet treats.

the boss’s daughter used to go there as a child and the dude remembered her and stopped cooking to talk with us for a while.

all over the walls were business cards of all of his famous customers and polticians and wayne gretzky and erryone.

i was all, whats your secret?

he was like, dont skimp on the expensive ingredients.

speaking of famous customers, earlier in the day we went to the Market and they were selling Obama cookies so i had to try one. they tasted like Canada!

its what Obama ate when he came up here in 2009.

they still arent over it.

it was the perfect dessert after our amazing shawarmas.

but the funniest moment of the day happened right after we left the hotel for a long walk. we saw this homeless dude RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the Ontario Employment agency begging for change

with some incredibly effective fishing tackle and a bi-lingual sign.

the LOLs were definitely worth the Looney i flipped him.