Oh, Quebec… Hated living here but I love, love, love visiting!
Being overdue for a Walmart run and having access to the car for a few precious hours, I headed out this morning for the first time to the Quartier Dix30 (Ten30 Neighbourhood, because it’s at the intersection of autoroutes 10 and 30). To me, this mega complex, that would rival the West Edmonton Mall if it was enclosed, is new, but it’s of course been here a while. It took a bit of navigation to find the Walmart, so new that it doesn’t even have a Walmart sign on the exterior.
I hadn’t been in there a minute that I was grinning, listening to a husband and wife have a quiet argument. Husband was ranting in English and wife was trying to calm him down in French. During my shopping I caught associates doing the same thing, one talking to another in French and getting English responses. Even though French is my first language, I make sure I’m exposed to it everywhere I live, and I spoke tons of it in Dawson City, it still sounds so exotic after not living in a French environment for almost four years.
The actual shopping experience was horrible because Quebec has a European-style culture of ‘the customer is not my bread and butter, it is a disturbance’, but I knew that going in and kept telling myself, “Réspire par le nez” (breathe through the nose), a common expression meaning, “Relax!”
They were having an amazing deal on the Omega Paw litter box, so I picked up a new one (and I even managed to score the bronze one that I have been coveting because it will blend in better with my decor). The clasps on the one I got in Campbell River are worn, so the box leaks when I roll it. There is also the matter that even with cleaning it completely once a week, a litter box retains odours. I used to buy a litter box a year, so having done a year and a half with my litter box in no way reflects on the quality of the product. My review of the Omega Paw litter box still stands; best litter box ever!
Now that it’s almost summer, I’ll be having tomato sandwiches for breakfast for the foreseeable future and I was out of tomatoes. So I made a stop at IGA to grab some. I don’t know what it is about the produce out here, but it lasts longer. Then again, Jody agrees with me that the produce in Lethbridge is terrible. I’d slice a tomato there and the next day the leftovers would be mouldy. Here, a tomato can last me for three sandwiches/days. They also taste like tomatoes here.
Quebec grocery stores are nothing like the grocery stores out west. There’s a lot more ‘ethnic’ stuff, especially Middle Eastern, and a lot more gourmet products. It’s so lovely to have access to not just pita bread again, but a variety of it, and stocked by a store that knows that pita bread is supposed to be soft! And let’s not get into the options for hummus. I used to be a bit of a purist, but I’m starting to like the ones with add-ins. I went with roasted red pepper today. 🙂
Another difference is that some products that are really expensive out west are cheaper in Quebec. I’m thinking specifically of grey shallots. I occasionally splurged on a mesh bag of three or four of them for about $5 in Lethbridge. Here, I bought a big box with more than 10 for about $2. Cheese and yoghurt are also cheaper. My favourite kind of yoghurt is about 50 cents cheaper here at regular price and I got some $2 cheaper on sale. Finally, when my favourite brand of frozen pizza goes on sale here, the whole brand goes on sale, not just a few flavours. Yay for a freezer full of $3 Dr. Oetker Hawaiians. 🙂
I really hope that I’ll be able to get out and explore Quebec this summer. I think that once I have my new toad set up for camping, it’ll be really motivated to go out for three-day weekends. I’d especially like to get to Charlevoix and maybe even as far as Gaspé. But if I do that, I might as well keep going and visit the last province on my list, Newfoundland!
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