Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Day in Montreal; Last Day in 2007

Our last day in Montreal started out with beautiful blue skies, something we haven't seen in a while. It's either snowed or looked like snow the whole time we've been here. We decided to take advantage of the good weather by going up Mont Royal to see the view.

Waiting for the train at Metro Peel
Waiting for the train at the Metro station

I loved riding the trains in Montreal. For one thing, they're blue, like Thomas Train Could. And they're also super fast. They would have been perfect if they only had elevators so that mommy and daddy didn't have to carry me up and down two stories of stairs every time.

After taking the train, we took the bus! Of course, bus is not as exciting as train, so I fell asleep. I slept the whole time we were on the mountain. Here is some of what I missed.

A fat squirrel
Big fat squirrel begging for food

One horse open sleigh
A real one horse open sleigh!

Cross country skier
A man with sticks on his legs

Skyline with slope of Mont Royal
Blue skies

Mommy and daddy at Chalet Mont Royal
And mommy and daddy at Chalet Mont Royal

On the way back down, we caught the bus again and then walked like 20 blocks to get some tasty smoked meat sandwiches. Of course, we could have taken the train to another bus, but that would be too much public transportation on such a nice day.

After getting the sandwiches we took the train to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. While walking to the train, we saw some really cool buildings at a place called UQAM. Daddy only got one picture, but there are lots of others here.

UQAM building
Some kind of green building

At the museum I got to play with coloring and we made some shadow puppets. I also saw a Mootisse and a Pigasso, like in my book.

Shadow Puppets projected
Mommy's on the left, daddy's one is on the right

Shadow Puppets
Shadow puppets making tiny shadows

I also liked the exhibit of Christmas trees. They had lots of neat ornaments on them.

Origami ornament
From the Origami society

Polish School Ornament
Polish School ornament

Christmas Trees at Musee de Beaux Arts
A tiny part of the Christmas trees room

Montreal was fun, but today it was time to get back to Boston. We schlepped through the driving snow to get back to celebrate the New Year.

I had lots of fun in 2007. I hope 2008 brings lots more fun for me and for you! Happy New Year! Sawadee pee mai! Hau'oli makahiki hou! See you next year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Alive in the Snow

Yesterday we went to visit the Olympic area, which has some places with incredible living things, despite all the snow on the ground here in Montreal.

First stop was the Biodome. This is a big stadium that now has a tropical rainforest, a Canadian forest and river, and an Antarctic exhibit.

Biodome Montreal with Olympic Tower
The Biodome is the big building in the front.

First stop was the tropical rainforest. Everything was warm and humid in there, just like in Hawaii!

Bird following me around
This birdie followed me around

Then it was on to the Canadian forests and rivers.

Porcupines sleeping
Porcupines sleeping in the trees

Looking at starfish and anemone
Looking at anemones and sea stars

Exploring the river in my canoe was one of the best parts of the forest

I am a giant
Of course, so was playing with this little canoe

Innu Hat
I got to wear an Innu hat

Innu Boots
... and boots

Later we went to the Discovery Centre in the basement of the Biodome. I thought it was going to be like the one in the Boston science museum. It was not as fun, but I did get to carry around a big sea turtle and spell words out using blocks.

Ono Scorpion fish
"Ono" scorpion fish

Then it was lunch and on to the insect zoo. Unfortunately, lunch lately means nap right away, so mommy and daddy went for a walk while I slept inside the bubble.

I figured they were going to walk to the insect zoo. It's inside Montreal Botanical Garden, which is a huge area. Of course, there wasn't much to see outside except snow.

Mini train cars in snow
And mini-trains, which sadly, were also stuck in the snow

Inside the botanical gardens' greenhouse were lots of flowers. While I napped, daddy took some pictures of them. Here are some of my favorites.

Purple Orchids
Purple flowers that mommy likes

Bumpy bromeliad leaf
Bumpy leaf

Bonsai Elm
My size mini-tree

When I woke up, I was surprised that we weren't at the insect zoo. I couldn't believe they didn't go straight there and sit and wait for me to wake up! But I was still sleepy so it didn't matter

Big yawn
Big yawn

And then there was the music. We saw a Christmas concert by this group called Trio No Parking.

Trio No Parking
Guess which one is my favorite?

Then, it was on to the Insectarium. There were lots of cool bugs and stories about bugs.

Wagering on Stag Beetles
Rhinoceros beetles wrestling

Thai money
Thai money. Apparently Thai people gamble on beetle wrestling.

Looking at bugs
Looking at spiders

Peeping at sleeping ladybugs
Walking around, I found a little peep hole at my level!

Ladybugs resting
It was filled with little ladybugs sleeping. I know, because I watched them for 10 minutes, and they didn't move.

Aside from the ladybugs, the coolest thing at the zoo was the ant colony. The ants are taking little bits of flower petals across these branches to feed their workers who make fungi by pooping on it.

Ants carrying bits of flower petals
It's pretty though

By then it was getting late, so we left. Of course, it was only like 5 pm, but by the time we got back to the city, it was like 5:30 pm, which is apparently closing time for the underground malls and their restaurants. 5:30. On Saturday night. I know I go to bed early, but what about all the older kids? This really is a foreign country.

Ok, one more full day in Montreal to go, and then it's back to Boston for the New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Foreign People in Foreign Lands

Ok, we're here in beautiful Montreal, which marks the first time I've been outside of the country. It is really another country here, with different people, different talking, and different signs. The one thing that's the same, it's still snowing!

We left early yesterday morning, and drove all day to get here. Lucky mommy let me watch my Robot ABC DVD in the car. Have I mentioned this is the best movie of all time? I will have to tell you more about it later then, since we've done a lot in the last two days and I've got lots to cover.

Ok, back to yesterday morning: when we were about halfway there, we stopped at a big ice cream factory. It is run by two guys, who weren't there that day. Luckily, their friends were and they were serving ice cream!

Ben and Jerry's floor
The guys' floor

Sampling the wares
Mommy sampling the wares

Then it was a couple more hours in the car, across the border, using my passport that I didn't get to use back in April when we missed our cruise. When we got to Montreal, we went to do what mommy and daddy seem to spend a lot of time doing, that is, eating. I know when I sit and do nothing all day, I don't have much of an appetite. This does not seem to bother them.

Daddy got a taste of what it is like when you can't read, or you think you can read but you really can't. When the pig feet with sauerkraut came out, boy, was he surprised. They were pretty good, though!

Making a picture
Drawing pictures at Les 3 Brasseurs. I am concentrating hard because of the loud French rock music in the background.

Hmm, my work could use some work
Hmm, my work could use a little work. Or less French rock.

After dinner we went for a little stroll. In the snow. Mommy and daddy said we had to because Montreal is much more "Christmas-y" than Boston.

Big Christmas tree
Giant Christmas "tree"

Rue University lights
Lights on Rue University

Secret Bench
It was so cold, these guys froze! Ok, they're statues called "Secret Bench."

Rue University in the snow
I stayed warm inside my bubble. Warm, but mad that I had to stay inside my bubble. I like snow!

The next day we went out to visit the Science Centre of Montreal. That is, Le NOUVEAU Centre des sciences de Montreal.. It just opened last month with all new stuff!

Here we are at the entrance.

Time to go in, right? Unfortunately they posted a sign on their door saying they were opening 1 hour later than usual because it's winter break. So we went for a walk around the neighborhood.

It's cold in Montreal
The pier next to the Science Centre. Frozen solid.

It snows here too
Did I mention it snowed?

While we were walking we came across this giant church. It's called La basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal.

Notre Dame Montreal
Look at the tiny people walking up the ramp!

We went inside but didn't stay too long, as I didn't like the looks of this place. I said, "Scary" and "Go outside," which was pretty clear to mommy and daddy.

Inside of Notre Dame
Inside the Notre Dame

Incidentally, the Notre Dame was just about the most stroller handicapped accessible place we've been to since we got to Montreal. I had a bumpy ride down the stairs to the Metro, and mommy and daddy had a hard time carrying the stroller up the stairs out of there. But even though there are lots of steps to the Notre Dame, they didn't have to get me out of the stroller once!

Across from Notre Dame
Across the street from the Notre Dame

Since we had spent enough time walking around in the cold, we went back and the Science Centre had opened.

Inside of Science Centre
French Canadian person being squeezed by A and Z in the main hallway

The exhibits were lots of fun. I got to play with lots of sound equipment.

More listening about salt
Learning about salt.

Listening to salt
Learning about salt from a giant salt shaker.

Later we got to produce our own video. My one is about cars. Eventually, they're supposed to email us the video, so when I get it, I will share it with you.

Making a video
Making beat box noise for soundtrack

There actually wasn't that much for me to do there, so I had to invent stuff to do.

My favorite thing to do at iSci: playing with the blinds
Playing with the fun blinds drawcords

Kinetic sculpture at Science Centre
Ok, this was fun to look at. Everything in this exhibit moves frantically when you push the button. I liked to "push the button!"

After a dim sum lunch in Chinatown, it was off to nap time for me. The parents went to the contemporary art museum while I snoozed.

Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal
Musee d'art contemporain de Montreal buried in snow

Their favorite artist there was a guy named Vik Muniz. He's a Brazilian sculptor and photographer, whose "thing" is doing old works of art in grains of sugar or dirt, food, or toys. What I saw when I woke up was pretty awesome. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of his stuff, so just search for him on the Internet, and you'll see lots of neat stuff.

Back on the Metro to go home, I snapped a shot of one of the quiet trains.

These trains have tires!
They're quiet because they have rubber tires!

Ok, that's it for tonight. Hopefully I will be able to post more before I get back to Boston. Montreal is shaping up to be a fun town!