Category Archives: Katimavik


Drugs.  It’s like S&M fetish parties.  If you don’t know about it, it doesn’t exist.  Unfortunately, I know that there is a certain person in the household who is enjoying a little toke now and then.  This person was outside last night at 1 am with no shirt, just “chilling” (in the snowy cold, spitting on the ground, probably clearing out their throat so they can walk back into the house like nothing happened.  The Project Leader wasn’t awake).  This situation has happened before (I was even asked if I wanted any.  I’m in a government program and I don’t want to jeopardize* myself.  Plus, alcohol is the only thing that enters my body), and I’m going to do something about it before it gets out of hand (and someone else leaves the group).

On that same note, a participant left the group last night because he was tired of group living (not because of drugs).  He left this morning and I’m sad to see him go.  It’s a shame he did not find motivation to stay in the group, but if he wasn’t happy, then he did the right thing to leave the group before it affected the group dynamic in a bad way.

Then there were 9.  7 girls, 2 guys.  The next Project Leader in Stonewall will be a girl as well.  A 4:1 ratio.  I’m not worried about it in the slightest.  I have a lot of experience in dealing with women (Hello, gay man here).  Just for a little tangent, my very first job was at a Dollarama.  I was only holiday help, but every single employee there was a female.  I fitted in nicely, even though I wasn’t out yet.  I also got my first taste of what too much estrogen does to women.  Can you say back-stabbing and gossip to the extreme? Meow.

To add even more to this Katima-post, I got an e-mail back from the Katimavik Ontario office (see Feb. 2nd in this post) about my PL (Project Leader) position and they told me that I am a great candidate for the PSO (Project Support Officer) position.  This is definitely something to consider for the future.  I will now explain what all of these Katima-things mean (because I have been writing this blog since September and I have yet to explain myself).

Katimavik is a government-funded program for Canadians between the ages of 17-21.  It lasts for 9 months.  During that time, you stay in 3 different communities for 3 months each during the program.  The program starts in either September or January (depending on when you apply).  There are communities all over Canada that have Katimavik participants living there.  Just look for a large white van with this symbol on it.  There are 11 participants in a group and 1 PL.

A PL is basically like the don of your residence floor, your supervisor, your parental unit, etc.  They get to drive you around to places, find work placements and billet families, and give you your weekly allowance ($21!).  On top of that, they do a lot of paper work, act as a social support and a leader for the group.  A PSO is someone who assists the PLs and does counselling with groups when they are in dire times (for example, when the group is falling apart, or everyone is losing the will to stay in the program).  They also travel around to schools to do presentations, run workshops with groups, and promote Katimavik.  The PSO position is my kind of job because I love public speaking and helping out others.

The reason why I called this blog Katima-what? is because when I first mention Katimavik to someone, they always say, “Katima-what?”.  Katimavik means “meeting place” in Inuktitut.  After Katimavik is done, the blog might get a name change and a makeover.  The future is a mystery.

If you ever have any questions about Katimavik, me, or anything, feel free to ask.

* = Here’s a rule in Katimavik: If you do any illegal activity of any kind, you are dismissed immediately.  Do not pass go, do not collect $200.  There has been stories of participants who got kicked out a mere 12 hours before the program was over and they did not recieve their $1000 or reference letters.  Wonder why… oh right, it’s because WE ARE IN A PROGRAM FUNDED BY THE GOVERNMENT.  Don’t screw with the system.  Save the illegal stuff for when you’re done the program and back in your tiny little town where no one gives a damn (or British Columbia).


Why is that celebrity holding a tray of quiches?

If you were on the Metro yesterday afternoon and you saw a man who looked like a rock star/person who should own a motorcycle holding a tray of quiches, wearing white rimmed sunglasses and listening to an iPod, that was me.

I was taking the quiches to the house, which would end up at the Final Presentation.  It went really well, minus the technical difficulties of danse la poutine and the slide-show.  After playing the song I started to develop a blister on my thumb from strumming too hard.  I knew I should of used a pick.

No one from my work or from my billeting family showed up (although I saw my billet dad as the group was walking out of the Subway, which meant he was too busy), but we did get a photographer from some newspaper, the MPP, and our project co-coordinator to show up, as well as some Katima-alumni, 3 children, and a slew of billets and work partners.  All in all, we had about 40 people and a lot of food (3 pasta salads.  That’s what you get for making it a pot luck).  The next final presentation will be our real final presentation.  Hopefully it will be a barbecue.

Following the final presentation, we went home and played charades en français.  I can do really good impressions of beavers, turtles, and scarecrows.  Charades is so much fun for me ’cause it gives me the chance to make an ass of myself on stage and get a laugh out of people.  Some other impressions that were acted out included: dying, giving birth, making love, first kiss, sick, miming, and other obscure (and sexual) actions.  Our Second Language committee is a little body hungry apparently (as are the rest of us, except for one lucky participant whose boyfriend works for Air Canada and travels to Montréal constantly).

Speaking of boyfriends, Jeffrey is moving out of Toronto and into Ottawa.  Why? Because he hates Toronto with a fiery passion that is only known by me.  Since he may be going to U of Ottawa (or Trent) for the fall, it seems logical to move there for a while and see if he would enjoy it.  This is also good for me as it means I’ll be spending my next 48 hours in lovely Ottawa with him, plus he will be way happier with his living arrangement (no more catching mice and living in a basement apartment).  He moves this weekend, which means by the time I reach Stonewall on Wednesday, he will be all moved into Ottawa.  Best of luck to you babe.

I got a letter of reference and the Corpse Bride DVD from Propulsion today.  The only reason I can think of why they would give me that DVD is because Tim Burton also directed Edward Scissorhands, and the clients would sometimes call me Edward aux mains d’argent (Edward with silver hands).  That’s pretty far fetched but either way, it’s a nice gift and the last time I will have to walk into that placement.

Here’s a thought: Why doesn’t WordPress have a reply function for comments? Why is it only “Leave a response”? Time to have a nap.

P.S. A little math equation.  Me + Scruffiness = Hot (according to the Katima-group).  I was also told that I looked really good last week (for a sick person).  A picture post will come soon to decide that.


Open Doors

“You have that special something that will allow you to go into a specific field of your choice.  You will excel and go very far.”

This was said to me today during my 3 month review at Propulsion.  Following that statement, we discussed what groups of people I could help out:

  • Gerontology
  • AIDS
  • Helping people with different sexualities become comfortable with who they are
  • Kids Help Phone
  • Physically and/or Mentally Disabled
  • School Counsellor

There are plenty of others, but those interested me the most.  Thanks to Katimavik, I feel like I am opening a lot of doors and making many connections all over Canada.  Jeffrey once told me about a volunteer program that he used that I can’t recall the name of.  Basically it allows GLBT people who are kicked out of their parents houses to come live with a gay couple for mentoring and a place to stay.  Perhaps that will be something Jeff and I can do when we are older and have an established life.

I took Nyquil last night and slept like a rock.  Thanks Dr. Boyfriend.

P.S. You know that girls are excited about their DivaCups when they are hysterically yelling, “I want my period right now!”


Sleeping alone in my room AND slowly affecting someone’s health? Score one for Edward.

I was awake at 3:19 this morning.  But it wasn’t because of my room-mate.  It was because of my coughing.  So I walked upstairs and got my trusty bottle of Robitussin and downed two teaspoons (I bought Nyquil by the request of Dr. Jeffrey).  My room-mate has migrated to the moldy storage room, which is a pretty sweet arrangement if you ask me.  Not only am I alone in my room now, but my room-mate will slowly be growing spores in his lungs as he sleeps.  It’s a win-win situation.  Now that the Snoring Saga is officially over (until next week when the group moves to Manitoba), here are some -ing things:


Matrix Biolage Shampoo and Conditioner.  One good thing about Katimavik is that when you live in a group of 11, you can use other people’s products and test them out on yourself.  Reaching back in my memory to days when I was a cosmetician in Shoppers, Biolage cost approximately $19.  That’s pricey for shampoo, but now I understand why.  These products are very good quality and they make my hair feel like I just had a wash at the salon.  Love it.


Hey Rosetta!The Shins and The Ditty Bops (not to be confused with The Doodlebops) are all fantastic.  Very indie.  Very awesome.  Go listen to their stuff right now! That’s another great thing about Katimavik.  Not only do you get to share hair products, you also get to share music.


This persistent cough needs to die a horrible death.  I’m talking pushed into a ditch and shot horrible.  I’ve been taking drugs and drinking liquids for almost a week now and it still won’t die.  If it persists until the end of this week I’m going back to the doctor.  This is a shitty thing about Katimavik.  One person gets sick, then it spreads faster than a drunk college girl living in a dorm with mono.

Tonight the group is going to the YMCA for our physical activity.  I haven’t used a machine to work out in 2 months.  We will see if all of the push-ups and sit-ups I have been doing since New Years have made me stronger.


If I ran 5 km, I don’t think anyone would see it because they would be too busy laughing.

How difficult is it to miss a flight of stairs that are right in front of you as you are running? I didn’t dare pose this question to the runners that were in the marathon today as I probably would of received a roundhouse kick to the face.  Then they would of kept on running because they are ambitious like Lady Macbeth. 

Today the Katima-group volunteered at La Fête du Montréal Intérieur et Souterrain (if you call running 5 km a party).  We were given volunteer t-shirts in a stunning I’m-a-volunteer-screaming neon yellow color (size Garbage bag) and then escorted to our stations to direct the runners around the course.  The beauty of this marathon is that it is all underground, just like the PATH system in Toronto. No dying of the cold for me.

My job was to direct runners up the stairs.  What it basically came down to was me pointing to the stairs and saying, “Monte les escaliers en au s’il vous plaït, please take the stairs up.  You’re doing great.  C’est bon! Woooooo.” for an hour.  I guess when some people get into their stride as they run, they don’t realize that stairs exist.  I got a few people trying to run into the security office behind the stairs and having to redirect them.  Some of them grunted and let out little screams (of agony?) as I was at the last part of the stairs.  Whatever gets you to the end of the finish line. 

I also got quite a few questions about where the washrooms were and how to get to the metro station.  I felt like a walking information desk.  All told, it was pretty fun and my soul felt better after volunteering.

The high point of my day had to be when we returned from volunteering and the whole group had a 2 hour nap, me sans room-mate disturbance (I learned this morning that I was not the only one who had a terrible sleep).  Earlier on in the day when he had woken up, I told him that we needed to reach a solution with the sleeping arrangement before I decide to smother his head with a pillow with the motive to stop more than just his snoring.  The solution? I’m going to sleep in the next room with my other male housemate for the next week until we move to Stonewall.  If another post at 3am shows up tomorrow, you will know how that turned out.

After the nap, the group went over the final presentation.  We finalized the song, practiced the Poutine Dance, and performed the presentation for our Project Leader.  I think it’s going to go really well.  It’s short and sweet, and it has variety.  A bit of talking, a slide show, a song and to cap it all off: the Québeçois Macarena.  It all goes down on Thursday.

Tommorow I go back to work, with or without the sickness I wear like an over-sized volunteer shirt.

P.S. Thank yous go out to Alex Chee and RJ March for adding me to your blog rolls.  I look forward to reading your blogs as I hope you look forward to reading mine.  If anyone knows any other good blogs I should be reading, let me know.  I loves me a good read.


The Snoring Saga

My boyfriend said something very interesting in our phone conversation last night.  He would unknowingly contribute to today’s (or is it still night?) post.  Thanks babe.  You’re fantastic.

He said: “The time between 4 and 6 is the worst time to wake up.” I’m going to have to disagree.  The worst time to wake up is 3:22am, which is the time I woke up this morning.  If you remember reading in my last post (which I only posted 5 hours ago), the group has to be ready to leave the house at 6:10, which means waking up at 5:30.  Why am I up so early? Because of my lovely room-mate.  I don’t think I have mentioned it yet, but just so the whole Internet knows, he snores.  Loudly.  Constantly.  With no end in sight.

He has told me that he has tried Breathe-Right strips and they don’t work.  My brother told me to tape a tennis ball to his lower back so he can’t sleep on his back, thus stopping his snoring.  This won’t be effective.  He just doesn’t snore when he’s laying on his back.  He snores all the time.

My annoyances with him do not stop at snoring, oh no.  He doesn’t know how to close a door, only how to leave a door ajar (especially the molding storage room door, which is open constantly).  He chews with his mouth open.  I can hear the smacking noise he makes when he talks or when he has food in his mouth.  He has no volume control when it comes to talking on a phone.

He leaves his laptop running all night, which causes it to overheat and crash, thus loading Windows Vista and making me hear (I shouldn’t be hearing anything because I should be asleep) the opening sound over and over again.  Last night I kicked his mattress (we sleep in bunk beds.  I’m on the bottom) and said, “Take your laptop out of this room, please and thank you.” Apparently I can still be polite when I haven’t gone to sleep an hour after he had (and I even had a head start tonight.  Jeff can testify to that).  Much to my happiness, he didn’t come back into the room after he took out his laptop (this is rare).  He scratches his back with a back scratcher (which means dead skin in the bedroom.  I told him to go scratch in the bathroom, where dead skin belongs).  He breathes very deeply and loudly.  I could go on.

Just so I can put this into perspective for you, let me break down a usual night in my room: It will be around 11ish and I will be done talking on the phone with Jeff.  I set my alarm for whatever time I need to be awake at the next day, plug it into the charger, and lay my head down for sleep.  My roomie will arrive in the room 30 minutes or later to go to bed (he does yoga exercises to help his sleep).  I hear him open the door, his feet shuffling into the room, take off his shirt and then shuffle back out the door (left ajar), to go to the washroom to go scratch his back, use the toilet, and sometimes wash his hands (this house has great acoustics). 

Some nights he won’t even return to the room until 20 minutes after he has last entered it.  That means 20 minutes of a door being open and sound entering the room.  That means 20 minutes of light flooding the bedroom.  That means 20 minutes of me without sleep.  So I shut the door with emphasis to let him know that I do not like the door being open.  When he finally does come back into the room, he takes off the rest of his clothes (save his underwear), gets on the top bunk, and sleeps. 

Within 5 minutes of hitting his head on the pillow he is snoring.  So I punch/kick the mattress to get him to stop (he has given me verbal invitations to do this if I hear him snoring) and for a brief, shining moment, he does.  Then I will hear him mutter something in his sleep and feel the bed shift as he changes his sleeping position and the snoring resumes once more. 

Sometimes it will start quietly with a whimper and a clicking (How do you click in your sleep?) and then build up to a full on train-passing-through-a-tunnel loud snore.  Sometimes it stays at a volume of only loud breathing.  Sometimes it starts at forte and decrescendos to a mezzo-piano.  Either way, it’s certainly dynamic, and it’s certainly annoying. 

I have told my room-mate about every single one of these habits of his, and if you know me, when I tell you something, it is not subtle.  That’s just not how I roll.  Despite my efforts I am sleep deprived and really fucking pissed (pardon my french).  Maybe I can get a Katima-sabbatical for my sleep deprivation? I will admit that I am a light sleeper and I hate the feeling of ear plugs.  But I am a veteran when it comes to dealing with snoring (my parents are long time snorers as well), so what’s a guy to do? Write a blog post about it at 3:39 am.

Good morning.

P.S. I can’t even sleep on the couch tonight because we have another Katima-group over sleeping in our living room and french room.  This shall pass.


Noise in order

Let it be known: Planning = Pain.  Especially when you have to plan something with a group of 10 people that you have lived with for 6 months.  We always end up jumping down each others throats when we mean well.  We also interrupt and get frustrated and angry.  All of the communication workshops in the world can’t save that from happening.  In the end of it all, we have a final presentation planned out and ready to be presented to a group of people that have seen many final presentations in their day.  It should be good.

Tomorrow the group is volunteering at an underground marathon thing of some sort.  None of us entirely know what it is about.  What we do know is that we have to leave the house at 6:10 in the morning.  I’ll bet people are pleased about that.

I’m looking forward to stepping off the plane and embracing even colder temperatures in the land of Winnipeg.  I’m looking forward to ending a volunteer placement that has taught me that I do not want to be a janitor.  I’m looking forward to the finish line.  I’m looking straight ahead.

P.S. Sleep that is laced with cough medicine and then followed up with a fantastic hot brunch is the best medicine for an illness.


A drop in the bucket

Today I am sick in the house.  After playing lots of guitar and laying in my bed and thinking about my future, I have decided to do the 8 Random Things About Me Meme:

  1. When I tell people where I’m from in Katimavik, I say Toronto, not Mississauga.  But the weird thing is, when I see them nod and say, “Ah oui, je sais Toronto.”  Following that I say, “Actually, I’m from Mississauga, it’s the suburb of Toronto”.  Then I see their mind go blank.  Maybe I should just stick with Toronto.
  2. If there is someone singing or performing a song that I know and they are off key or not playing the song correctly (and they aren’t trying to be interpretive or improvising), I will correct them.  It’s a pet peeve of mine.
  3. My metabolism makes people want to deep-fry food for me to try and fatten me up.  So far they are failing.
  4. I hate it when I get marks on my shirts from my deodorant.  I would love to find a men’s deodorant that doesn’t do this.  Does it have to do with how I put on my shirt or is my deodorant to blame?
  5. I have discovered that I can pull off many looks: cute, preppy, sexy marine biologist, classy, underwear model, scruffy, and lumberjack.  I didn’t know I was so versatile.  Maybe that means something amazing in the future?
  6. I did not cook much in my second year of University.  After volunteering at Propulsion for 3 months and working with a top-notch chef, I feel that I can actually use my extensive knowledge of cooking now and make prep go by really quickly.  It also helps to be a house manager for 11 people. 
  7. After living in a house that involved paying for utilities separately, I have personally vowed to always have utilities included for now on.
  8. My dream is to win a Juno one day.

So there you have it.  8 random facts about me.   In other news, I have come to a conclusion on the MacBook and the Dell XPS M1330: I want a MacBook.  Specifically, this one: The Apple MacBook Pro 2007 Edition.  If you want to see the comparison, here you go.  Other comparisons that I have read just show that people are fans of either the Mac or Vista, and that doesn’t make any valid points. 

For me, the Dell is just too much power.  It would be a waste of $800 to buy it.  I’d enjoy the MacBook more.  But the only question that I have left is: What is the MacBook Pro 2008 Edition like? Only time will tell.

It’s only 3 months left of Katimavik.  Then it’s back to the Real World.  Time to go to bed.

P.S. I was looking at other people who did this meme and the following made me laugh: “My drag name was Letitia Blaze. Was. (She died in a plane crash.)”


“Beggars can’t be choosers, but I’m begging and choosing.”

The title of this post today is brought to you by Courtney.  During our workshop tonight, Katie had brought out a bunch of Lindor chocolate balls.  Courtney had selected a blue ball, which means dark chocolate in the world of Lindor.  She doesn’t like dark chocolate, so she decided to trade it and said the previously mentioned quote.  Now for some -ing things. 


Windows Vista to Mac OS X.  After reading a lot of reviews and looking at what each OS has to offer, I feel that Mac OS X is more my style.  It’s more multimedia friendly and pretty.  I’m not looking for a computer that I’ll whip out at board meetings and make extremely extravagant presentations with.  I’m just looking for a fun computer that will not freak out when I have multiple applications running and crash while doing so.  Before I become committed to Mac though, I’m going to do a laptop comparison with a MacBook and some crazy expensive Dell computer I read about in Men’s Health Magazine (Taiger buys them… I laugh because it’s like Cosmo for guys.  Only straight and worrying about whether they can please their women or not).  I’ll write another comparison once the stats are in.


A pair of black framed sunglasses that look awesome and are around $10.  I also want new glasses, but that will have to wait until after Katimavik.  I’m thinking of using a website that was recommended by called Glassy Eyes.  They have frames for $40 – $80, which makes me happy.  If all else fails, I’ll just go with my parental units to Costco (because they love Costco almost as much as they love me). 


Dallas Green’s Bring Me All Your Love album.  He has stepped away from coining his own sound in every song and instead created some variety (the very opposite thing made me end up dislike Coldplay’s X&Y album).  The good thing about making your own niche in the music world is that everyone knows that it’s your band or you when the radio plays your song (for example, anytime you hear an echo guitar intro, you know that it’s U2).  Whenever I hear a Two Hours Traffic song, I think of Katimavik and the fun times that we all had.  I have a feeling that there’s going to be a Katima-album at the end of the program.  Maybe I should start that project when it gets to that point.


Sex and the City.  Lu and I watched the whole second season and a part of the third season over the week when we managed the house.  Perhaps that’s why I want to be so fashionable now… or maybe it’s because I’ve always wanted to be fashionable and I’m finally doing something about it.  In any case, Sex and the City is fantastic.  I remember watching episodes at Banana Republic dinner parties, sitting around drinking wine and eating desserts.  I can’t wait to go back to Mississauga and have fabulous parties and be social and out of the Katima-bubble.  It’s funny, I never got into the shows that were popular when I was a teenager, but now I love them.  Friends, Seinfeld, Sex and the City… all great shows but I did not have the desire to watch them then.  Now that they’re out in boxed sets, I guess I can sastify that craving.

Today I worked at Radisson Centre with Éli.  It was a really lazy day.  All I did today is feed a client and help do research on the sinking of the Titanic and coral. 

Hopefully tomorrow will not be boring at Propulsion like it was yesterday.  I was sick but I went in for half a day in the afternoon and all I did was sweep the emergency exit stairs.  After 20 minutes of doing that, I watched the chef cook some food, and cleaned the walls of the aquarium.  Following that, I was given permission to leave early due to lack of thing to do.

There’s only 7 days left of volunteering and 10 days of Montréal.  The group is going to Le Rockette Friday night in celebration of Jess’ birthday, Saturday involves planning for the final presentation, and Sunday entails volunteering at an underground marathon.  Fun times lie ahead.

P.S. I was told today by someone that I am a great person for venting to.  What was a compliment that you received lately? Also, it is a lunar eclipse tonight.  Maybe that’s why everyone is acting so bizzare.


This is post is so long that it needs a disclaimer in its title

I used to be good at writing introductions for essays and posts.  Since I’ve been out of school for a while, I have become rusty.  Oh wait, I believe I just made an introduction.  Score one for me.  This past weekend the Katima-group went to Québec City for Carnaval.  The following post is lengthy and it is recommended that you grab a drink and a comfy chair before indulging in this post.  Thank you for your co-operation.

The previous night I went out with the group to see Two Hours Traffic.  The spectacle was at Club Lambi, a tiny bar that you had to walk up three flights of stairs before reaching the summit.  $12 later and $1 for le vestiaire, I bought an expensive rum and coke ($6.  Ouch!) in celebration of using my legs.  After attempting to sip my drink slowly and failing, I decided to buy a Moosehead for $5 (which I knew I would drink slowly because I hate beer) and chose not to drink anymore.  It was more fun to listen to the opening band, Expo ’67

Before they started their third song, the band invited people to go out to the dance floor to dance.  If you’ve ever seen our group, we like to have dance parties constantly.  So the girls danced and I kept an eye on their purses and drinks. 

10 o’clock rolled around and Two Hours Traffic got on stage and our whole group rushed to the front (which was easy enough to do because this bar was so small) and yell out the words to their songs and dance like hooligans.  After the show ended, some of the group stayed around to talk to the band and I went home because I had to be up at 5:30 in the morning. 

On Saturday I woke up and helped Lu put food into coolers and had a shower.  We all piled into the van and Audrey drove for 4 hours (thanks to bad Québeçois drivers) and after a long group nap, we arrived in Québec City.

The first thing that we did was take a guided tour around the Plains of Abraham.  While braving the cold and sidestepping the horse feces that littered the path, I learned the following interesting facts:

  • Soldiers that are used to defend the Martello Tower are hired by captians going to bars and passing around sheets of paper to drunk men.  If they signed the sheet they were enlisted to defend the Tower for a month 
  • The beds that the soldiers slept in were worse than the Katima-beds
  • There was a humidity problem and a lack of heaters (unlike today in the tower), as well as no showers or toilets
  • Surgeries were performed without anesthetic and rum was used for the doctor to calm his nerves, not for disinfectant
  • The tools used to perform surgeries were hardly ever cleaned as bacteria was unknown at the time
  • The success rate is higher in cutting off a finger or a toe than it is in cutting off a leg

It was a very informative (and freezing) tour.  Afterwards, we ate vegetarian pizza (from the Portes-Ouvertes party) and I bought what I believed was a mocha concoction from a vending machine but turned out to be just coffee (which was okay because I needed a caffeine boost that hot chocolate probably couldn’t give).  This trickery of supposedly receiving something in a hot chocolate beverage continued throughout the day.  The Hot Chocolate gods were not smiling on me that day.

In the afternoon, we headed to the Le Château Concord to meet our Carnaval Tour Guides.  The Château has a 360° restaurant, just like the CN Tower (I wonder if the food is any better), and mirrors everywhere (I’d hate to be the one who has to wash all of those). 

While we were waiting for our tour guides to show up, two characters entered the hotel.  One of them was a photographer (which I found out by standing within ear shot, although it wasn’t necessary since his voice carried throughout the hotel) and he was wearing awesome Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and kept looking at me (in a checking out kind of way.  For the whole weekend I was wearing snow pants and my hair was down and messy thanks to hat head.  Not at my most attractive moment, but the flattery is nice nonetheless).  He looked like one of those fashion photographers that worked his job like he lived his life: very lavishly and exuding coolness. 

Taiger wanted a picture with the Bonhomme statue (which was the first of many statues we saw that day), so Courtney and I went with him to get pictures taken.  This is where the other character comes in.  He looked like a gay Napoleon Dynamite.  He even had dorky vintage glasses on.   

After the pictures were done, Napoleon walks up to Courtney and I and says, “CS?”.  We say, “Pardon?” “Uhhh, couch surfing?” “Quoi?” “Do you speak English?” “Yeah.” “Are you guys a part of Couch Surfing?” “What’s Couch Surfing?” He explained that it is basically this thing where you sleep in people’s houses and stuff and eat out of dumpsters.  Like a co-op and hostel all in one. 

Napoleon was with a group from Couch Surfing that was visiting Québec for Carnaval and he had lost his group while he waited inside the hotel to warm up because he was cold.  We learned that he was from Ottawa (but had only lived there for a couple months and wouldn’t tell us where he’s really from) and was inadequately dressed for Québec.  He thought that his desert boots could hold up in the snow.  He must of forgotten that although snow is like sand, snow is wet, not dry.  Courtney pointed out later that for someone who only bought things vintage or second-hand, he was certainly sporting a new American Eagle jacket.  Very questionable.  

He attempted to tag along in our group for 5 minutes while I kept dropping off hints that we didn’t want him with us and that he should go find his group.  He finally got the hint and wandered off into the sea of people.  The way he acted and asked questions reminded me of Mik and it creeped me out a little.  I felt like if Mik’s future was to become a sketchy, vintage wearing, dumpster eating nomad, he would turn out like Napoleon.  Thank goodness that will never happen. 

Once our tour guides arrived, they gave us VIP passes and a tour of the Carnaval grounds and events.  We walked by the horse races and watched the bain de neige (snow bath) where there were Olympic Athletes (I think) raising money with the HBC for sponsorship or something.  They were in their underwear and bikinis tossing snow up in the air and running around on the stage trying to keep warm.  Bonhomme was there and spooning a guy as they all counted down the last 10 seconds of the twenty minutes of the bain de neige.  They all cheered when they reached the end and we all waved at the athletes. 

The next stop on our tour was at a maple syrup shack, where I had sirop d’erable sur neige (maple syrup on snow).  It was so good and even when snow was attached to the syrup it was still soft and malleable.  I wanted to buy a Bonhomme sash, so the tour guides took us to the Metro tent where they were selling Carnaval souvenirs and I rocked the sash for the rest of the weekend (now I have a scarf that I can use in TO that no one else will have.  The sash also commemorates the 400th anniversary of Québec City).

Following the visit in the Metro tent, we ventured to the Ice Palace, where we saw Micheal Jackson dancers, drummers, and got a picture with another Bonhomme statue.  We never got a picture with the real Bonhomme, although we did see him in La Parade de Nuit (the Night Parade).  Shortly after, the tour guides left us and we wandered around the Carnaval.  We ran into a street mime acting as Jack Frost, saw a multitude of snow and ice sculptures, and walked around Québec City.

We stopped in a classy Second Cup where I ordered a semi-frozen chocolate cake (because that’s my style) and a Chocochino (which turned out to be mildly chocolate flavoured coffee.  This was the second time I was screwed out of a chocolate drink) and we all sat around eating molasses cookies that Taiger’s mom had prepared. 

I don’t know what it is about Second Cup, but they always have a gay person as a barrista.  It is the same in Tim Horton’s as well.  I actually wanted to work at a Tim Horton’s once.  I had two interviews with them and I ended up waiting for half an hour both times before I was told that the supervisor would be too busy to meet me for an interview.  When they tried to schedule a third interview, I told them that if they couldn’t make time for me as an interviewee, they couldn’t make time for me as an employee.

After warming up and finishing off the cookies, we walked back to the Katima-van and ate flafels for dinner (so amazing and flavorful) and I had a bite of Lucia’s Beavertail, which I had never eaten before and had always wanted to, ever since the kiosk closed in the Cambridge Centre.  It had brown sugar on it and nothing more.  I don’t quite get what all of the fuss is about.  Last night Jeffrey explained to me that a Beavertail is only good if you get everything on it.  Looks like I’ll have to make a trip with him to Ottawa to find out what makes a good Beavertail.

After sitting in the van for a while (and having to jump start the car after the batteries died from the cold), it was 7 o’clock.  We got out of the van to go check out the Night Parade.  To our disappointment, we had parked at the end of the parade and learned from a citizen that the parade would not reach us until 9:30.

To kill time, we walked up the streets and played the Pony Song and yelled out Feist lyrics.  Once we had exhausted ourselves, we decided to take a 15 minute sleigh ride around the Carnaval and go inside the Metro tent to get warm.  While we were there, a Québeçois folk band (Les Tireux d’Roches) performed.  They were all multi-instrumentalists and very talented.  While they were performing I ate 2 hot dogs and a watered down hot chocolate.  After that drink I had decided to not have any more hot beverages in Québec City because no one knows how to make a proper hot chocolate.

At 9ish we walked outside and saw the parade.  There were 20 feet tall marionettes, dancers, flags, floats, and dioramas that moved up and down thanks to a forklift.  Some of the floats were bizzare (2 giant faces with lights poking out of them), others were amusing (watching Bonhomme do high-kicks in his float) and all of them were very Québeçois.  It was a well done parade and reminded me of the Santa Claus Parades I used to attend when I was young. 

Once the parade had finished, we piled into the van once more and drove to St. Etienne, where we slept in the Scout Headquarters for the night.  Due to my sickness, I apparently snored that night.  I apologize to everyone who had to hear my snoring.  I don’t snore often, and when I do, it is due to stress, sickness, or being in an uncomfortable sleeping arrangement. 

I first learned of the reason of my snoring in the Grade 8 Ottawa grad trip.  My roommates and I didn’t want to sleep in beds together, so for the first night, 2 of us slept on the ground and switched places the second night.  I think my body missed the bed so much because I fell asleep in no time and snored, much to the dismay of my roommates.  It also didn’t help that we had spent the night at a barnyard dance with music too loud to hear anything and I had gotten a cold because of the rain.  I do remember one of the great things about that trip was going to the Hershey factory and buying lots of chocolate.

The group woke up at 7:30, thanks to my cheery alarm from my cell phone.  Audrey had told us to wake up then, but no one actually planned on doing that.  So we all rewoke at 8 for breakfast.  We had vegan mocha muffins, yogurt and radioactive grape drink.  After finishing breakfast we drove back into Québec City for day 2 of the excursion.

Our first experience of the day was Château Frontenac, the most photographed hotel in the world.  It is also the same hotel where Leonardo DiCaprio shot Catch Me If You Can.  The group walked in, admired the poshness, and walked out.

After the hotel, we visited the Choco-Musée Erico (The Erico Museum of Chocolate).  I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought it was going to be bigger than what it actually was.  The store and the museum reminded me of the Reid’s Chocolate Store in Cambridge.  I had Valentine’s Day Chocolate (half price!) and an extremely delectable square of maple fudge.  It was so soft and chewy and melted in my mouth.  Best.  Fudge.  Ever.  I already knew how chocolate was made after spending so much time at the Hershey Factory from my childhood summers, so it was nice just to sit inside and warm up and breathe in high-quality chocolate smells.

Along the way to the Choco-Musée, we ran into another Katimavik group.  They were from some tiny Québec town, originally from New Brunswick.  They had 11 people in their group (one person had left early on and got a replacement) and we congregated on the sidewalk, blocking off the path so that no one could get through.  It’s funny how easy it is to recognize fellow Katimavik people.  Just look for a giant group walking around aimlessly, or someone standing in front of a group reading off of a paper about some famous monument.  If all else fails, find a Katima-van or a group of people with new piercings and tattoos.

After indulging in chocolate, we broke off into groups for a bit of shopping.  Most of my time was occupied in the Le Château Outlet store and I ended up buying a pair of sunglasses and a jacket for a fantastic price.  Now I look like a snobby movie star.  I also walked into Limité with some of the girls and I must say that I am a bit envious of women’s fashion.  They have so much more to choose from than the men (which is a pro and a con).  I enjoy men’s fashion because it’s fun to find clothes that are different and push the envelope a little. 

On a side note, before I leave Montréal I plan on visiting Simon’s one last time (because it is non-existent in Toronto), hitting up the trendy fashion stores on Mont-Royal, having a crêpe at Une Crêpe, performing at Sing Sing, and dancing at Unity II (although I’ll probably end up there again if I end up coming back to Montréal for Pride).  Who knows if there will even be time for all of that, considering that the group will be heading to Stonewall in two weeks. 

We regrouped in front of Simon’s and then walked back to the Katima-van to go home.  As we were driving into Montréal, it was snowing pretty badly.  I hope this doesn’t continue all week.  It didn’t matter much to me today because I was sick.  My coughs and hacks got the best of me and I spent the day in bed and writing this blog entry.  I also managed to get MSN Messenger on the Katima-computer.  A productive day on my part, considering the fact that I couldn’t go to work without coughing up a lung. 

Just like introductions, I have fallen out of practice in writing fantastic conclusions to posts or essays.  This post feels too long to summarize, so I’m just going to say that Québec City is a beautiful city with a strong sense of francophone pride.  I am curious to see what it is like in the summer.  Just don’t order a hot beverage that you believe is chocolate flavoured.