Tuesday, October 21, 2014

California Food Author--Canada Dreamin'

By Cal Orey

Vancouver Downtown-my dream coming true! 
then to  charming Victoria B.C.
 (after a Jan. 10  Seattle 
Barnes and Noble 
book discussion/signing)
Today. Tuesday, marks one month since my out of country trip to Quebec, Canada. I'm over the post-travel blues but I've got finding a new, improved adventure on the brain.  In September it marks a time in my life that I left my fear of the unknown at home and experienced life...

Autumn at Lake Tahoe but craving Canadian adventure

I left my fur kids, flew a long distance all by myself (munching on purple grapes and cheddar cheese, gabbing with fellow passengers, including a passionate doctor (who confided in me about her marriage) and generous attorney (claimed he didn't have a fear of flying but Bach and drinks seemed to be his remedies), both from Georgia; was grilled by a no-nonsense young, Canadian customs agent who asked me: "Do you have pot?"--and was on a mission to irk me; stayed in a 28th floor hotel room (which I arrived at 2:00 A.M. after traveling 3000 miles) and wasn't scared to be all by myself; survived a fearless cabbie whom drove 100 mph; and I learned that I can trust a hotel safe for money and passport.
In the dark, cold morning air I will always remember how I sprinted solo, clad in warm clothing with mittens, scarf, and a hat, on a downtown street and caught the 6:15 early (business class) train to Quebec City, and not to forget a spontaneous horse and carriage ride in the French-speaking town of Old Quebec. Whether it was "rough air" on the plane or weathering 10 degrees on September 18 when I awoke--I did it. And I'm ready to go do it all over again.
Rural Quebec en route to Quebec City

City Room view that'll cherish
I miss Quebec City and the French speaking people
HOME AT LAKE TAHOE... Living at Lake Tahoe I realize my life is isolated and lacking excitement. I miss the city life (as I had going to S.F. State University) and new experiences. Fifteen years ago, it was my dream to leave the San Francisco Bay Area, move to the mountains and make the transition from magazine journalist to book author. Done. Now I feel I want to spread my wings. I'm not sure if it's the fact that I want to move to Canada or just flirt with the different provinces as I did in my early 20s. Now, via phone as an intuitive reader for the networks, I can tell if a caller is from Canada. It's not an accent, though, it's an air of sophistication that I can pick up 95% of the time. And I love my Canadian clients from all the provinces (yes, I can sense which ones, too).

I've settled in during the days and weeks and it's been a challenge. The firewood arrived and is stacked in the garage. The chimney cleaner is coming tomorrow at 9:00 A.M. I wanted to return to my swim routine but today's report is the resort pool is cold. Too cold for tourists or locals.
Lattes and shopping were part of the city life; I have a
cross necklace and black and red checkered jacket
from Quebec City; a black leather purse and navy
infinity scarf from Montreal
It was bliss to wake up naturally with a city view of Montreal--I felt like a princess--and to grab the phone for room service. I'd rang up a Gaufre/Waffle. Translation: a large waffle with hand whipped cream, Quebec maple syrup, powdered sugar, and fresh strawberries; and a carafe of coffee. Back home, on Sunday morning, I did whip up homemade organic chocolate chip pancakes and a pot of of mocha flavored coffee. It was comforting but not Quebec syrup.

Hot organic pancakes at home
I should have stayed longer in QC
Yes, it was sublime with my warm fur children amid me.  The clock(s) do chime as the I heard in Quebec City, the place with a European vibe. 

At Tahoe, my new earthy, chocolate brown blinds are up and make me feel cozy. Pumpkin spice candles are everywhere next to baskets of pine cones. The pine trees outdoors are showing vibrant hues of yellow and red. It's Mother Nature at work. But something is missing for me here in Northern California. I yearn to click my mouse and; book a flight to another city in Canada, somewhere different.

BRITISH COLUMBIA, I AM COMING TO YOU... Years ago, I did go to Vancouver. It was a weekend trip with a friend. I fell in love with the city but wasn't thrilled with my controlling traveling partner. I vowed to return alone. I have chosen the flight plan, pondering the hotel to befriend and sights to see and I forecast it is likely I will take the trip before 2015 arrives.

Meanwhile, I sit here next to two dogs and a cat. I look at my treasures: A Via Rail ticket stub,  a greeting card to my hotel room (with memories of a fruit basket gift from the manager) and kind words: Nous vous souhaitons un excellent sejour et une magnifique visit a Montreal! And indeed, I did have a great stay and a wonderful visit in their lovely city... It's getting close to that time when I book another flight--the West Coast of Canada; I hear you calling my name... Unless I can find a big aircraft that will land in Toronto.

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