Sunday, May 22, 2011

Why you need to know French in a French Province !!

It is not one of the greatest of starts to the hiking season ! It hurts more since this one is going to be my last summer here in North America...

I planned my first solo hike ever - the trans Canada Trail. This is the same trail i did last fall with a friend of mine. (

The ordeal begins right there:

Website in french - No english translation available.
The campsites were shown as available on the website.
Tried calling the contact number listed. No answer - Voice mail was in French. I hear a beep and leave my name and number just in case sombeody returns my call.
There was no notice on the website indicating any special message.

I decide to go there directly since the campsites were mostly free even during peak season last year. I get up at 4AM on a nice sunny saturday and seven hours & 2 bus journeys later,  I reach the trailhead. Only to realize that the visitor's center (Sentier Des Caps) is locked. I enquire at the gas station near by. They somehow find the contact number (St Tite Des Caps it is a small village about 325KM north of Montreal) and give me a thunderbolt.
The season opens in July.

It seems that was the message in the French voicemail. This is the first time in past two years that I have felt the extreme need for French in this province. Montreal has a decent population that speaks English but the outskirts always have a miniscule population that is comfortable in any language other than French.

Anyways, I am still trying to figure out if I was to blame or if Quebec needs to be more open in terms of official communication for Tourism.

Let me continue thinking on what went wrong and will certainly post my opinion if i do reach a conclusion !!!

Till then, let me satisfy myself with Mont Royal (The city of Montreal derives its name from this hill) !!

Coming up next:
Grand Canyon (US) in the last week of June, and
Arctic Circle (Auyuittuq National park, Nunavut, Canada) late July.


toniclime said...

Hahaha! you should have called me or soumya for some french help! tutafuta hi sahi..could have helped ;)
Good luck for july camp

R Athmanathan said...

Yeah!! If I had called you, my trip would have certainly been longer than what I had... :-)
The July trip would be a disaster without prep.. Need to go somewhere else now.. Thanks for wishing me good luck - now I know nothing can go right :-)