Friday, December 29, 2017

New York City & Montreal

Here I am at the top of Mont Real,
September 2005, back when I
was a redhead (my natural color.)
I went to Canada the first time in 2005 thanks to my daughter having a brief relationship with a woman from Montreal - a college professor whose first language was French as a matter of fact. My ex-boyfriend and I and my daughter headed out in early September so my daughter could have a visit with Melanie. 

It was only for a long weekend but it was pleasant enough, although I would be breaking up with that boyfriend in less than a year and our disintegrating relationship did have an impact on my enjoyment of traveling with him. My daughter had a great time though.

I became re-interested in Montreal a year ago, thanks to mon premiere ministre d'amour - Justin Trudeau, of course and thanks to the election of Donald Trump prompting me to consider moving out of the US, and Montreal was my first choice. Montreal is the biggest city in Quebec, a proudly French-speaking province.

Several French courses later I'm on the verge of being an Intermediate speaker of French, having completed all A2 level courses. 

When you're at A2 level, according to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) you:
  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can describe in simple terms aspects of their background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Oui, c'est moi.

I'm often told that most people speak English fluently in Montreal and that was my experience in 2005, although I didn't even attempt to speak French then. My daughter, who has been to Montreal many times tells me if you try to speak French to them and they detect your accent, they'll switch to speaking English. Which isn't very hopeful in terms practicing my French. I may chicken-out and end up speaking exclusively in English anyway. I'll have more confidence once I've cleared CEFR level B2. And then I'll be ready to tackle Quebec City, where everybody speaks French, I'm told, and they resent speaking English. I'm currently practicing my French by listening to Radio-Canada Montreal.

One of my ambitions now is to have a Montreal-New York City theater exchange event. I'm thinking of two readings - one in Montreal by Montreal actors of plays written by US native playwrights, and one in NYC with NYC actors of plays written by Montreal native playwrights. Probably in the summer. My pal Doug, a musical theater guy now living in Montreal may work with me on this to arrange the reading. We shall see. 

While poking around the Internet for info about Montreal-NYC connections I discovered this: New York high-speed rail in Wikipedia:

High-speed rail in New York has been a topic that is consistently discussed among legislators, political leaders and in particular, several past governors since the 1990s, but thus far little progress has been made. In his campaign speeches prior to his defeat by Governor George Pataki in 1994, Mario Cuomo promised to bring high speed (maglev) rail up the Hudson Valley and along the Catskill Mountains route.[1] It was not a priority for the subsequent administration...
Montreal to New York City
On October 6, 2005, the Albany Times-Union reported that New York Governor George Pataki and Quebec Premier Jean Charest "called for the creation of high-speed rail service between Montreal and New York City as a way to boost the regional economy during the third Quebec-New York Economic Summit on Wednesday," October 4, 2005. The article claimed that New York was Quebec's main trading partner, which perhaps explains some of the interest in linking the two major cities.[21]
According to a report by the New York State Senate High Speed Rail Task Force, such a route would serve Plattsburgh via Albany.[22]

This sounds like a great idea. The current Amtrak train service between New York City and Montreal is the Adirondack train, which I am planning to take in two weeks for my long Montreal theater weekend, and it is definitely not high-speed, taking eleven hours from NYC - Montreal. For comparison, the drive takes about six hours. 

Or as the Canadian magazine Macleans had it in 2010,  The long, slow ride from NYC to MontrĂ©al:
More than ever, I am convinced that a high speed rail connection from MontrĂ©al to New York is the way to go. There is much to do and so much in common between those two cities.