Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Visitors, part 2

The last half of July has brought more wonderful visitors… my Aunt Marilyn, Uncle Bob, and their friends from Plattsburgh; my old friend Scott Jameson from Massachusetts; and my parents.

Mom has been here for the last several days, and her visits always give us an excuse to get out sightseeing. This week we managed the swimming pool at Parc Jean Drapeau, the Biodome, the Botanical Gardens, and Parc Safari.

The Biodome and the Gardens were decent. Lots of plants and animals I had never seen before. Ayla and I especially enjoyed the Chinese Gardens and the water lilies.

But Parc Safari was the biggest hit, I think. It's not too often that you can pet a zebra, or feed a yak. And though a part of me found it creepy, the endless stretch of cars driving through this yard of domesticated wild animals, there's no denying the excitement of taking photos like these:

We also enjoyed the rest of the park. This is what the underneath of a lion looks like. No, it's not on top of our car... the carnivorous felines were kept in a separate place. This photo was taken from the Lion Tunnel!

Here's one of our funniest images of the day... they gave this crane a mirror. He just stands there all the time, staring at the mirror.

Towards the end of the afternoon, it started to rain. As you can see, this lion didn't mind it too much. And for us grownups, this allowed us to avoid going to the Water Park! Not too many tears shed. Parc Safari really has a lot to see and do - we were there for nearly 5 hours even without doing the water park.

So, Mom left this morning, heading back to Massachusetts. We've changed our plans for the week between Montreal and Toronto, and now we're going there - to Natick, for a few days. We're going to leave the kids overnight with the grandparents and go to New York City to see Zarkana! So that should be exciting.

Now, it's just packing, and more packing, and a few last days here in Montreal. I took my last class this morning at Bikram Yoga Montreal. It's been awful. I only managed to get there about once a week over the last two months; I really disliked the classes and the studios, and they rarely run early-morning classes, which is the only time I can go. In the beginning, I sent this email to Bikram Yoga Pittsburgh:

"I'm just writing to say I miss you all! I am in Montreal now, and the Bikram classes are not the same. They turn the heat up too high, drink water during class, and say things like "this should hurt! feel that pain sensation!" ugh. What's more, the teachers don't learn the students' names, and I'm missing the gentle encouragement, joking around, and telling us the benefits of each posture, that you do so much of in Pittsburgh. I tell the teachers I started practicing in Pittsburgh, and they know you guys! They admire you so much. I didn't realize how lucky I was to begin Bikram classes with such world-renowned instructors. Anyway, only a few more weeks here and then I'm off to Toronto, where I will try again to find a studio that's as close-knit, supportive, and down-to-the-basics real as you all are. And hopefully my journeys will lead me back to Pittsburgh one of these days."

(sigh). Hoping for better luck in the next city.

For now, it's a beautiful sunny day here in Montreal and it's time to get out and enjoy it!

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