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Locked down but not out in Italy

Singing from the balconies! One nice thing about this crisis ... solidarity! “Guess you’re not living like a tourist anymore,” was the funny, truthful and somewhat gut-wrenching message of a friend the day the lockdown in Italy began. Today is day 6. My beloved Italia has been hit hard with the COVID19 epidemic. With the second largest elderly population in the world, the epidemic has meant a disproportionate amount of deaths in the country. So though I haven’t been worried about contracting it myself, this isn’t about me or someone like me who, if contracted it would probably have a sucky couple of weeks and then recover. It is about if someone like me contracted it and then spread it to a person with a complicated health history or an elderly person with a weakened immune system. Eerily orderly: Lines for the grocery store, each person one meter apart In a country with no concept (and no physical room really) for personal space, and in a city with reproachable hygie

Snapshots of a short trip: Montréal

Talking about cities that I often circle back to, let's talk about Montreal. As the vast majority of my family lives in this city, I find myself touring Montreal once or twice a year. Of its two vastly different personalities, winter and summer, the latter is definitely more welcoming... at least to a winter-wimp like me.

I adore Montreal in the summer when every restaurant and every festival, and therefore, every one, it seems, is out on the streets, perhaps secretly admitting to the world that they too have put on a brave face for nine months, but in truth, they also hate the winter.

Les Quebecois really know how to celebrate a season. Carpe aestatem: Seize the summer for you know it is fleeting. I would venture that this is Montreal's summer mantra.

While I put together my traditional list of things to experience for this city, let me at least share some snapshots:

Caffe Latte at a cafe-terrasse

Saint Joseph's Oratory erected by Montreal's own Saint,
most commonly known as Frère André

A left-over from Montreal's street festivals. The summer is filled with them!

Enjoying a micro-brew at 3 Brasseurs (translated to 3 Brewers)
at the Rue Saint Denis location

Self-explanatory... except for the pigs

Poutine: a Montreal tradition. French fries topped
with gravy and cheese curds. Padding for the cold winters?

Champ-de-Mars Metro Station

Sushi a volonté! All you can eat sushi place,
one of the vast number of ethnic restaurants on Saint Denis.

Depanneur: literally translated "one who bails out,"
i.e. a convenient store. A great word best left untranslated!