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During my travels newspaper columns were published weekly in the Dutch daily newspaper
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Reports

Monday, 14 April 2003
--> Montreal East End, Quebec, Canada (day 2)

Today I took a day of rest. I don't feel really good and I am very tired lately. Fortunately my hosts understood this and let me be me doing the things I had to do.
Loulou had taken the day off to be at the house and Hubert had a free day himself too.

"We go to church on Monday," Loulou joked at me. In reality today was the day the people in Quebec had to vote for the provincial elections. And Loulou and Hubert had to vote in a church.

I joined them along in the taxi to the Saint Eusebe Church where the voting took place in the concrete basement, which looked more like a school playground with district numbers on the floor and tables per postal code.

When I took one photo I was suddenly surrounded by four official people that asked me for my press card in case I was a journalist and otherwise I had to tuck my camera away immediately. I found that pretty strange; like I would have any bad intentions with a photo of my voting hosts?! I guess some people just like to be in power and tell other people what they can do on their territory, even if it is only for one day.

I also met up with the downstairs neighbour Stephanie at my hosts' house, who also studies anthropology at the Montreal University and works full time at the customs cargo control of the Montreal International Airport. As I had a hard night last night as my bed consists out of six different couch pillows on the living room floor, she offered me her L-shaped couch downstairs for the coming night. Really? "Yes, no problem!"

Hubert played his favourite music on the stereo (I start to love these typical French sounds I keep hearing in the Quebecois music – might make me feel at home in Europe), Loulou sat around reading a book and I sat down at the dining table with my laptop and wrote my weekly chronicles for the Dutch press.

At night we had spaghetti for dinner and watched the election results on francophone television stations. When my hosts went to bed, I gathered all the sheets and blankets I had used last night and joined Stephanie to her apartment downstairs.

Stephanie has travelled to India and Peru for her anthropology studies and that really made me jealous. You might know that I had almost arranged everything to travel to India in January this year, until the Dutch foreign department told me it was better not to go at this time. The country is too hostile at the moment for people who travel without any money and stay with people who invite him through a website.

But I enjoyed the photos Stephanie showed me and she told me about her job at the airport. As we both weren't that sleepy, she opened a bottle of red wine.

Stephanie is one of the people that walk into the cargo section of just-arrived international planes and control all the freight. "It's kind of the same as digging in the dirt for historic material, I never know what's in a certain box," she laughed.

When the bottle of wine was empty, I still wasn't sleepy, so Stephanie suggested I should try some real Canadian Whiskey. While the stereo played the loungy beats of the Buddha Bar in Paris, France, I sipped away whiskey on the rocks and shipped myself away to the land of dreams on that yellow soft couch. And I said I wasn't sleepy….

Good night Montreal!

Ramon