Description 34 - Formerly Known as Hull

What is this town with two names? Why does everything look closed? And what the hell was I doing there? Features music by The Hundreds and Thousands, a contemplation of nigiri vs. galettes, two waterfalls and a very special cameo by Maurice Chevalier.

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Associated links:
Hull in Wikipedia (where we learn I was wrong about "Chaudières" meaning "rapids")
Cool stuff to do and see in Gatineau
Official site for the CRTC
The tv station we were proposing to the CRTC
Me in the application hearing the next day - yikes!
The Hundreds and Thousands
Hour Magazine reviews L'Argoät, and digs them too.

L'Argoät was the restaurant where I ended up, and it was really great. I had a savory galette (which is really a crepe) which had these roasted potatoes and camenbert inside; and the traditional drink with galettes in Brittany (I learned), "un bolle du cidre" or a bowl of this alcoholic apple cider. Then, once my server told me that I could pay by interac (whew!), I had a dessert galette just with chocolate sauce, but the best chocolate sauce EVER.

So you see, Gatineau - formerly known as Hull to everyone but the cab drivers - isn't as bad as I made it sound. Pretty close to the hotel was the vast Gatineau Park, across town is the Museum of Civilisation (like a Canadian natural history museum - its architecture is so cool, it totally sticks out like a sore thumb), and in the other direction is Casino Lac-Leamy, which I still call by its original and way-less-glamorous name, Casino d'Hull. That's right - casino dull. Genius.

It turns out the Quebec election that day was pretty damn interesting. Jean Charest and the Liberals held on to power, but only got a minority government. The Parti Québecois stunk up the joint, so the cute and gay André Boisclair is probably going to lose his job. The big shock winner was Action démocratique du Québec (see, told you there was a "democratic" in there), who've gone from not even being an official party to being The Opposition. So things in Quebec become as hard-to-predict as ever, just in a whole different way.

Something I didn't get to do while I was in the area was meet up with my friend Gavin, who I've known ever since we were smart-ass writers for our college paper at York University. He lives in Ottawa, but had business out of town most of the time I was there. We've had our ups and downs, and go in and out of touch, but I've always found him a remarkable, funny guy with my favourite voice in history. Late last year, an email came from him out of the blue about this thing he was doing: he was running a marathon and a half (literally) at Disney World to raise money toward building a school in Kathmandu, Nepal. Okey-doke. It was a great cause of Sean Egan, the man who led Gavin's first expedition up Mount Everest - an expedition that Egan did not survive. So Gavin ran what's left of his ass off (I think the last time I'd seen him, he was running the marathon in Ottawa) and raised thousands of dollars. These folks have just about made it to their goal of $150,000 to build the school, so why not help get them over the top by going to the Ad Astra (which means "aim high") site and coughing up some coin.

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