Zoo be doo be doo…

I have a pretty cool job. Despite having every travel clinche possible happen while traveling this week, this week’s sojourn to Granby, Quebec had some cool moments. For both of you who regularly read this, I hinted at Zoo pics and the good folks at Zoo de Granby were happy to oblige with two trips over to their great space for some fun, and a sneak peek at their latest exhibit. Those who hate animal pictures, should probably avert their eyes at this point, but this is how we were greeted last monday evening:

Hot start, but here’s the animal stuff:

Don’t wake the sleeping sharks….



Le Village Quebecois d’Anton

There, wanted to see I could spell it without looking. The marketing group I’m with took a break from discussions and whatnot for an en mass tour of the aforementioned village.

It is a recreated 19th century farm village halfway between Montreal and Quebec City. Our hosts from the Zoo de Granby arranged for a very nice tour, which led to informal chats prior to dinner.

For dinner, it was culture shock for everybody except the french canadians at the table. The Village put on what they referred to as an Sugar Shack meal, meaning it was similar into scope to what folks ate then before then went to work, or what us marketers would eat before descending into an international food coma.

Sitting with folks from Germany, Austria and exotic Philadelphia, we watched as it kept coming: Crouton, Bread made on the premises, pork and white bean soup, ham, sausage, egg, potatoes, and syrup. Vindication for Buddy the Elf as syrup is indeed a major food group.

It was pretty funny given the reactions and the curiousity from the Europeans, who made me laugh with their assessments of the Canadian beer being offered. You can imagine trying to explain Philly Cheesesteak or our Wings to them.

Properly toured and fed, we were sent back on our bus for the ride back only to have to loop around for our driver to recover his lost coat, which doubled the length of the journey back to Granby.

He reappeared with the jacket and was greeted by some sarcastic cheers.

Sarcasm apparently is universal.

Buff to Dulles to MTL

3 airports, 2 countries, what could go wrong? I knew my gates, studied up to know protocol and in the words of one of my favorite bloggers “tossed out the water, took off my shoes, put the laptop in its own bin and hurried the fuck up.”

I booked my stuff through Orbitz, so naturally the United Airlines check in machine had no idea, but that was quickly rectified. I got onto the plane in Buffalo. It was operated by Mesa Airlines and was old enough that I expect Wrongway Feldman was at the controls.

I struck up a conversation with a Buffalo Expat who was on the way to his retirement home in Maui. I can’t help but wonder if he got to his destination before I got to mine.

Being almost as smart as I think I am, I went on Orbitz and got gate information as there was about forty minutes from I landed in DC and the next Spirit of St. Louis would take me the rest of the way to Montreal. If you have ever been to Dulles Airport in DC, c and d are good letters to have near one another. What Orbitz doesn’t tell you is that flight updates they give you sometimes hit your phone when you cannot use it, as what happened today.

Bastards made my gate change, sending me from C to A, which requires a train, a stairmaster, and considerable respiratory skills to get done in short order. Flight was scheduled to leave at 12:12 and I arrived at 12:05, (this is where more frequent travelers laugh at me.) Because we were waiting on a few folks, the plane sat…and sat as they won’t leave without you. After 20 minutes, they did (so I can say screw you frequent traveler, shit do happen).

And we were off, on an even older plane that before, which a flight crew of one, she looked like a combination of Blythe Danner (a good thing) and Witchypoo from H.R. Pufenstuf.

Flight was fairly straightforward from there, but flying the planes out of my high school history book somehow drained the life from my cell phone so, if I was a little abrupt, I do apologize.

Made it to the hotel which despite some skilled photoshopping to make it look Chalet-like is on the Granby equivalent of Niagara Falls Blvd.

Got my first look at the Zoo de Granby this evening and it is a sight. I’m looking forward to seeing the full thing on Wednesday night, but they have some neat toys here, Ostrichs, I tell ya.

And the initial ice breaker supplied with me with personal favorite: Sleeman‘s Ale! Good Zoo, good Zoo.

And if it warms up, I’m so hitting the waterpark.

Good Canada

On the Road Again

It’s has been a bit since I’ve traveled for work. After being dispatched previously by employers to such exotic locales as Syracuse, Milwaukee, and other glamour hot spots, venturing to Montreal is an intriguing idea. I am a little concerned as it is for a marketing conference and the idea of 80 people upselling each other over three days might be a little much, but you hope to take away a few bon mots, ideas to steal, and some fun time at the Zoo de Granby.

Trade shows and meetings shared some cliched concepts from icebreakers, plenary sessions and whatnot. It’s the informal things that truly have the merit.

It is a little daunting prepping for the journey when you don’t do it that often. I still feel weird showing up at the airport with my Orbitz printout and the knowledge that that is good to go, but I will be able to tell you all about the Village Quebecois in Drummondville by the end of the week.

I know, you can’t wait that long. Well, too bad, I must turn my fate to United Airlines in the morning so ya’all’s got to wait.