Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Explore Day 18

(NOTE: I wrote this post yesterday, but I couldn't get it up until now due to technical issues with the photos)

I'm blogging this from an adorable little cafe in Old Quebec. A friend recommended it to me, and it took me awhile to find since I didn't have a proper map, but now I'm here, and I'm just waiting on food. Not sure if the waitress knows I'm Anglophone yet... If she doesn't, then she will soon enough, but that's okay. She hasn't started talking to me in English yet, so that's a good sign. Normally most of my conversations with Francophones involve me giving them a blank stare relatively early on, following which they start talking in English.

The cafe I'm in is called Chez Temporel, and it's tiny. By tiny, I mean there are eight small tables and a few stools. It's probably about the size of my living room back home. According to the google reviews, it's frequented by artiste figures... which is why I decided to blog here. If I'm gonna be here all by myself, I should do something remotely artsy, right?

It's a little weird exploring the city all by myself.  I was with a friend earlier, but she had to go back to her host family for supper, and since my bus transfer ticket lasted for another two hours I thought I might as well explore and search for this restaurant.

(The waitress now knows I'm not French, because I asked her what 'doggy bag' was, since I wanted to take my pizza back with me, but she's still speaking French to me, which means that my French is good enough so she doesn't feel the need to speak English, which I know she can, because I heard her talking to some other customers in English earlier.)

As I was saying, it's weird being here all alone, because I constantly have to be on my guard. Even in broad daylight, it might not be a good idea to go down a back street. It sucks being a female traveller, not so much even because it's unsafe, but because I've been told it's unsafe so many times that I've started to believe it. If I see a man smoking pot on a bench, or riffling through the garbage can for empty beer bottles, I automatically classify him as a danger.

I don't like having to be so careful. It's hard to fully enjoy a place, to sort of 'give myself' to it, if you will, when I'm constantly feeling threatened. And I shouldn't even feel threatened! Quebec isn't a dangerous city, especially in the touristy part in broad daylight. I'm not going to get hurt. I shouldn't be thinking that way. But because I'm a female, in a city I'm not familiar with, I am, just a little bit, afraid.

I suppose I should have a point to this blog post, like arguing how cities should become even safer, so that no woman ever gets assaulted or raped. Or maybe I should protest the gender stereotypes that make me believe that, as a female, I am weak.

I'm not going to say anything of the sort. I think Canada does a pretty good job of keeping its cities safe. And I know that 'weak female' isn't just a gender stereotype when it comes to a fight between 5’3", 95lb me and a 6'2" 220lb male.

This isn't a blog post about social change; it's a call for me to change. I don't need to be stronger, or for cities to be safer. I just need to realize that something doesn’t have to be 100% safe for me to enjoy it. I don’t need to be in a secure little bubble all the time. As a control freak, I need to learn to let go a little and relax. Yes, I need to be careful. But I don’t let the remote chance of danger spoil this beautiful city.


  1. Good for you, Rachel. Enjoy, be wise, and enjoy. And above all, trust God to take care of you as He is in control of your life, both in safe PEI and the not-so-save wider world. I hope you continue to enjoy the time remaining!!

  2. I'm glad you're having fun! :) I love reading about your trip.