November 18, 2002
On the Meaning of Flashing Lights in Different Provinces

French Speaking Fun (Part III)

A few general comments, and then I'll stop talking about my trip.

1) Québeckers have grown much more forgiving of bad french. The last time I was there you either spoke in perfect Québecois french, or people would immediately start talking English in reply. This time not so much – I would bungle my way through a question and they would answer back in french (ableit simple french). It was nice, and good practice.

2) The streetlights in Québec are utterly insane. When I first hit Q.C. I would stand at a corner and try and puzzle out when I was allowed to cross. There are flashing lights, strange arrows, and counters on many of the lights. Eventually I figured out the following:
– A flashing light is essentially equivalent to a left turn arrow (as opposed to the Vancouver version which means yield to pedestrians. Wow was I surprised.)
– The arrows create a complex light system that I still believe doesn't make sense. Sometimes you'll be able to go straight and turn left, but not right. Other times it will be turns only. Insane.
– Not allowing right-turns on red lights in Québec likely saves thousands of lives a year. Ye Gods.
– The counters on pedestrian signs are essentially 'hurry your ass up' signals due to the same conditions which eliminate right turns.
– All of the above is irrelevant. Cross whenever you can, but don't expect cars to stop, much less slow down. I saw people jaywalking openly in front of a manned policecar while I was there.

3) Train travel rocks. I took the train from Québec City to Montréal and it was the most relaxing part of the trip. I am still crossing my fingers for a high speed train line to Edmonton.

4) Québeckers aren't as fond of the corner coffee shop as the rest of Canada. I attribute this to the significant number of actualy cafés which fill that role pretty well.

5) Churches. Wow do they have a lot.

Posted by savidant at November 18, 2002 11:43 AM

Crap. See the previous log entry for my traffic comment. Oui, je suis idiot.

Posted by: warcode on November 18, 2002 03:14 PM
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