Woke early, looked outside and saw that there was some lovely early morning light. So before 8 AM I was on my feet and up past Place d'Armes and back up to the Place Jacques Cartier, which looked a little like a movie set for an artsy European movie, bright and very empty and waiting for its actors to walk onto the stage. Walked down this narrow streetlet called Rue Des Artistes, and then back up to Rue Notre Dame - and this time the cathedral was open for visitors, so I wandered inside. And it's one of those old quiet dignified churches with lots of stained glass and votive lights flickering below statues and icons and paintings, lots of colour, lots of silence, lots of sanctity. I liked it a lot.
Then it was back down to the Palais, grabbed a coffee and an indeterminate muffin (they had a bunch of clearly different types there but no indication as to what any of them were so it was a Muffin Pot Luck) for breakfast, and then met kylecassidy up in the foyer of the Palais and had my mugshot taken (literally, at first - holding the slip of paper with the model release on it so that he'd know who it was later and then the proper shot. He takes good pictures.
Had the pre-arranged lunch with the SFNovelists gang (the people who were there included catvalente, mindyklasky, Tobias Buckell, Melinda Snodgrass, and I'm pretty sure other people came in and out but the names escape me (sorry, folks...) We discussed films and TV programs and life and writing in general - had a nice veal-and-cranberry pasta meal, followed by a heavenly crème brulee, and then wandered off upstairs and did a bit of writing while waiting for my 3:30 Kaffeeklatsch which was a little bit of a bridge across time as it involved a couple of friends from my different Usenet eras coming together in the same time and the same place and the effect was oddly... relativistic. This was followed by the panel "Would it really help to get rid of those nasty rough men?" - it ran for 90 minutes instead of the usual 60, which kind of threw me, so dinner plans with Brenda Cooper and her friend Gisele kind of ran a little late - but we went back to the Place Jacques Cartier and had a lovely (if a little pricy) dinner which included a great soup, a magnificent entrée (they had venison I had veal) and a cake which none of us thought we could finish but we all did, plus a bottle of red wine – eating on the terrace, watching mimes perform and street musicians play and a man painted silver who appeared to be there to have pictures taken with him (he had great abs so I did...Brenda has the evidence which she will no doubt put to good use...)
After, my two dinner companions went back to the Palais for what remained of the Masquerade and I sauntered down the square and one of those curbside portrait artists of which there are several in the square suddenly said to me as I was passing, “Vous etes une inspiration, vous etes tres jolie!”
So I got talking to him, initially in French. (I had an entire conversation in French! Hey!) and then we discovered something interesting. His mother was from Backa Palanka, his father a Bosnian Serb. We continued the conversation in three languages, braiding and weaving Serbian, French and English, discussing singers and writers from the Old Country and his eight years working at Montmartre in Paris before he came to Montreal, and all sorts of other things. He sketched my portrait, and he usually charges for this, after all, which is why he is set up there – but he gave it to me for free, as a present ("pour etre ma Mona Lisa. Souvenez-vous de Montreal!"). So I left him a little money, probably not nearly enough, because it seemed churlish to take the portrait and run. Then we wished one another godspeed in three different languages and I meandered off again, having three other conversations in French along the way with various artists and vendors (I finally realised why the Rue des Artistes was called that), ducking into fascinating courtyards filled with craftspeople and artists selling their wares, meandering back to the Palais and the seventh floor terrace where they had opened up an area on the roof of the Palais so that the Worldcon people could watch the fireworks display that night. Made it just in time for the fireworks, which were spectacular. Took some photos, and hobbled back into the hotel on aching feet… whereupon the internet connection promptly quit on me.
So I went to bed.
I’ve got a kaffeeklatsch (Someone Else’s) and three panels on Sunday, and then I’m taking off to see a bit of Montreal with a friend. When we come back it’s time to check in to my flight, arrange for my shuttle for the morning, and pack; home on Monday.
Sunday report to follow assuming I can get the internet working again.
PS YES, there are pictures. But I haven't uploaded them yet. Patience.)