Tried fruitlessly to get Internet back from the time I woke up (at eightish) to the time I went into casacorona's Kaffeeklatsch at 10 AM. No cigar. So I gave up on that, had a great time at the Kaffeeklatsch, and then went straight from that to a panel I had added myself to ("Writing in a culture not your own") - it was a topic which interested me and in which I seem to have some small experience (cue "The Secrets of Jin Shei" amongst other things) and it was a good panel, pretty full, good audience participation. Straight from that to the first of two First Contact panels - this was supposed to be the teen track but teens were scarce and the average age seemed rather upstream of ME - but nonetheless it was an interesting set of panels. The first one was a sort of speed-dating discussion where the "panelists" (some dozen of us) kind of circulated in the room discussing the subject of history, media, bias, preservation and presentation of matters contemporary and archival, and all like that. We seemed to reach the conclusion that the only way to preserve something absolutely without running the risk of having the media it was stored in become obsolescent or the risk of bias and possible "chinese telephone" corruption which one might assume would be inherent in oral history would be to paint in on rock wall in dark caves. There goes our future...
The next panel was a little diffuse, and its program description consisted of several broad and sometimes difficult to connect questions. But we handled it manfully - the real question of first contact, what would happen if the aliens ever really did come to Earth (and if they did so during a convention, would we ever know that they had been there at all). It was a fun panel, and it also boasted an audience which was, shall we say, rather less teenage than desired - but the audience was interested and enthusiastic and, it has to be said, picked up over a Neil Gaiman event elsewhere at the same time - so we at the panel table were duly grateful for the vote of confidence.
It was also my last panel. Afterwards, I picked up Donna McMahon and we went wandering around the streets of Old TOwn - we went into the chapel of Notre Dame de Bon Secours, a lovely little church built in 1771 - and one which, since 2005, has the distinction og being the final resting place of Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, one of only two Canadians ever to be sanctifed.
There is a museum, and it's a great little slice of life in early Montreal - there are exposed stone walls and ancient staircases leading up to a belvedere in the tower from which some great views are to be had, flanked by two stern-faced angels with the green patina of age heavy upon them. So we did the chapel and the museum, and then walked the cobbles back down Rue St Paul towards the place called Chez Suzette where I was going to go and have my dark chocolate crepe before I left this city, if it KILLED me. So I did, and it was every bit as "magnifique" as I thought it would be. (Once again, there ARE pictures - but they ain't gonna get downloaded tonight...)
Then we meandered back into the Palais, and I kept on seeing people dolled up to go to the Hugos but I just didn't seem to have the requisite energy to get dressed up and go partying. So I came back to the hotel, checked into my flight tomorrow, and I'll pack my bags tonight so all I have to do is pick up sticks and leave tomorrow.
But I will miss you, Montreal, your European style and charm and your uneven cobbles in the back streets and the quality of the light in your early mornings.
Je suis desole de te quitter. Je reviens. Je reviens un jour, avec plus de temps. Je suis vraiment enchantee de faire ta conaissance.