Monthly Archives: July 2014

Home via Newark, New Jersey

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The very nice man at US customs directed us to Lady Liberty just before we entered the main departure terminal. The gate featured some toys for the kids. Why don’t all airports have such things? We arrived at Newark on time, and walked around the terminal for a couple hours. We boarded for our flight home, waited for the pilot to come over from the other plane that just landed, then waited for mechanical check, pulled away from gate, then was told we had to pull into another gate and deplane. For awhile we thought we would have to spend the night in Newark but fortunately another plane was found and we hustled to yet another gate and boarded. We arrived home a couple hours late, but the girls handled the trip very well. Probably better than Mom.

Montreal Part VII (Boat ride, Lachine and Atwater Market)

I was looking for a patisserie, and the one with the highest ratings wasn’t open the day we passed by.  We finally found Maison Christian Faure en route to our boat ride.  This pastry shop is also a pastry school.  Our eyes soaked in the beauty of the delicacies encased in the pristine white showroom.  We selected some croissants, apple turnover and macarons. Absolutely delicious!IMG_4365IMG_4367IMG_4369

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Our next stop was the pier to find our boat tour. We savored our treats while waiting to board. The hour-long ride suited us perfectly with beautiful weather as a bonus. We saw some amazing architecture, including a building completely made out of individual boxes each of which have windows that do not face any neighbors.  The building was designed by a 22 year old McGill architecture student several years ago. The boat ride also passed by La Ronde which is an amusement park on the island (Ile St Helene) across the river from Montreal.  The girls were amazed by the roller coaster (and the screaming people riding it!)

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After hopping off the boat, we walked through Old Port again to return to the condo.  We heard some bagpipes and walked over to find that they were playing outside the history museum.

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After naps, we drove down to the canal area, Lachine, and walked around for a bit.  Atwater Market is located nearby and we wandered through, finding some good food and a chocolate store which sold chocolate ice cream.  Quite of bit of that dripped on shirts and faces!

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Montreal Part VI (Mont Royal, La Fontaine, and Poutine)

Since Montreal is named for it’s central Mount Royal, we deemed it necessary to visit this park.  We loaded up on bagels, then drove up to the top of the mountain, while being amazed at the number of bike commuters in the city. Surprisingly, we discovered that most of the mountain’s top is made up of cemeteries. At the mountain, the girls danced around and Unni even challenged Halabuji to a foot race. Afterward, we drove over to La Fontaine Park where we saw some cute little ducklings.  For lunch, we chose to dine at the famous and popular 24 hour La Banquise restaurant to eat poutine which is Quebec’s well-known dish — a combo of french fries, cheese curds and sauce/gravy. How can you go wrong with any of those foods, right?

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Montreal Part V (McGill University and Famous Korean Actress)

After Dad’s conference ended, we enjoyed a couple more days sightseeing in Montreal altogether.  We walked to McGill University’s McCord Museum of Montreal history, and saw interesting exhibits including one of a popular deli.

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After the museum tour (quick, given the attention span of little kids), we found another outdoor piano in the “Urban Forest” and listened to some music at the outdoor venue. Koma made quick friends with a little boy, inviting him over to share an orange circle.

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Then we turned down the street in front of the museum and we randomly ran into a Korean actress Jo An and two cameramen who were filming a video shoot.  My parents recognized her and we all ended up greeting and meeting. The cameramen turned the video and camera on us too, so who knows? We might end up on a broadcast in Korea! IMG_4177 IMG_4179 IMG_4184

After the excitement of meeting a celebrity died off, we walked the McGill University campus a little and ate some amazing food at a vegetarian restaurant, Lola Rosa.  We all raved about how yummy our meals tasted.

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Montreal Part IV (Old Port)

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One cannot visit Montreal without trying their two popular and famous bagel stores. We tried St. Viateur first and the manager presented both girls a free bagel in addition to the dozen we bought. Delicious! They are hard to describe but definitely taste different than the typical New York bagels we are used to eating. We tried Fairmount bagels also, and found them to be yummy also.

We also wandered around Old Port one morning, where we discovered a playground on one of the piers. The girls played with some daycare children there, having fun and sharing space in spite of not speaking any French.

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We walked through the beautiful city hall (very cool rounded door), then at Bonsecours Market found a little display of historic dresses created out of paper.

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We had heard about a sand sculpture competition going on in town, and after asking at the visitors center, we found the display of the winner located next to a small pond where we saw some ducklings.

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Heading back to the condo, we passed by some familiar double golden arches, which prompted Koma to start her “fwench fwy” mantra. So, we stopped to get the girls McDonald’s and the rest of us ate Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches from Chinatown. So much for our girls absorbing culture. Below is a little picture of our very nice condo and very funny kid.

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Montreal Part III (Science Center)

One overcast and somewhat rainy morning, we walked down to Old Port again and explored the Science Museum.  It wasn’t very big but was perfect for young children.  The girls had a blast and the time flew really quickly.  The girls played with magnets, built the wall on a miniature house, pushed balls down tracks, danced in front of magical lights, banged on instruments, pulled up a giant bubble around them, heard Halabuji from the opposite side of the museum via the effects of sound travel, made handprints with heat conduction, learned about convexity and concavity via those funny mirrors, and much more.

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Montreal Part II (Botanical Garden and Insectarium)

Dad spent a few days at his conference, and the rest of us explored Montreal. We rode the subway one morning and wandered through the botanical garden and the insectarium, which is located right next to the Olympic stadium (1976). The girls really liked finding bugs in the cases. We also located one of the many outdoor pianos on display throughout Montreal this summer in the gardens. This botanical garden also houses one of the largest Chinese gardens, too.

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Montreal Part I

We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Montreal!  Our departure time of 6:50 am meant rising at 4 am.  The girls quickly woke up in their car seats en route to the airport and by the time the terminal bus came around, they were dressed.  The girls traveled superbly!

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At 7:15 AM ….

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At 8AM, we saw New York City from up high….

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We finally reached Montreal at noon, and by 2;30 pm settled into our condo we rented and ate lunch.   Some of us napped and then we started out looking around the area, and ended up at a mall which housed a grocery store.  The other side of the mall led to Place des Artes which held an outdoor festival.

The next day, we walked through Chinatown to explore the Old Port.  We stopped to see the Basilica of Notre Dame, and then wandered around a few blocks admiring the cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages.  We stopped for ice cream, and another hour later, stopped for lunch, which included some crepes, of course.

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Favorite car in the world!

Unni spotted her “favorite car in the world” in a Montreal parking garage. Then upon arrival back home, she spotted a similar one in the airport parking lot at 10pm. Looks like her taste in vehicles is going to be expensive!!

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Bass pro shop playdate

We watched the big fish swim around the huge tank while waiting for the craft activity to begin. The girls happily colored their wooden fish with their friends.

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