French is the first language in Quebec City and I found myself feeling lost language/communication wise. In fact, although all the shop keepers and restaurant people were kind and friendly, I found myself being embarrassed at speaking English. I tried with simple "Bonjour," "Au Voire," "Merci," "Je Non Parle Pas," etc but still! When I tried to pick out what I thought might be a French word it ended up coming out in Spanish or even Italian. All Romance languages but still.
Yes I would love to live in QC but only if I could do my life over again and end up at 20 or so years old. It is a vibrant city filled with good looking, what seemed like confident, young people. Yes there were a lot of us older folks around but for the most part they go un-noticed. QC seems like a culture of youth.
The energy feels good, the faces are beautiful, the hair (I mostly noticed the men :-0) worn long with lots of it tied up on top of their head or partly shaved close and partly longer, beards were plentiful but not overpowering. Not everyone of course but noticeably many. Everyone but a few seemed slim and in good shape. Dressed very simply but stylishly grungy or monochromatic. Lots of dark colors. Tee shirts the order, three quarter length shorts. Most looked "louche" like.
The women were especially pretty, wore little if any makeup, and wore their hair simply. A plain top and skirt or slacks accented their thin frame. Boobs were available but no huge bouncers. Wonder why! Several costumes which I spotted, consisted of an above the knee length black slip like top,with a lace fringe, a pair of sandals, and nothing more. Lovely!
Many young families with young children, many male/female couples. My "GAYdar" could not detect too many gay men, women, or couples even though QC is very gay friendly. I guess I just couldn't tell the gay ones from the straight ones.
Yes there were older people but it seemed like less than 25% of those I was around. The older the people, the fewer you saw.
Now take it in mind that a lot of the people I spotted were visiting the city but I could also tell which ones lived here or in French speaking Quebec Provence. Very few people could be heard speaking English or other languages.
One funny experience I had was when two overweight, middle age men walking a little behind their wives, got a kick out of some street performers, one saying to the other in a thick Texas type drawl, "Why don't we have these kind of things back home?" You had to hear the drawl to really enjoy the comment.
The cost of living seems expensive, even in the grocery store I visited. Restaurants are not out of reach (I don't visit those kinds) but the average cost of a meal was higher than what I am used to in the US. Perhaps because most of the places I ate at were in The Old City, the prices were more touristy.
In The Old City, where my hotel was, the buildings are very European, French/Paris monumental types. There are a lot of new buildings with some added to or next to and imitating the older one in a contemporary way. Some were just future looking modern.
The city was very clean and felt very safe. Even in the crowds of the Quebec Festival (which was taking place during my stay) it felt safe. While I did protect my camera and cell phone, it did not feel like they would be grabbed by a run by assailant. I kept aware of my pockets but never felt in danger of being pick pocketed. There was a very low level presence of police but I would guess there were plenty undercover if only because the festival brings in millions of visitors and some of the individual gatherings I attended had several thousand attendees.
All in all, I had a good time (apart from my periodically allowed 90 seconds of loneliness at being here without Gregory,) walked my feet off, ate some unique food, bought some exciting souvenirs (which by the way is a French word,) and also am looking forward to being home in my own bed tomorrow night.