Confession: I’m terrified of Bonhomme Carnaval.
He’s the official greeter of Quebec’s Winter Carnival, which started last weekend.
Crowds of singing drunks fill the streets. There’s an ice sculpture contest, a glittering ice hotel, cocoa served out of ice mugs at the glittering ice hotel, an ice palace, ice skating, a canoe race across the icy St. Lawrence.
Here’s how I plan to survive my new city’s weird and wonderful winter festival:
It’s called The Caribou. It’s red wine, hard liquor, and maple syrup. It’s rumored to make you so drunk you won’t be able to feel the frigid death grip of winter anymore. Locals drink it out of red canes adorned with Bonhomme as they drunkenly wobble through the winter wonderland.
Dog race watching:
Quebec is like a mash-up of Paris and Fairbanks, AK. There’s the big city culture mixed with serious weather and wilderness. Last weekend, I stood outside with hundreds of other Quebecers and caught my very first dog-sled race.
I envisioned Call of the Wild but it was more Call of the Scrawny German Shepard. The dogs were little lean sled-pullin’ machines. I’m certain it’s a hard sport. I can’t even get Elwood to walk properly on a leash.
Just say mush.
Ice palace dancing:
Electronica on ice! Makes me feel better about missing Seattle’s incredibly mild (read: boring) winter months. I just hope I don’t slip and make a fool of myself, though I’m certain I won’t be the only one.