Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thrills & Chills at La Ronde

Now that our youngest two boys have reached the lofty heights of 1m, 37cm (54”) and can enjoy all the rides, we decided to take them to La Ronde for the day. Located on Île Sainte-Hélène, it boasts of being Eastern Canada’s largest amusement park with over 40 rides and attractions. We had perfect weather, a comfortable 23 degrees, and the lines moved very quickly. The park allows you to bring your own food and drinks (no glass containers or alcohol, of course), which made going for our family of six even more affordable.

For the most part, the boys and I had a terrific day of roller-coaster hopping – that’s pretty much all they were interested in. At the end of the first ride, my youngest exclaimed, “That was excellent.” He had a look of pure joy on his face. This was probably the most thrilling experience he had had in all his nine years. My oldest, looked a little green, but was a trooper and followed us to the next big event. If it whirled and twirled, we tried it – the Vampire, the Cobra, Vertigo, the Monster, and the Goliath, just to name a few. The boys loved all of it. Admittedly, my stomach isn't what it was twenty years ago, but I managed to keep up with them.

Then came the Ednör-Attack. The thrill rating was high, the height requirement only 1m, 32cm (52”). My oldest and I opted out of this ride, only because it was the end of the day and our tummies had had about all we could take. The younger boys and their dad ventured off for the one hour plus wait. J and I had a lovely time, chatting, sharing a beaver tail and wandering around the park – we had no idea the others were in roller-

When they came off the ride, the two youngest were completely white and practically in tears. It seems the ride jostles you back and forth, so your head is repeatedly banged against the safety bars. The bars were padded, but firm enough to leave extensive bruising on a small child. It’s an amusement park, we knew there was a chance of bumps and bruises – but we weren't expecting this. My 13-year-old fared a bit better, but he’s nearly adult sized.

So – our advice to parents visiting Montreal and looking for a little thrill-seeking? Go ahead and enjoy your day at La Ronde, it’s part of Six Flags, so if you already have a season pass, your day is free as a visitor. Just remember that the height requirements on the rides are only guidelines. A little research would have saved us a few headaches – literally. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Writing in the rain

I love the rain: the sound, the smell, the damp seeping into everything. I especially love the rain during the day, when the clouds move in to play hide and seek with the sun, and the temperature suddenly drops ten degrees. Something about it clears my writer’s mind, opens my creative vision and accesses all those words that are stored deep down inside.

Perhaps, it’s recessed memories that activate my imagination and force it into overdrive. When I was a child, storms meant no television, no electricity and not much to do except stay inside and stay dry. So we would read, or in my case, I would write. Mostly I wrote nonsense: silly poems, short stories, bits of this and that. Quite often I find these scribbles coming back to me and they end up hidden, like a small gem, amidst the ramblings of my adult writing.

Sometimes I wonder if other artists find their creativity hidden weather patterns, or phases of the moon. I write every day, but words come to me easier and my muse is far more vocal when the skies are overcast.