MONTREAL — The following is what's left of my Quebec fall color story. Sometimes things don't quite work out.
Thursday: Fly into Montreal, pick up a car and begin the three-hour drive to glorious Quebec City. Two hours into the drive, a tire declares itself flat. A garage operated by a kindly man who speaks almost no English charges, in French, $3.95 (Canadian) for the patch and $28 (Canadian) for knowing where to put it.
Later Thursday: Arrive late at the Quebec City hotel, a former bank. The toilet is not open for business. A bellman brings a plunger.
Later, a similar problem earns a second plunge. Spectacular dinner at Le Saint-Amour.
Friday: Quebec City. The seasonal fall color is rained out. I settle for galleries. But the toilet works. Glorious dinner at Le Patriarche.
Saturday: Quebec City. The toilet, once again, doesn't work. On to the scenic region of Charlevoix to appreciate its renowned seasonal fall color, except now the rain is accompanied by thick fog. No seasonal fall color. The lone hints of moose are the barely visible road signs that insist they're everywhere. Overnight in Baie-Saint Paul, at an auberge whose floors creaque. Marvelous dinner at adjacent Chez Bouquet.
Sunday: Give up entirely on seasonal fall color and escape to weather-resistant Montreal. A bellman shows me how to operate the room's electric fireplace. Later, it being un tad dampe in Montreal, I flip the electric fireplace's "on" switch, which immediately sets off the hotel's screamingly loud fire alarm. Three fire trucks arrive. Upon walking down five levels of stairs, I'm assured 1) the alarm was false and 2) I didn't do it. Awesome dinner at Barroco.
Monday: Leave Montreal, arrive at my home airport — and my luggage, I'm told, somehow is still in Montreal. It will arrive, I'm told, on the next flight. Which is canceled.
There's more. But this story? C'est fini.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times