Remy’s Dilemma by Andrew Snook

Remy’s Dilemma is another book that I picked up at Toronto Comicon last year. It has been sitting on my desk for a while in the TBR pile and I finally decided that it was time to start it.

Remy’s Dilemma
By: Andrew Snook

The world is coming to an end. That’s what Remy Delemme believes, anyways. While double-checking his lifelong to-do list to ensure he has led a rich life, he realizes he hasn’t come close to completing his goals. Panicked and short on time, Remy embarks on a chaotic road trip to complete the most important item on his bucket list – finding the answer to man’s greatest question. There’s just one problem. Detective Tobias Gray, the most respected criminal profiler in the Toronto Police Department, thinks Remy is a serial killer; and he’s not the only one who has come to that conclusion. Armed with a green crayon, smiley-faced stamp and a pack of cigarettes in a race against time, Remy carves a path of hilarious destruction, baffling and infuriating the police, his government and every other person he encounters. – Goodreads

From start to finish, Remy’s Dilemma is odd. Its so very odd. It all dials down to Remy’s character and all the things that happen around him that are both out of this world and unexpected. Sometimes it was purely nonsensical. However, while it did take a while to adapt to the oddities of the story, once you do, it is quite a mesmerizing read if not to just see what happens to Remy and how he manages to achieve his bucket list before the end of the world. To be honest, reading this book reminded me a bit of when I read Mailman by J. Robert Lennon.

Being in Canada all my life, its hard to not feel a little more connected to this book. The author Andrew Snook does a great job at setting up this alternate reality or maybe a future scenario of Canada being broken down where the province of Quebec has finally broken apart from Canada and turned into their own countries. Only those quite familiar with the situation will feel the connections of it all which somewhat adds on to the absurdities of what this book gives to the readers, especially when you consider that his lifelong to-do list might seem quite normal but then he manages to tick off a few of these boxes on his little road trip and for a few categories multiple times. The structure of the book follows both Remy and Detective Tobias Gray both having their own ways of measuring their progress be in figuring out the suspect or getting closer to doing everything on the bucket list.

As silly and as crazy as this road trip with Remy becomes, the story never forgets to shed a little bit of a deeper light on its main character. As the story pulls to the ending, we start seeing something of a glimpse of what perhaps motivates Remy even if it is in somewhat of an unrealistic way. Why would this be realistic when almost everything else that has happened to him also is quite unrealistic and fairly nonsensical. Remy is a very colorful character full of weird decisions and its almost like he’s the guy who walks around and explosions follow him in those CGI heavy movies. Of course, while Remy is an intriguing character, the book is full of other characters like Tobias Gray who also has quite some depth to his character and brings some more serious vibes to the story. However, the story is also scatter with this cameos of characters that Remy encounters that all have their entertaining aspects.

Remy’s Dilemma takes a little getting used to its oddities at the start but it is also these oddities that escalate during the story that makes it a page-turner. Its a fast read. However, its setting might prove to be a little more welcoming to Canadians (particularly living in Ontario and Quebec). However, the geographic story doesn’t quite make that much of a difference here as the characters and scenarios more than makes up for all the entertaining elements. I can’t help to think that Remy’s Dilemma might not be for everyone as it is a rather dark humor sort of story and humor is quite subjective to everyone.

Vacation 2017 Day 1: Montreal to Saint John, New Brunswick

Wednesday marked the start of our vacation! After postponing the Eastern Canada trip for almost six years (if not more), we finally managed to get a part of it fitted into this upcoming trip. As usual, I will be showing it day by day over the next two weeks. With events coming up, I have to keep it released a little tighter than usual. However, we actually spent most of our time driving than spending a lot of time sightseeing. Hopefully you will still enjoy it as we still had a lot of time. With our job schedules, we don’t usually spend a lot of time together so its nice to take a vacation where we can spend 24/7 together.

The first day was all about heading to our first hotel in Saint John. Going to New Brunswick takes a good few hours from Montreal. Our first day mapped out to be 9.5 hours without any stops. Suffice to say, we wouldn’t make a drive that had no stops. The good part however is that New Brunswick can be traveled in scenic routes and our first leg was all about the River Valley Scenic Route.

Let’s go on Day 1!

On the way over, we passed a county called Saint-Louis-du-Ha!Ha!. Suffice to say that it was pretty fun to say the name and entertained us for a little while.

First Stop: Grand Falls – Grand Sault, New Brunswick

Ron Turcotte

Ron Turcotte Statue

We know nothing about horse racing but Ron Turcotte is a horse racing legend. Another tourist there from Alberta told us that he had met Ron Turcotte and that he was a stellar man, also that he is one of the best before he had to retire.

Grand Falls Gorge

Grand Falls Gorge

Grand Falls Gorge was our main goal of this stop. The gorge is really beautiful. There are a few walking trails around however, the day was all about the thunderstorm chasing us down so we walked down one path a little while out before we say the storm getting incredibly close so we decided to just get back on the road and stay safe in the car and maybe beat the rain again as we headed to our next stop.

Second stop: World’s Longest Covered Bridge – Hartland, New Brunswick

World's Largest Covered Bridge

World’s Largest Covered Bridge

I’ve never actually really seen a whole lot of covered bridges and this one is the world’s largest covered bridge and so incredibly cool to drive through. It was a game of taking turns with the other people on the other side. A little dangerous but everything worked out.

Third Stop: World’s Largest Axe, Nackawic, New Brunswick

World’s Largest Axe

We are on fire on checking off our non-existent bucket list of visiting the world’s largest stuff in Canada. My darling co-host Elwood Jones actually shared a list of the world’s largest objects when we shared the image on our Game Warp Instagram feed and my personal Facebook feed and I’ve actually went to a few of them across Canada. This was way more awesome than we had anticipated. Other than the thunderstorm threatening us to leave, we had a lot of fun there. Plus, there was some nice scenery by the river.

Saint John’s  & Dinner

Here’s a shot before getting into Saint John, New Brunswick where we had our first hotel stay at Delta. While the amenities were pretty cool, my main thing about this hotel is that unless you pay extra for valet parking which is like $5 more or something than normal parking next door, the parking lot next door is actually pretty inconvenient because you need to walk from one end of the mall to the next to get into the hotels and have access to the rooms. However, the room is pretty neat and it was spacious and very clean.

We went to the restaurant located in the mall called Mix Resto-Bar.

Mix Resto-Bar

My husband took the Fish & Chips. And I took the Maple glazed Salmon with Basmati rice and vegetables.Mix Resto-Bar

Mix Resto-Bar was okay. The food tasted good. We both enjoyed our meals quite a bit. However, the service is not too good. Our waitress was friendly however, while she suggested a drink to me, she never brought it to me. The good thing is it wasn’t even charged but then she also forgot to charge my husband’s drink and I had to remind her to add it back on. It was late at night and I guess everyone makes mistakes and forgets stuff. I wasn’t really desperate for a drink either so it didn’t matter too much. We had decent food and that is what really counted at that moment.

That’s the end of Day 1! A long drive but a few interesting stops!
Day 2 will be on Thursday!
Have you been to New Brunswick before?

Charlevoix Day Trip!

On Sunday at about 9am, my friend met me at my place and we set out for our day long drive to Charlevoix.

I’ve already been a few years ago during summer vacation with my boyfriend.  We actually came across the whole area on a spontaneous desire to see where the autoroute 132 would lead and ended up with some pretty amazing scenery.  Last time we didn’t stop at a lot of viewpoints but I was fully aware of the beauty of the landscape itself.  However, an unfortunate situation with technology, aka a virus attack, wiped my computer that fall and those were the only pictures that I had not backed up yet.  Actually there was some other ones from Canyon St Anne, also in that area, but I’ve been meaning to go back to that region for a second visit and redo my pictures. So, here I am!

It takes about 4.5 hours to get to La Malbaie and a little bit less, maybe ten minutes less to come back.  Its highly feasible as our main goal is to make short stops at various viewpoints we come across and take pictures or take short visits in whatever location.

This drive would lead us for a first part of a rather uneventful drive is to get to Quebec City. Its essentially nothing much to see for 2.5 to 3 hours.  The best part is seeing cows and farms and endless straight roads surrounded by trees. However, the weather was a little gray when we left but took the turn for the better as the day went on.  That always helps 🙂

Our first stop was after crossing the Pierre Laporte Bridge in Quebec City to the autoroute next to the Montmorency Falls Park, which we drove by and then further down, we reach a beautiful church called St Anne du Beaupre Sanctuary.  I was here last time as well and its just amazing.

St Anne du Beaupre Sanctuary

St Anne du Beaupre Sanctuary

Parking was per person so we tallied up to $4 and went off to take a walk around the area and inside the church.  There was a mass going on so I kept the pictures at a minimum and only in the other rooms and not where there was the actual mass, because thats not only against the rules but also quite disrespectful.

St anne du beaupre sanctuary

st anne du beaupre sanctuary

st anne du beaupre sanctuary

After walking around a little and my friend going to get a shooter glass for his collection for this trip, we were on our way again.

Next stop: Baie St Paul –> The beginning of the River Route

The first viewpoint is also the beginning of the River Route along with the Charlevoix tourist information centre.  I always like to visit these because then I can get a good idea for future trips, especially for the next time my boyfriend and I go hiking.  Other than beautiful scenery, the best part about Quebec is all the mountainous areas and all the hiking trails.  Its the biggest province in Canada but its not densely populated so it leaves lots of rooms to connect with nature 🙂

Charlevoix

Viewpoint #1

Charlevoix

Viewpoint #1

After grabbing a bunch of pamphlets and maps and seeing all these potential hiking trails, my enthusiasm came right back (probably even more than before that long morning drive felt). The scenery is breathtaking already and this is just the start.

Back in the car and on to the next viewpoint! This time, we are going uphill for a bit and buried in a mountain side looking back into the water and land.

Charlevoix

Viewpoint #2

Charlevoix

Viewpoint #2

After enjoying this and taking a bit of an opportunity to stretch out, while cursing at the stupid car that parked super close next to mine despite ALL the other places, especially since it was a close maneuver to get out and back onto the uphill (and pretty busy) road, I finally got out and continued along.

The next viewpoint is located in an area called Les Eboulements as in the mountains that surround it.  Its pretty much a plateau looking over the St Lawrence River and also if we went further near the coast, it would be the ferry to go over to the Iles aux Coudres, an beautiful island that you can see partially in two pictures below.

Les Eboulements Charlevoix

Viewpoint #3

Les Eboulements Charlevoix

Viewpoint #3

Les Eboulements Charlevoix

Viewpoint #3

I’ve never been to Iles aux Coudres but I plan on going one day.  It looks absolutely beautiful and there’s tons of activities to do.

After this area, the rest of the River Route starts going downhill till we eventually get to the coast running along what I believe is the St Lawrence River with a few wharfs, beaches and whatnot.  We eventually saw that where there were a few cars that pulled over.  That is our final “unofficial” viewpoint.

Charlevoix

Viewpoint #4

Charlevoix

Viewpoint #4

St Irenee Charlevoix

Viewpoint #4

This was a really comfortable and peaceful place to look at.  It did eventually get a little too breezy and that was when we knew it was time to head home.  At the end of this River Route along the Route 362, it merges back at La Malbaie, the final region and merges back into autoroute 138 to go back home.

The drive home was pretty intense, especially the first part going back to the Quebec City area.  I had to make a stop to freshen up with some lovely green tea.  And on we went back home pretty much afterwards.  I had stopped drinking tea for a few months already so I guess my body completely reacted (or overreacted) to the caffeine because I was wide awake for the next 4 hours and made it back right on track at around 8pm.

It sounds a bit crazy to do a day trip with that many hours to get to our destination and just taking pictures but believe me, the view in Charlevoix is part of the 1000 Places  to see before you die book.  Its soothing and breathtaking.  You could even go back via the Mountain Route, which I was supposed to do but apparently I missed the part to go in so we skipped that and just left.

Beautiful scenery, a nice escape, road trip, good company…I really couldn’t ask for more.

Have you been to Charlevoix? Which viewpoint do you like the best?