tree-mendus trips

this update has taken me forever to finish. two consecutive weekends, two consecutive out-of-town trips.

labor day weekend was spent in chicago where most of my uncles and aunts are. we got to go peach-picking in this fruit tree farm in eau claire, michigan creatively named "tree-mendus." it's a tremendously wide stretch of land filled with all sorts of fruit trees.

you're provided with pails to fill with either peaches or the nearby plums. the trees were brimming with ripe peaches on its branches. some were already on the ground. i left the peach-picking task to my family while i explored good angles for a peachy photo-op.

after stocking up on peaches, we headed to the warren dunes by lake michigan in sawyer, michigan primarily for swimming. alas, the waters were too cold for swimming. fearing hypothermia, my sister and i hung out by the beach instead, but we did enjoy our little picnic area on top of one of the "mini-dunes".

lake michigan is the biggest, oceanic lake i've ever seen.

during this trip, we took advantage of the wonders of GPS technology, thanks to my sister's wonderful nextel phone equipped with said feature. the navigational tool has proven itself smart and accurate at all times, leading us to the shorter routes. even if we strayed from the given route (which was frequent), it was kind enough to reroute us back to the enlightened path of driving salvation.

on labor day itself, we climbed up the sears tower in chicago. my second time actually, but a first for my sister. it was nice that there wasn't a huge line to take up our time.

our day was punctuated with a chinese lunch at chicago's chinatown. when the menu says "whole chicken," they mean WHOLE chicken. complete with its head. haha.

the following weekend, at a spur-of-the-moment's decision, we went to montreal. first time for my parents and sister, visit number deux for moi. equipped with mapquest directions, we went to the st. joseph's oratory first. the two-hundred-something-stepped stairs is a sight to behold and a cardio-vascular work-out to conquer. i may have mentioned it in a previous post, but it's worth saying again: the middle part of the stairs is actually reserved for devout pilgrims who wish to climb the stairs in prayer on their kees, as shown in this photo. this is only one section of the entire stairway, leading up to the main church loft.

it was chilly in montreal. but our gracious hostesses in brossard made our overnight stay warm and hearty in their home, where my sister and i frolicked in their well-kept garden. they have grapes, a pear tree and an apple tree growing in their small yet pretty backyard.

we got to see a view of montreal by night at this lookout point on top of the mountain. it was also then that i got to see a live raccoon for the first time in my life. he was trying to salvage some food from the garbage can. he looked adorable. and scary at the same time.

we also visited the notre dame cathedral. mom reportedly feels like she's "in heaven" once she saw the grand interiors.

we got to tour the entire old port area of montreal via a guided tour ride which narrates the important structures along the said place, complete with historical background. thankfully for us, the french narration had an english translation.

one of the things i would have loved to do there was have a caricature of myself done by one of the street artists. we didn't have time to sit for at least 30 minutes for it, as we were shopping for montreal souvenirs at the same time. we were set to leave for new jersey that afternoon too.

i brought back a stuffed canadian with me. his name's monty. he didn't have any papers with him, but the customs officer at the border didn't seem to mind even while he was within his full view.

yup, he had a seat all to himself in the car.

four more days before my birthday. egad, how time flies....

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