An opera singer greeted us at Église St-Roch.
A church by Quebec City’s standards. With its neo-Gothic exterior, it might be a cathedral anywhere else in Canada.
I was still tipsy from the brewery tour and overwhelmed by riding around a toy store on a train. The lady dressed in a blue gown belting out opera music made my head spin. My press trip folks and I were herded to the pews, where we sat in quiet, half-drunk awe.
When the singer finished her performance, we were told to move forward. Blue lights flared up around the church, illuminating the altar. The shadow of a server holding a tray crowded with glasses of champagne was headed in our direction.
Dinner on the church altar? WWJD?
Silvery couches and tables festooned with centerpieces appeared out of nowhere. Stunned silence gave way to excitement as our dutiful chef (who had been following us around for two days) and his crew rolled out platter after platter of tapas and beverages.
Take note, PR folks: this is how you do a press trip.
In our own bubble on the altar, surrounded by new friends we had only just met, I carried myself away on the music, the night, the alcohol. The duck-wrapped scallops and the sparkling wine with gin and rosemary. How quick we are to bond with each other when we have so little time to do it.
Between bites, we marveled over the absurdity of it all.
Every now and then I’d look up to find myself surrounded by religious displays, arched ceilings and towering columns.
I thought, I could get behind a religion like this.
I texted everyone I knew: “Dude, I’m drinking in a church right now. Not communion wine either.”
I sobered up when I had to make my way in darkness to the front of the church to use the bathroom. After all, I was in church. Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.
And yet there was nothing disrespectful about our merriment, just pure wonderment at the experience. Life. Respect. Awe. Camaraderie.
Somewhere between here and Florida and Peru I began questioning my credibility as a writer. If I take so many press trips, will my readers think I’m a sell-out? The blunt truth is that I wouldn’t have had half of these experiences without them, nor the new friends.
You’re here to read about my life. My story. I’m here to tell you life is grand. And thank you, Tryp Quebec Hotel PUR, for reminding me.