Somehow that doesn't surprise me. My first initiation into Quebec was when we were living in Ontario. At the time, I was working for MacMillan Bloedel. The Comptroller that I worked with (Dan) and his wife (Lucy) became friends with my husband and I. Both of them were originally from B.C. The B.C. Lions were playing Montreal on a Sunday afternoon and we decided we'd go to Montreal to watch the game since Dan was a Lions fan (we were Eskimo fans but also football fans). We left late Saturday afternoon, planned to spend the night in a hotel and go to the game the next day. The game was being played in the "Big O" - we were all excited.
Lucy, btw is from a French background and speaks it fluently even though she was born and raised in B.C. When we arrived at the hotel to check in and, since the rest of us didn't speak French Lucy decided she'd take it upon herself to help us check in. That was the start of our horrible experience!
Lucy explained to the desk clerk(s) that we had reservations, who we were and that we were there to check in. OMG, at first we weren't sure what was going on - did they lose our reservations? What was the problem? Turns out they insisted they didn't understand a word of what Lucy was saying apparently. You have to imagine this - Lucy was 90 lbs soaking wet and she was so irate - I'm sure she was jumping 3 feet off the ground she was so mad. She said that over the time her and Dan had been in Ontario, she had met lots of Francophones from Quebec and had never encountered any communication issues.
We finally got to our rooms and went out for drinks a short time later and again, Lucy did the "ordering". Since it was late we didn't stay long and went back to the hotel.
The next day we leave the hotel for the "Big O". Was quite impressed with how big it was - didn't realize at the time what a "white elephant" it actually was. Got some "beverages" and went to our seats. We were there well before game time.
Just before the game was to start, I thought I should go to the ladies room so I wouldn't have to leave during the game. Of course, the stadium is HUGE and trying to fine the washrooms proved to be a little intimidating. So I went to one of the kiosks to ask if someone could point me to the direction of the washrooms. The guy sitting behind the counter was reading a newspaper and simply ignored me. So I asked in a louder voice, excuse me can you point to where the washrooms are? Still nothing. So I said, excuse moi, o et le toilet (told you my French sucks!) Still nothing. I was so upset, I grabbed his news paper and pulled it down and stated again, in French where the washrooms were and he very reluctantly pointed in the direction.
When I got back to my seat I told my seatmates what had happened and Lucy said that she had never encountered such ignorant people in her life.
That was our first experience. The second went pretty much the same way. We went down east before being transferred back to Alberta because Ontario was the farthest east I had ever been. I wanted to visit the Maritimes. One of the best experiences ever btw. On the way there, we went through the states and on the way back we went through N. Quebec and Quebec City. Simply stopping for gas in Quebec was an ordeal; I would have loved to stop in Quebec City simply to see some of the history but my husband was adamant that we not stop because he was sick and tired of the arrogance and ignorance of the people we had encountered in our visits thus far, so we didn't stop.
I don't know if our experiences were exceptions; I have spoken to people who have said their experiences were good, but I'm telling you that I'd be hard pressed to go back there based on the two times I was there. Having said that, maybe times have changed as this happened in the '80's....
Give me the Maritimes any time!!