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Thursday, July 22, 2010

East Coast Earthquake/Seisme du Est - Montreal Day 1

East Coast Earthquake/ Seisme du Est

A new airport - Pierre Elliott Trudeau, outside of Montreal. Turns out this "bare bones plan" plan I had going has one small flaw… Here it is almost an hour after I landed, and no sign of my boy Seb and his friend Sabrina. I'm hoping they thought it was a 1.15 landing, cuz I don't know where I'm meant to be staying, and I can't find out because a) there's no free internet at YUL (that I can find anyway), and i don't have any contact details (read: phone numbers) of either Seb or Sab…

Everything turned out ok, they came to the airport around 2 pm. Turns out there was a huge night of drinking the night before, they didn't head home until 6:30am or so. San missed a day of work, and they were both feeling pretty rough.

We went straight to the apartment we'll be living in, where Vince met us. He goes on holiday for 2 weeks as of tomorrow so the plan is to stay at Sabrina's apartment tonight.

Vince lives close to the city centre - 5 minutes, give or take 5 minutes, depending on your view of "downtown". Rue St. Denis, one of the better nightlife scenes, is maybe 10 minutes. I'll put some pictures up once we're moved in. Suffice to say, this is going to be a hell of a week. Walked to Old Montreal for a late lunch, at Les 3 Brasseurs, where they make their own beer on site. A pitcher of Russian (blonde beer, vodka, and lemon syrup) and we headed off after meeting JP, one of Vince's friends.

At this point, I think it's important to address a popular perception of Quebec. And yes. It's true. Montreal girls are fantastic to look at. Seriously, they care. I don't really know how to take this newfound information; the numbers game doesn't seem fair when they're ALL breathtaking. We'll see how that turns out.

Hey, guess what? The Just For Laughs festival is happening! Yay funny! All the shows are fairly expensive, but there's some decent buskers/street performers to keep the entertainment going. Vince got involved in a magic show (standard split the lady in half/walk through the solid rope etc.) but when you can buy beer in the street in plastic cups, anything is fun.

Montreal is very conscious of its foot traffic, and it's surprisingly easy to maintain one's bearings. Unlike other big cities like Vancouver or Toronto, the skyscrapers are pretty much limited to the business district - unless you want to go shopping at NIke or Lacoste, there isn't much reason to head that way. The CBC Radio building is a good landmark, it's tall and brown, as is the Governor's Hotel, or as Vince calls it, "the penis", due to its logo, and the coincidence that it signifies the beginning of the Gay district. So, with the lack of tall buildings, you can easily find where you are, and where you need to be.

Dinner that evening was at Les Deux Gamins, where the patio was flush with the street, not even a rope to signify where one ended and the other began. For 3 course, plus Seb and I sharing a bottle of red ended up at around $40 each, with tip. These courses included foie gras, escargot, steak and salmon, so that gives you an idea of the cost of living here. People watching was a high priority, so after we paid, we followed where most of them were going. Again, women everywhere!

We ended up back on St Denis at one of the bigger bars in town, Saint Sulpice. 3 levels, plus a backyard terrace bigger than most bars in Whistler, including Longhorns. That's all of longhorns incidentally, not just the patio. Hundreds of people, mostly young, all looking for a good time. We were all tired though, so the revelry was put aside for another night.

Sabrina lives a fair ways out, and at gone 1am after waking at 6 that morning, I wish I could say I stayed awake on the drive home. Alas, backseats on warm nights are my kryptonite - I was out. I do recall following signs for Laval - I'll find out more info in the morning.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: Sure, I speak French… "Mcdonalds".

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