A Travellerspoint blog

September 2009

Rainy Day in Montreal

Montreal, Quebec, Canada

rain 15 °C

Hey, so here I am. It's a Thursday night here in Montreal. Thursdays, not Fridays are the big going out evening of the week in the USA and Canada. Today, I feel quiet - I am staying in in the hostel and blogging for you guys cause I miss you and I am sorry to have not been writing more. My only excuse is that I have been in 2 countries and 3 places in 2 weeks, and I have been suffering from jet lag!

I read somewhere that for the body to catch-up on jet lag, it takes 1 day for every hour's time difference. There is a difference of 15 hours between NY/Montreal and Melbourne, so now I have effectively caught up after 2 1/2 weeks!

After landing in NY, I stayed with my cousin in Queens, NY for 4 days. From there, in to Montreal Airport and then directly by bus to Mont Tremblant. Mont Tremblant is America's #1 ski resort - built by the corporation as Whistler. I was there a week, then returned to Montreal to stay a week. So, in 2 days I leave here again for Mont Tremblant.

There have been so many interesting and fun experiences!! In NY, my cousin and I walked into a little liquor store off Park Avenue and met one of the characters from The Godfather. He was selling his own label of wine - branding himself just like Paris Hilton. We went to a Japanese karaoke, and I got very drunk - my cousin had to carry me home. Walked thru Central Park after dark and almost got mugged! Yes, if I wrote a list of my 'Top 100 Things To Do Before I Die' and another list of 'Top 100 Things Least Likely/Never Thought I Would Do In Case I Died' - I am progressively working thru both lists.

Arriving into Montreal was like entering Paradise after NY. NY was grimey, frenetic, stressed. In Montreal, cotton like pollen wafted along sunlit streets with multitudes of people in cafes and laughing with friends on the streets. Houses here are gorgeous, mostly 3-storey with windy staircases out the front leading up to the 2nd floor. People look you in the eye, speak and then SMILE :o) It is a lovely, international, laid back, cultural city. I really love it here. So much so, that I am making plans to move.

I only intended to stay a few days in Mont Tremblant. My original timeframe was a month for this holiday but I have since decided to live out the Summer in Quebec. Why not? There is no Optimus to go back for. Mont Tremblant introduced me to so many lovely people. And gnats ... it was a plague of gnats (black flies) after twilight there. Never in a Vegemite nightmare, did I think innocent looking little black flies could bite, suck your blood, leave red marks which swell and become itchy days later, the marks last for months - they can also give you river blindness and encephilitis. I really enjoyed staying at the hostel there. I always like the intimacy of small hostel. People quickly start to feel like family. Like I have always said, you can live a lifetime thru another person's eyes.

Montreal, what a mecca of culture, shopping, food! Laid back like Australia but truly international. There is no one type of Quebeccan accent. 1/3 of the population speak English, 2/3 speak French. What's interesting, is that the French generally speak much better English (almost perfect in some cases), than the English speak French. Shopping is much cheaper than Australia, and the variety is overwhelming - and I am from an Asian culture. Today, the underground shopping centre I was in, was busier than Sungai Wang Plaza in K.L. So, there is a whole network of underground shopping centres in Montreal. It's to help the locals deal with the huge variance in temperature, from -35C in Winter to 35C in Summer.

Eating out is ridiculously cheap here. Large, healthy, meaty meals can be had in restaurants for $10 before tax and tip. I have had crepes, McDonalds (oily tasting patties, not as good as the USA - but they have double Big Macs with 4 patties), omlettes for brunch, Vietnamese food, cooked my own food (i love that produce here tastes like real food), Ben & Jerry's ice-cream (like our New Zealand Ice-Cream parlours), bubble tea (they make fruit smoothies with the little black balls). I've drunk lots of red wine - red wine not good in supermarkets only from the SAQ. Supermarket wine seems to be shipped in bulk from all over the world and bottled in Quebec. Then 'dry red' or 'dry white' type labelling is used - generally yuk.

My plans for tomorrow, my last day in Montreal until I return for the Jazz Festival in 2 weeks is to shop and see more of the city by foot. I miss you all at home. I hope you all know that. I feel that it is important that I note, that I know my family understand my desire to travel, change, and perhaps to immigrate. I know that you trust me to make the right choices. For that, I am grateful with all my heart.

Posted by mlhooi 16:02 Archived in Canada Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

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