Okay, I’ve been putting this off for too long and things have gotten vague already. I should have kept better notes… but then, that’s what photographs are for. Of course, photographs don’t actually say a thousand words, they’re just worth that much on the currency market… thus if I have a picture and a thousand words, I’m a rich, rich man. Or someting.
A big part of our experience in Montreal was enjoying each other’s company for hours and hours and hours on end. The fact that we didn’t really grate on each other’s nerves at all (for the most part) was one of the most amazing things about the trip. The fact that we’re all comfortable enough to act like jackasses in public and amuse ourselves certainly helps. We had a lot of recurring jokes that would constantly make us giggle. One of them was this poor woman’s last name.
I know it’s not actually pronounced the way it looks, but “Male Parts” cropped up in our conversations more often than we’d care to admit, often as a left-field punchline. I quess the province was going through an election the week we were there, and so campaign posters were everywhere.
Quebec campaigns, primarily because of sovereignty issues, seem much more… heated or threatening than Ontario elections. Here, we know no matter who we elect, something is going to get screwed up. There, it’s like “do I want them to screw things up? Yes or no….”
Anyway, we passed by this modern art gallery one evening and there was this statue of a feminine dancer, but, guess what… MALEPARTS! In your face!
And because we’re juvenile fucking goofs, we kept giggling all week when we’d pass by the “Couche-Tard”. Hell, I still giggle about it now. It has such a better ring to it than “Macs”. It’s more fun to say at least *giggle*.
The Couche-Tards all had these oddball slushie drinks that they proudly promoted… like the Cheddar Tropical
It was actually an incredibly saccharine mango-lime type flavour… which Metro didn’t like so much…
I mean, I should have expected that it actually wouldn’t taste like cheese… but I was kind of hoping, as much as I was disgusted by the thought. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t nearly as wince-inducing detestable as Mr. Over-emoter there would have you believe. The poster adverts for the drink featured shaved mice on surfboards… mmmkay.
One of the other Couche-Tard slushie flavours was RoseBeef, which I imagine is about as close to a true Meatshake as we’ll get.
One of our favourite gags involved Toast’s demonstration of Montreal-style lap dancing. The hilarous effect isn’t really reproducable in words, but suddenly “Grindy grindy grindy grindy” became our infectious catchphrase (which to us is as great, if not better than any Seinfeld, South Park, Simpsons or Family Guy reference… not sure if it trumps our many Gir from Invader Zim punctuations [TAQUITOS!] though). “Grindy grindy grindy grindy” also became shorthand for the boys to communicate when one of the city’s plentiful attractive ladies passed by.
This brings up another observation of mine though… Montreal is a stylish town. The ladies generally look better there than they do in Toronto, mainly because it seems almost uniform in how fashionable everyone it. Unlike T.O., Montreal doesn’t seem to have as many prevailing and opposing scenes. While here we have the indies, the artsies, the hipsters, the goths, the metal head (”bangers”), the drunks, the homeless, the 905ers, the sporty, the outdoorsy (MEC shoppers), the preppy, the prissy, the businessmen and the casual, for the most part there everyone seemed to be sticking with the same style, which here would be primarily Yorkville crowd.
Here I wouldn’t even blink twice if I saw an early-90’s grunge dude pass by (it’s apparently Retro already, sigh), but in Montreal, a dude in a Che Guevara cap adorned with a sequence of safety pins stands out. Facial piercings were around, but they were moderate, so I didn’t see many of the, what we like to call, freaks of the industry… dudes and chicks with more metal in their face than in their change purse with big spacers in their ears. It just seems like people in Montreal don’t really step outside unless they’re made up. Not a lot of the jogging pants ‘n’ curlers crowd around there.
All this doesn’t make Montreal people better people, if anything the homogeny could be undesireable, but they are immediately more attractive to look at, because that’s what fashion is for afterall. Grindy grindy grindy grindy.
It’s not too beautiful enough
As the people were beautiful (well, the women at least… the guys were a mixed bag of ass and snappyness), so too was the city. New Yorkers always comment about how clean Toronto is compared to their hometown, well, equally Montreal is that much cleaner compared to my city. Perhaps it’s the fact that there’s not a lot of clutter on the sidewalk… there are no street vendors, no hotdog merchants… just pedestrians and the occasional construction barrier (a lot of construction going on there).
While Montreal may not have as much trash on its streets, at least we don’t have Raelians…
Montreal’s architecture is much more old-world. They’ve taken great pains and pride to keep the city’s historical flavour and it shows. The old buildings that are there are amazing, and the new buildings that are built tend to recede into their environment so as not to stand out too much.
But occasionally there are some new builds which just pop, and yet still fit the city, like the vibrantly multi-coloured Palais des congras de Montreal
It looks gorgeous at night, all lit up. Toronto on the other hand is just an architectural Frankenstein. It seems new builds here are meant to stand out, and they compete in how much they stand out making for a gaudy landscape. The new renovations to the ROM’s exterior are, well, nasty. You could just put a big poster of Paris Hilton out front and achieve the same effect. Crystals my ass, we’re not on Krypton. Toronto just tries too hard to be something interesting without uniformly accepting what that interesting is supposed to be or look like. Just like fashion, everyone’s trying to break out as individuals, to stand out as unique, and it’s one of the reasons I love living here. But Young & Sexy are right… the city I live in is ugly, at least compared to Montreal.
Someone likened Montreal to Boston, in terms of it’s architectural heritage. It makes me want to see Boston. Of course, I hear Boston has shit roads as well (Montreal and Quebec’s road infrastructure is in horrendous shape)
Day 3 Eats
Olive + Gourmando was literally spitting (for a champion spitter at least) distance from the hostel and was easily one of the best reasons to wake up in the morning (corn muffins with blueberries and raspberries…yes please!). Lunch was damn good too (I had a Mr. Salami sandwich and an oatmeal cookie).
A couple different salamis, goats cheese, a garlic chipotle and tomato. Yum
There was only one place I was told I *HAD* to go in Montreal to eat, and that was Schwartz’s famous Montreal Smoked Meat deli.
Schwartz’s has a reputation, and it’s reputation doesn’t live up to the actual experience. I’ve never had meat that tasted like butter before… it was insane how good this was (with a pickle on the side for $1.75)
Of course, you have to have a Black Cherry Cott with it.
After a lot more walking, we went for a heavy snack of fries and/or poutine at Frite Alors
Fries with garlic mayonnaise. Good, but I didn’t like how stubby the fries were.
Metro had special poutine
More food, Mount Royal, flowers and butterflies.