Autumn in Montreal. The sound was music to my soul. I knew that hook or crook, I would move heaven and earth to return in September.
And I did. This trip would be different from the last visit. The cool temps and sweater weather made me start packing a week early.
The fact that Hurricane Florence was bearing down on the East coast was not lost on me. I watched the weather reports anxiously checking and rechecking the weather in Montreal that week.
Finally, departure day and Florence had moved on…barely touching the Virginia coast. My thoughts are already in Montreal as I head to Amtrak for the first leg of my journey.
The best part turns out to be the Acela fast speed train that I have not ridden before. It is a beautifully shaped train, sleek and modern, arriving from DC to the big Apple in record time.
Montreal is a cool 65 degrees when I disembark. I immediately notice the Rock n Roll Marathon signs as I approach the hotel. Although I had a list of things to do leading up to my born day, I added this event to the top of the list pleased that I had arrived at the start of this fun filled Marathon weekend.
My hotel as it turned out, was located a few blocks from the Marathon site. And I was able to enjoy the free concerts, free health screening, free massages, free healthy treats….that came along with the Marathon.
The trip will forever be known as the “Walking Week”. I was somewhat familiar with the area as it also was the site for the jazz festival. What I didn’t know was I was very close to Chinatown, Old Montreal and The Port.
Even though at times I felt I was walking in a big circle, the pleasant weather, inviting shops, exquisite food smells plus the music from the Rock n roll bands made my days in Montreal enjoyable.
I knew when I looked at the caller ID. Before I even hit the decline button. I didn’t want to hear those ugly words come out of anyone’s mouth.
Of course there was a message …We got the report back today… You need to call. I hit the delete message.
Voicemail/caller ID/merge calls…all this technology designed to enhance phone communication sometimes works at cross purposes with Humans.
I think about how to dismantle this feature.
I pour some wine. Cut a pain pill in half. My jaw is still aching from the abscessed tooth. And promptly fall into a dreamless sleep.
The next day I call. No answer. I leave a message on the voicemail that no one ever listens too.
I continue with my day. Busying myself with all kinds of move related tasks. Dropping off clothes at a Baptist church clothes bank… someone will be happy with these cute dresses with tags still on them, shoes worn once still in the box, purses just like they came from the store paper wadded inside.
I think they call it a shopping addiction. I call it retail therapy. It seems to fill some void I have had this summer. But my new life cannot handle all this excess so I happily give it to the church.
Next stop Salvation army. Men just waking file out the door. One directs me to the office. The smell of urine and maleness is strong in the dimly lit hallway. The worker who welcomes me is genuinely happy to see me. I load her arms with comforters, pillows and almost new sheets. She thanks me warmly. I leave.
On to the hip upscale trendy part of town. Ironically, only a few blocks away from the seedy army of salvation. The owner of the upscale consignment shop greets me cheerfully. We have talked and she is anxious to see my wares…The mid century Swedish folding rope chairs I bought 20 years ago. They are worth $800 each. I have 4. They are in excellent condition. How much do I want for them. She is excited to have such a find in her little shop. She can see the dollar signs. Where do I sign. I just want to sell them and move on. They are a reminder of a time when monetarily my life was good but otherwise bad.
The phone rings. The caller ID flashes their name. It is their legal name. Not the familiar one. Too emotion engendering. I take a long deep breath.
I watch the squealing ancient coal cars scream past my car. I wonder what it would be like to disappear among those fast moving cars now. To be taken away from the insistent ring of this cell phone. Whisked away in a snarling, screeching mess of iron and steel. Destination unknown.
Reader, or soon to be Traveler to Montreal, of all the things I loved about our Neighbor to the North, the people literally ran away with my Heart. Warm, Smiling, Vivacious, Joyous, Happy, Delighted, Merry…they were all that anda bag of chips…(slang for Fantastic).
Standing on a street corner…la rue.. looking at the signs..le metro, la bouche de metro, l’arret de bus… trying to decide if I’m going left/right/ Sideways…oh no, that’s a movie…Pardon, Miss do you need directions?
Checking into the Residence Inn, tired, sweaty, in need of food/shower/a bed… after an unexpected 12 hour bumpy what-happened-to-the-Express Amtrak train ride...
Oh Miss Linda do not worry, Everything is ready for you…your requested lower floor room, one key or two, do you have bags, Ah you are traveling light. Would you like a bottle of cool water. And Welcome to.. .L’hotel de Marriott!
H&M, Simon, Aveeda, Ecco, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Everything for 9.99 and More…High end and low retail grace the streets of Downtown Montreal…like a virtual shopper’s Paradise. Let the Retail Therapy Begin!
Saleswomen/ men greet you first with a smile and cheerful Bonjour. And if they see the dreaded stranger-in-strange land look, the greeting instantly turns into Hello! How can I help you? Language crisis averted.
Pretty, thin, polymer yellowish green CAD$ in Hand... Wait, You mean if I give you $100 US dollars, you will give me $125 Canadian dollars back.Where do I sign? And don’t worry plastic users Visa/ Mastercard/AMEX wherever you see the Plus sign are accepted in Canada too.
Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?… petite dejeuner, No problem….Interwoven into Downtown Montreal are numerous restaurants many with beautiful flower decked outdoor cafes, offering a veritable smorsgabord of food from around the world and their own hometown specialties…
All Foodies know, the best food is where the locals go. In search of lunch on my second day, I heard the roar of the crowd literally coming from a small nondescript building. When I peered inside I saw the quaint tiny restaurant was packed to the gills with Citizens/Visitors all gazing at the overhead screen cheering on their favorite World Cup team.
Bingo! I was seated at a small table next to a larger one that seemed to be occupied by an entire family. Their bowls of soupe and chicken salade sat untouched as they gazed reverently, intently at the players on the screen.
One night after a heady jazz filled, dancing-at-the front-of the-stage kinda night, I took the 5 minute Metro ride back to my hotel. It was close to midnight, and the cool night air beckoned me to linger outside and enjoy more of Montreal. I passed by an outdoor café near the hotel.
The menu was intriguing but I was in search of a glass of wine to top off my evening. When I sat at one of the very French curbside tables, a neatly dressed server immediately appeared and greeted me with a tall glass of perfectly chilled clear water. When I asked about the wine list, she said there was none but what wine did I want. Rose, I replied. Glass or bottle? she smiled. I smiled back…. A glass or two. She returned with a goblet filled with a generous pour of the most heavenly rose.
By day 3, I was convinced Le Gouvernement had issued an edict to all Montreal Citizens to be extra friendly, kind, helpful, courteous, cordial to any guest who was visiting their beautiful province. But NO such edict had been issued. It is just their natural, humanity conscious way… our neighbors to the North. People matter. All People.
Immigrants: Haitians, Africans, Asians, Latinos, Middle Easterners, and more… all co exist peacefully and happily. Eyad, a smiling taxi driver from Pakistan who took me on my final ride through the streets of Montreal said he and his family absolutely loved living there. And, of course, they missed their original home, but Montreal is were they want to be.
The LGBT community proudly displays its rainbow flag at the entrance to their community. Confused by this at first (me and a handful of liberal passengers looked questioningly…What?Are They on display.. When the double decker tour bus driver quickly announced Le Village Gai was a renowned place. And that Montreal is one of the few cities in the world to thoroughly embrace their LGBT communities. Smiles. Sighs. Nodding heads…Click click of cameras followed. Rebellion Against the MAn averted.
I will leave you with a few more pictures of the People of Montreal. Please enjoy them as I have. And don’t forget the most picturesque Fall leaves can be seen on the roads leading to Montreal. Who knows I may see you there…September borne.
Love and Light. Merci Beaucoup. And as Always, Please feel free to Comment/Share and Follow… My Blog
Bonjour Mes Ami! (French spell check app not working)
As some of you astute, eagle eyed Readers discovered, my July adventure found me in none other than the Exquisite Jewel of a Neighbor north of us Montreal, Canada!
My raison d’etre or reason for traveling in the heat wave of 2018 to this glorious, heaven on earth, 6 hours from NY, respite from twitterization of the US government ( did I say that…please don’t detain me at the Border …. City can be summed up in one word :JAZZ!
However, Little did this starry eyed music seeking, Foodie searching, Adventurer know that she would discover some of the world’s finest jazz and so, so much more!
Five days was hardly enough time to capture the richness and beautifulness (not a word) of this gentle, world class, forward thinking/acting home to champions of all men/women!
Lest, I start sounding like a commercial, I will let the pictures and a few words tell this Tale.
Set your pilot on automatic ( btw Flyboy, Welcome Home And Thank You for Your Service!) and Readers enjoy the ride.
As always, feel free to comment/share/ click follow/ send cash…hell iola, I’m broke now!
(Note: This post will continue over a few weeks of the summer until I have posted all the 💯 reasons. My use of The French language is gratuitous and in no way reflects on the years of study at Jacox Jr High; Maury High, Los Angeles City College and Big Blue ODU.
Dang, all that and she still can’t hold a conversation beyond bonjour, merci, Bien, Bon! Mais oui, Voulez vous…What Patti LaBelle sang…
Reader, I know you are probably growing weary of these teasers. Here are some visuals that hopefully will keep you entertained until I am back at my Computer.
Day 3….Hmm is that a French pastry and espresso….from a foreign land or right down the street? And what does that dress say…au revoir…translation app, please… Lawdy,What is she up to this time?
Stay tuned Summer Adventure Blog is a mere 5 days away. In the meantime enjoy your illegal fireworks!
Liberal Lin is on the move seeking yet another Adventure…a girlfriends’ trip to a foreign land? Backpacking through the mountains? Frolicking on a white sandy beach? Cruising on an Italian yacht? Stay tuned…and as always thanks for the Journey! Happy born day Cancers!
Packing for a girl’s trip. No, not inspired by the movie last year. We enlightened- girls-just- wanna- have- fun Boomers have been taking these trips for years. Just haven’t had the connections to turn it into a million dollar movie… Gurl, don’t hate …participate.
The trip is 2 months out so packing actually means sticking mini post it tabs ( meant for readers of books) on the hangers of clothes I plan to take. This way I can periodically check the inventory and delete or add as the big day nears. Thus, ensuring that my I only travel with one carryon bag motto is enforced. I don’t know if I read about this in one of those Boomer how to simplify your life AARP articles (as if being a Boomer could be anything other than simple…is that a conundrum?) or if I dreamed about it. But so far it seems to be working. If the weather changes or my itinerary improves….Did that automated message from Amtrak say that there have been schedule changes for your trip…
This post is Really about what to do when you are living Single and want to avoid some of the pitfalls Big Brother/Society/The Man/World/ place in your path.
First, do not ever buy clothes that fasten with a hook and eye. Those of you who sew will recognize this term. Its from back in the day and has made it way onto the 2018 runway. For the uniformed, I have posted a picture below. No matter how cute, how discounted, how many times it beckons to you from the H&M hanger. Do not, I, repeat, take it home. Remember that perky salesperson will not be waiting in Your closet to help you button the damn thing up. Face it, there are just some clothes a single person can’t wear…and this is one of them.
Next, read a book or watch a video on how to perform self Heimlich maneuver. Try it out beforehand on several sturdy door frames preferably near the kitchen. This is important because when you are scarfing down those yummy cheesy grits in the insomniac hour and start to gag, you will need to have this procedure for saving Your life down pact. Trust me, that’s why I’m Still Here. Forget about falling in the bathtub…those silver guard rails will protect you from that. But choking on your carefully prepared cuisine… well, check the morgue.
Lastly, invest in a good aluminum baseball bat. Or maybe its titanium. One of those man made metals that replaced the good ol’ fashioned wooden bat. These can be found in any sports department and next to pepper spray (requires you to get too close to the intruder/and to periodically check the expiration date…did that say 2011…) Wasp spray, (effective but a little unwieldly and may be empty if you are a patio lover), are a Single person’s best friend. That chi chi little Shiz Tsu, can only bark and rarely bites. So this bat will make the intruder think you auditioned for the movie Breaking In…shout out to Being Mary Jane.
Now where did I put that inflatable man…oops pillow?