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 and a bag of chips…(African American 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? 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 camera 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