Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

5 Bizarre Things About Montreal

Montreal night skyline. View from our hotel entrance.

A week before Halloween, Suz and I headed off to Montreal where I learned 5 totally strange things. And I had plenty of time for the shock to nestle deep into my brain while I wandered around downtown Montreal on my cane for a few days.

In all my travels, I have never seen anything quite like Montreal. The 2nd largest city in Canada is home to approximately 1.6 million mostly bi-lingual people, and was surprisingly warm and sunny during our late October stay.

While Suz was busy working, I was observing the beautiful architecture all around me.

Some areas of Montreal were pretty desolate due to the Underground City, a series of tunnels and a mall, which was constantly crowded. But far above the hustling, bustling French mole town, I snapped pictures of fabulous buildings, both old and new, much to the shock and/or disgust of many Montrealers.

Most people, in their normality, ignored me, or simply made a mental note of the handsome guy with the cane taking photos of les gargoyles on buildings. At number 5 on my list of Bizarre Things I Learned about Montreal, however, were the oddballs who scowled at me and my camera, trying to imagine the unprecedented levels of retardation I had somehow achieved by wanting to take pictures of buildings.

As I walked around I noticed the same phenomenon at every intersection. Number 4 is how both drivers and pedestrians alike ignore traffic signs and signals. Every 2.3 seconds a pedestrian walked into the busy roads without looking or caring. Speedy drivers blasted through crowds of people, and merely gave the friendliest little honk to warn of their approach. Without slowing down, they pass, inches away from giving the nearest funeral home more business. It was amazing to watch. In fact, I even captured a crew removing speed bumps, just so those Villneuve wanna-be's could drive even faster.

Look, it's a Le Church.I continued wandering around, admiring the architecture of both office buildings and churches. During my time on the streets I encountered lots of people. At number 3 are the beggars. What's unusual about these people is that they do not ask for money. Everyone, essentially, asked for either a cigarette or at the very least, 'a light.' Weird.

Exiting a Le Burger King, I encountered the only man who asked me for money. What offended me about this encounter was not that the 20-something guy rammed a Le Tim Horton's cup, literally, into my face, forcing me to jerk backwards. No. What bothered me so immensely was that this friendly fellow was better dressed than I was.

I like to observe. Okay, read into that what you want, but while observing people walking around Montreal, I noticed number 2; That everyone was extremely thin. Yes, Montreal, the city of skinny people. Quite seriously, I saw TWO slightly overweight people during my entire stay. Two.

And that might explain number 1. With everyone in the city walking, Montrealers must be extremely healthy. Being so fit, I assume they would take the stairs whenever possible. Which is why so many of them didn't know how an elevator worked.


It was actually funny watching the confused faces of people and hearing the gasps of horror escape their lips when the doors opened to reveal... wait for it... PEOPLE already on the elevator. It was less funny when these puzzled and perplexed groups attempted to force their way onto the same overfull elevator, while everyone on the elevator shoved their way past in order to get off. This happened to me at least twice a day, for four days straight.

But don't get me wrong based on silly observations. I loved Montreal, and would love to visit again. I was surprised at the friendliness, and how easy it was to get around. It is a very logical city, with beautiful, well-spaced buildings which allow light to brighten the seemingly darkest alleys.

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Blogger Grant said...

Were there many hot Asian women there? A lack would be a deal-breaker for me.

1:48:00 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

You know what I like about Canadians? There are so few of them. BUHAHAHAHA.

1.6 million would be a small town in our part of the world.

9:03:00 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Martini: Here's my 5 thoughts: I would keep the DMC 12 out of Montreal if they drive like that. I hear the Canadian taxes are very high. I've been off my cane for two months now and when I was on it, people still sped through crosswalks. I've always found Canada generally very clean. Last, if you make it to Vancouver and hear that Sarah McLachlan is single again, you will call me, right? :D) Be well, my friend!!!

9:48:00 AM

Blogger Monogram Queen said...

You had me at "gargoyles on the buildings"....

10:00:00 PM

Blogger Ellie Creek Ellis said...

NOT TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT BUT I SAW A DELOREAN DRIVING THROUGH TOWN TODAY! MY DAUGHTER ASKED ME WHAT IT WAS AND I TOLD HER AND REMINDED HER OF YOUR LOVE OF THEM! Is that cool, or what? Just thought you wanted to know. It's the first time I've ever seen one in real life! :o)

12:29:00 AM

Blogger Martini said...

Grant - Hmm. I guess we'll never see you in Montreal (unless there's a war there).

Sj - you're scaring me. (Did you know my wife comes from a small town of about 1,100 people?)

Michael - People often say Canada is clean, but the cleanliness of Montreal is almost unnatural. I noticed that too.

Your Highness - I got a couple gargoyle pics, but I was surprised at how few there were around the city.

Ms. Creek - that's awesome! I love to see people's excitement. Even I still get excited whenever I see someone else driving one. They're so low, they look strange among the other cars on the road, don't they?

12:01:00 PM

Blogger Velvet Ginger said...

Very interesting observations you had there. I too like to visit cities but would not like to live in one, I am too much of a country girl. Did I miss something> Why do you have to walk with a cane?
I have a regular customer at the shop who drives a Delorean, he bought it new years ago!(strange folks...those people that drive those!)

8:29:00 AM

Blogger Miss.Adventure said...

I'm glad you enjoyed my home city!!

3:25:00 PM

Blogger Jay said...

Ya gotta love Montreal.

9:16:00 PM


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