Montreal, 2000

A group of people decided that they'd accompany one woman who was going to go up to Montreal to get a tattoo done, since there are no legal parlours in Mass. I'd been working hard and needed a vacation, so decided to join them there, leaving Saturday morning so I'd have the freedom to stay as late as necessary on Friday to get stuff done for demos on Monday. I ended up staying until 9:30 and not going to the anime night some friends were throwing, since I still had to pack and get to bed in an attempt to get 8 hours.

Aug 19

I woke up with my alarm at 6:30am, jumped online to get directions to the border from MapQuest, and threw things in the car by 7:30. At this point, I found out that the batteries were dead in my CD player, and the car connection jack wasn't working. I popped in a tape and headed out to get money then to find the highway. I was able to follow the directions up to highway 93 with no problems. I took that north to 89, and followed that up through Vermont, and then, just before the border, jumped off onto 78 to cross over to NYC over Lake Champlain to join up with 87 north which let me onto 15 which took me right into Montreal. No problems at the border, though I managed to confuse him by explaining that I'd been in the States four months, he'd assumed I was still a Canadian resident, I guess. The drive was nice, alternating sun and clouds, traffic not too bad. I had stopped for gas in New Hampshire since I knew that in Quebec gas was always more expensive. I had planned to arrive in Montreal by noon, but it was 12:30 when I crossed the border. I considered calling ahead to the hotel but realised that I had no Canadian change nor a calling card. At that point it only took me an hour to get to Montreal, but then I got caught in traffic on Pont Champlain since one lane was blocked off on it. I finally fought my way across on highway 10, was spit out onto University and made the wrong turn on de Maisonneuve Ouest. I eventually stopped when none of the street names looked familiar any more and asked for directions at a convenience store. They directed me up to Sherbrooke, and I was able to take that back to Parc and the hotel was just up a block towards Mont Royal.

I parked across the street and ran in to get in touch with people, but both Raul and Chris were not registered under those first names so I was getting mightily confused. Luckily, the desk clerk finally remembered that a message had been left for me, though not a key, and I found that Chris would be back at 2. It was 1:30 or so at that point, so I put my car in the garage and brought my stuff into the lobby to wait and wind down from the drive. Just as I was starting to debate with myself if I should give his cell phone a call or not, he walked in. No key was available for me then, so we just went upstairs to drop off my stuff in his, Hilary and Lee's room. I looked up a couple of addresses and we headed out to Mad Hatter's to eat. I had the BIG poutine, or at least had most of it, and Chris tackled the chicken poutine and the pitcher of Sangria. We discussed politics despite the weekend's vow to not discuss jobs or politics, sitting on the patio and dodging yellow jackets. By the time the pitcher was emptied and the non melted cheese curds picked out, it was getting time to meet people back at the hotel room for 5pm. We considered trying to find a few shops, but were good and went back to wait. And wait. Lee was there sleeping, but Hilary and the others had been out shopping and came back late. While dinner was being discussed, I ran out to the Provigo across the street, pounced on the Lady Grey tea they had, was disappointed by the lack of cider for sale, and came back with snacky foods to find everyone napping. I joined in the crashing out for an hour and then we started stirring to go out to dinner. French cuisine was decided upon and a resataurant close by was found by Liza and Raul (Gutenberg on President Kennedy). We met up with them and Whitney and Jason at the hotel bar, then started walking down the hill. Hilary decided to skip dinner and wait for us at the hotel. We were seated right away, the place looked empty, but over the course of the evening, people would appear from and disappear into the secret room in the back. Our waiter was great, giving a description of the chef going to the farm and picking out the rooster (hormone free) and then picking the pine needles to make the sauce for it. I was more intrigued by the description of the sesame covered salmon and didn't regret my choice. The bread was hot from the oven and the salad covered in a really good raspberry vinagrette. I had the blueberry tart for dessert and some earl grey tea as some of the others sipped their port. On the way out, we stopped to hear our waiter's story about coming to Boston to get over a broken heart, but picking a weekend when the tall ships were in and the only room he could get was a suite at the Hilton. He took it for one night and then charmed a woman into letting him stay with her for the rest of the week, taking her on a cruise in the harbour with a wonderful seafood buffet.

We rolled ourselves back up the hill, found Hilary recovered and ready to go out, and started the sprucing up process. Our room was ready quickly, so we went downstairs and gave our opinions on the rubber outfits bought that day by Jason and Whitney. They were well prepared when it started to rain on us as we were walking to Cybertek club. There we found that the advertising had been wrong, no EBM for us. I managed to convince people that we should try the Sphinx instead, and got people into cabs to go over to Stanley. It was 1am or so at this point, but FLA was playing as we were going in. I checked my coat and danced for a while, but found that dinner still needed a bit more time to digest, so I found a place to sit and watch the floor. The smoke got to be too much for me and I spent most of the walk back, after the lights went up and we shuffled out, coughing up bits of lungs. I got flat as soon as possible and took a shower to get rid of the smoke smell once I'd recovered a bit. We were all asleep by 4am.

Aug 20

I heard Lee get up and go out for coffee at 10am or so and began the waking up process. I was packed quickly and decided to go to the Provigo to get breakfast before checking out. Chris and Hilary were ready to go out at the same time so we all trekked over. They wanted coffee, so we hit the Second Cup, just missing Lee, but she came back to find us. We went back to the hotel room, they finished packing and we touched base with Raul for meeting in the lobby by 11:30am or so for check out. We managed to come up with a combination of cash and credit to pay for the room and then loaded up the cars and put them on the street in the free parking and took off to go shopping while the other room went off to Maharajah for brunch. We walked down to St. Catherine where we hit some raver stores and an army surplus store when I tried on cargo pants but bought the flight suit that fit me perfectly. I got a tank top at X20 too. We wandered up St. Dennis, stopped for crepes for dinner and paused at Le Chateau for Hilary to get a long coat and some boots. Jason scared me out of three years growth by grabbing my shoulder and imitating a security guard as I was standing talking with Chris, my back to the door, just having asked him what he was smiling about. I managed to get my group going again, and we hit Cruella and Diabolique on Mont Royal (the rubber spikey things were very cool, and Chris finally found something to buy). We wandered over to the park and watched the drummers and dancers for a while, then walked down Parc back to our cards. I tried to get more money transfered to my Canadian account but the bank machine was broken, so I rushed back and we started the convoy back to Boston.

We managed to get turned around in the one way streets, but we had a free detour through the old port, and eventually got onto 10. Chris pulled off onto 35 I think to get gas, but then we went straight to the border via 55. I just showed the guard my work visa and he waved me through. We stopped for a bathroom break and then went a couple of hours until they pulled off for food. We stopped in a tiny town in Vermont I think, at the Sunset Grill. It had an Erte poster in the entry way, art deco style posters in the dining room, and a ton of bikers in the bar. The food was good, and I had a wonderful cup of Mandarin Orange Spice tea. Hilary jumped in my car for the rest of the trip back to keep me awake. I led for a while when Chris started getting tired. We saw a shooting star as we were coming into Boston, it disintegrated in the atmosphere as it came to the end and sparkled a lot. The batteries I'd stopped and bought for my CD player gave out and we relied on tapes. I followed Chris to his house in Sommerville, traded Hilary for Lee and dropped her off then took Mass Ave all the way home, being careful to keep myself from nodding off. I did a quick unpacking and fell into bed at 1am.

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