Montreal, 2004

When we went up to Montreal to see Kraftwerk play, we enjoyed the trip and the bnb, Le Petit Prince, we stayed in so much that we reserved another weekend as we were leaving. We picked a weekend on which the FantAsia festival would be showing movies, and grabbed some tickets online before heading up.

Fri Jul 30

I ended up working from home, as the commute would have eaten too much into work time with our projected departure time set for 1pm. Unfortunately, Cris got caught up with work, and an unexpected coolant leak discovered when the dealership was rotating and aligning his tires. We ended up hitting the road at 3pm, and it took ages to clear Boston metro. The highways were all backed up due to a big accident on 93, no matter which way we twisted and turned we kept hitting back ups. We finally escaped via route 3 and 293. We stopped at a grocery store in NH and picked up snacks and drinks, and then I did most of the driving through Vermont, of course right when the road work popped up and the grooved road surfaces appeared to add even more fun to the trip. 18 miles later and my arms were sore from all the vibrations. We skipped stopping in Burlington, but then hit a half hour back up at the border crossing point. For once, the correct line was chosen, and we made it through more quickly than the other lines. They glanced at our passports and waved us through, and an hour later we were in Montreal, pulling up in front of our bnb at around 9pm. I'd tried to call ahead and say we were going to be late due to traffic, but my cell wasn't cooperating.

We settled into the Ivory room - it's a bit smaller than the Blue room on the same floor, but at least it still had the huge spa tub and a freestanding fire stove thingy (think it was gas). The bed canopy is really neat, reminiscent of a pagoda style roof. We dropped off our stuff, had a cup of tea and a cappuccino served to us, and then headed out to track down food and hit our first movie. We ended up at Tim Horton's for a sandwich (him) and soup (me). I was dragging along a change of clothes as it was raining on and off, and I'd neglected to actually go down to the basement and grab my rain coat before leaving home. It got *really* heavy as we were leaving, but we were a block from Concordia and were able to make it w/o too much dampness. Our BNB was maybe three blocks from the two theatres that the movie festival was taking over, very convenient, though we ended up doing a lot more driving around the city due to time constraints this time. The movie was starting late, so we lined up outside for a while, thankfully under the overhang, and watched the rain come down. Finally, we filed in with a small audience to see Saving Private Tootsie (imdb).

It was a neat film, a bit rough in spots, but thought provoking none the less. It was neat to see the Thai take on gay and transgendered people (oh so homophobic, not sure I believe the reconciliations that were portrayed). The love story was contrived, the Japanese airline employee was wonderfully frustrated at not knowing what was going on, and the conflicts that some of the characters worked through were believable. There were some perfect scenes, though the fart jokes do detract from the memory. Take home lesson: always have a pair of boots with you for tromping around in jungles when your plane goes down, heels just don't cut it.

The rain had mostly let up by the time we left, so we had a nice walk back to the BNB. Since we only had the room for the one night due to a booking error, the hot tub was abused with Lush products. :) Asleep around 2am.

Sat Jul 31

We got up at 9 for our breakfast: waffles with fresh fruit, tea and cappuccino (you apparently can't get regular coffee except by ordering an Americano), scones, fresh orange juice. Then began the odyssey to find the Ikea in Saint Laurent. Cavendish, as it turns out, stops at the railroad tracks and then resumes just shy of the highway. Unfortunately, I'd missed this fact and not brought the store provided directions with me, and we ended up doing a few circles around a subdivision that was well isolated from the rest of the city. We finally made our way out, onto the right highway, and then breezed past our exit, which was obfuscated by construction. Circled back around and finally made our way into the parking lot, just in time for the rain to start again. I'd borrowed an umbrella from the bnb, but Cris let me off by the entrance any way. We short- cutted our way over to the bedroom area and found Cris's dresser. Then we had to navigate the checkout line and the pick up line and then get the boxes into the car, in pouring rain, of course. It was fairly crowded, but not as bad as the one time I went to the Toronto one.

We had to move to the room in the basement after 1pm, as they'd double booked our room and not noticed it until I emailed for a confirmation on Thursday. This one will become the Red room, it's not fully finished (no bathroom), so we had European style shared facilities. Not ideal, but the city was pretty full (for Pride weekend, we found out on Sunday after stumbling across the parade) and they weren't going to charge us for it. The bed was comfy, and we were the first ones to sleep on it.

We were getting short on time, so we parked the car near the theatre after grabbing gas. I dropped into Concordia to exchange the tickets for Porco Rosso at 1pm on Sunday (apparently the Saturday show sold out and I didn't notice until I'd clicked confirm that the tickets I was buying were for the Sunday show, when we'd be on the road home) for the Quebec DIY session at 2:45 that afternoon. $1 exchange on each ticket and we were all set. Then we walked down Crescent and grabbed lunch at Mad Hatters. Only one table was occupied, we had pretty quick service and my veggie burger was quite good. Fed the meter by the car again and joined the line in the other theatre's lobby area. We finally snaked in and then had an intro in French to the Quebec DIY films.

I was able to follow most everything but the colloqialisms in the non subtitled films, and at least in Jack Hunter contra la machine infernale they were speaking clearly most of the time. That one rocked, rife with homages to the Beastie Boys, The Matrix, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Chow Yun Fat's two fisted gun firing action, Jackie Chan's insane stunts, every martial arts movie ever made, and more. Beavra was uber low budget classic Canadian camp, and Killer Cup 2 was awesome: littering + sex = murderous styrofoam cups sprouting teeth and laying ambushes so they can feast on the bodies of the living. I couldn't follow most of the dialogue, but I think it was mostly swearing, and wasn't really necessary. Kate's New Job and Zombie Business were neat takes on working life and how the monsters lurk nearby. :) There was a stop motion piece done with a live actor, and a silent medidation on the fisher price teleporter, a ghost/zombie story, and a cliche'd vampire love story. Ouest Turn was quite funny, about trying to exchange a pack of cards and going through the wrong door into a western standoff staredown.

It was a long session, over two hours, so we decided to walk around a bit and do some shopping before our next film at 7:30. We drove up to Sherbrook and St. Laurent, Atom Heart was closed, so was the bike shop - everything shut down at 5, and it was just past. :/ We popped into the tea shop, but there weren't any tables free, so we just headed back to the BNB to drop off the car. Tony and Rachel found us in line, and we sat with them for Enter ... Zombie King. It was awesome: masked Mexican wrestlers, ass kicking chicks, zombies, fast cars, lots of wrestling, and over the top dialogue straight out of a comic book. I wish we could have caught more of the festival, but the ones we did see made it feel like we made an effort, at least, and I enjoyed them all.

By the time the movie let out (it started late, big surprise), we were famished and had a hard time deciding what we wanted to do. Casa Del Popolo was having a band, and would be too loud. We ended up driving over to Ste. Catherine and University and having dinner at Cafe Etranger (I'd eaten there a few times during C8). Below street level, pretty quiet, though the big screen tv was distracting. The chai tea latte was wonderful, as ever. The food was good, and it kick started our brains again. I pulled out the map and navigated us around the club kids taking over St. Laurent, and we easily made it to St. Viatur bakery and came out with a bag of 3 dozen bagels. Mmm, Montreal bagels. By this time we were worn out, and decided to head back to the bnb instead of to the triplet's bbq - it would have overwhelmed me. Asleep around 1am.

Sun Aug 1

Packed up before heading up for breakfast. J. wasn't there this morning, it was a french woman. Both of them looked really different out of the white coat and chef's hat, J. has shaggy hair and a penchant for Ramones t-shirts. Saw lots of Ramones gear the whole weekend, actually, lots of goths and rockers were at the films, along with your standard geeks. In any case, a spinach (me) and ham (Cris) omlette later, and more cappuccino for poor Cris, and more tea, croissants, fresh OJ, and a bagel and we were set for the day. We tried to use the atm in the Metro stop by the hotel to get out chash for the room (no tax that way, plus they were giving us the mid week rate instead of the weekend rate for the first night), but after going down into the bowels of the earth, it was out of cash. We ended up walking up to Ste. Catherine and popping into the Pharmaprix for allergy meds and cereal, then hitting a TD machine. Back to the bnb, handed over the cash, and then repacked the car - the dresser boxes were taking up a fair amount of space.

Traffic was a bit heavy over the Champlain bridge, and again at the border (half hour wait), but we were eventually waved through though Cris got a bit of a grilling. We'd stopped at a farm stand on the road to the border and picked up 13 ears of corn, but luckily those and the bagels weren't prohibited by the USA. Cris was able to get the GST back on the dresser as well, though they had to go out and see it before they'd process it. I drove after the construction in Vermont (even thoug there was only about a mile of grooved pavement, as they'd resurfaced most of the south bound lanes) until we were close to the tolls in NH, and my headache as about to make me puke. Sitting too close to the screen on Saturday afternoon had given me a neck ache and the tension built into a spasm and a blinding headache as Sunday wore on. We made it to Arlington for game at around 5:30, played through to about 9, with some inter party conflict to wrap up the session and then headed home finally. Cris got ambitious and started to put together his dresser, I helped a bit until the ibuprofen wore off and I collapsed into bed to try and sleep it off. My bed rocks, I woke up fine on Monday.

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