Montreal, 2013

I'd run out of vacation days so I couldn't go up to Montreal when my friends were heading up for the Fantasia movie festival, so I rented a car to make the trip myself without missing work.

Movie reviews here, which formed the bulk of the weekend, so this is pretty slim.

Friday July 26, 2013

I picked up the car from the Hertz location between Union and Porter in the morning, and somehow it made sense to drive it to work and leave from there,probably because they weren't able to come pick me up and it took longer than expected to walk over (I usually ride my folding bike over then stick it in the trunk, but it was under a parts recall and unrideable). I remember paying a bit more for all day parking ($15 to 6pm) than usual, or else the price went up from previous years when we'd do this trip starting from work, or because we'd leave earlier in the afternoon it was only $10 - it's pretty sketchy, the gas station across from my office closes down and lets people park there for Red Sox games, and also sells parking spaces during non game days. I like it because I can see the car from my office window, though this time they had me park way off to the left.

I left just after 6pm and the start of the drive was rough: rain, accidents, and traffic all slowed me down. By the time I hit the NH liquor store, I was ready for a bathroom stop, and I grabbed a very messy apple turnover for a snack. While I was trying not to spill apple filling all over myself, I admired the bright rainbow I could see from the parking area, a nice reward after the rain storm. I continued heading north and realised that the car was running low on gas - I'm not a fan of the rental agencies giving out cars less than full and expecting you to return it at the same fuel level. I pulled off the highway at one point and couldn't find an open gas station - note to self, look for the 24H marking under the "gas at this exit" signs. I did see a lovely shooting star at one point though. Finally found something open in St. Johnsbury. I tried to send a text message to Justin to update him on my progress, but had zero signal. After topping up the tank, I stopped in at a Price Chopper to get some food as I really hadn't had supper. I grabbed a peach, a chai smoothie, and a big pile of grapes. Despite driving a rental car and them spotting it at the border crossing point, they let me through with no delay (think I passed them my Nexus card along with my passport as well, and probably my green card to prove I could get back into the States). I was getting tired, but it was a fast trip up 55 to 10 and into downtown Montreal. I found a temporary parking spot across from the hotel and got a room key from Justin. I think he came with me to move the car to a free parking spot on St Antoine near Lucien Allier (I've been happy and possibly lucky to be able to leave cars there during trips to Montreal, no meters or lots necessary). We walked back toward the hotel and stopped for a slice of pizza from a tiny little hole in the wall near Ste Catherine. It was after 1am, I voted for sleep over trying to hit up the Darkwave night where Tony was spinning, and I'd already missed the starting time for the midnight movie anyway (and couldn't get tickets at that point anyway - I'd pre-purchased tickets with the intent of picking them up Saturday morning when the box office opened). The hotel was nice, a Novotel (fond memories from Glasgow), and conveniently located for Concordia. Pity that we were seeing so few movies there, the festival had moved mostly back to the Imperial theatre on Bleury, announcing it after hotel reservations were made. :-(

Saturday July 27, 2013

The hotel room didn't come with breakfast, I think we hit up one of the Ruben's locations on Ste Catherine for food. From there it was a short walk to the Imperial theatre where they were able to print out all of my movie tickets. Justin and I started off the weekend of movies with "Afterschool Midnighters", a crazy Japanese animated movie. After that I'd made plans to have brunch just up the street with my aunt and uncle (the non surprise meeting up after the surprise of Monica's birthday party in BC). The restaurant I'd picked ended up being closed, so we walked a bit until we found another place serving breakfast foods. It was good to catch up with them and hear about the rest of their road trip after I'd last seen them in Osoyoos.

After seeing them off at a Metro station to head back to Laval, I went back to the Imperial to find people for Bushido Man. More of the Boston crew were ticketed for this movie, I think we found most everyone. After that, it was off to the tiny Quebec/French movie specific theatre to see Taloches. It was a longer walk than I'd expected, I really didn't plan out the logistics very well for this trip, assuming that all the theatres were in the same location as last year. They started a bit late, I think we ended up leaving before the last short film in the program to head back to the Imperial so that we could find people for Commando. We must have grabbed some food really quickly, as there was about an hour before heading back to the Imperial again for The Demon's Rook, our midnight movie. I should know what to expect by now of Fantasia midnight movies, next year I'm bringing a flask. :-) I'm always on my last dregs of energy if I manage to see a midnight movie, so it was straight back to the hotel afterward.

Sunday July 28, 2013

We packed up and Justin decided to head back to Ottawa, so I walked my stuff down to my car (warm day, I was happy for any shade I passed through) then walked back to the Imperial to catch the Boston crew for The Lady Assassin, I think stopping for breakfast along the way, as the film didn't start until 12:30 or so. I think I walked back to the car to check on something, I remember rushing to get back to the Imperial in time for Far East Fragments, my last movie, with Tony and Juliette. They were staying for more movie goodness (sad to miss The Company Man, but I wanted to get on the road early enough that I wouldn't be dragging or delirious by the time I made it home.

I hit up Timmies for tea, and stopped in at the Pharmaprix for the shampoo I like (can't bring it across the border when I'm flying only carry on as the bottle is > 3oz *sigh*), as well as treating myself to some bath products at Lush. The car was still there, and soon I was hitting the road again, south bound for home. I stopped in at the duty free to offload the tea, and while browsing found a bottle of Bombay Sapphire East that I couldn't resist. I also scarfed down half a sub sandwich in the parking lot, yay road food. There was a line to get past the border, but they opened a second lane and things sped up a bit. It was a foggy drive, just a bit creepy all on my own as the light started to go. The gas tank low light came on at White River Junction and somehow after getting gas, I got mixed up and ended up continuing on 91 instead of taking 89 over to 93 and into Boston. I got cocky, I'd made the drive so many times before, I should have remembered that I *always* mix up 91/93/95, the north/south highways around here. When I finally realised my mistake and pulled over to check my phone's map, I was already in Massachusetts but far enough away from I90 that it seemed to make sense to take highway 2 over. It was shorter, but slower, as it's a small local road for most of the way into Boston, and there were speed traps all over it, yay Sunday night. I think I saw a coyote slinking off into the foggy woods at one point. By the time I made it home, at least two hours later than planned, I was ready to fall over. I returned the rental car in the morning and was able to get a ride back to my place, where I suited up to ride my bike to work, happy to be back on two wheels. I think they gave me a discount coupon as well, since the car defroster/rear window defogger wasn't working all that well on the drive home.

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