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Montreal for Spring Break - Transience Divine
March 29th, 2008
09:51 am

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Montreal for Spring Break
I'm back from traipsing around Montreal!

Half the people who said they'd be there chickened out. But Claudia and her S.O., Matt, were couchsurfing, so the three of us hung out with a neat variety of people. Most nights ended at a couchsurfer's, chatting, listening to good music, and smoking. Anything less than a purse full of pot is legal there, and if you don't want to go to the park for it, delivery guys will come to you with pockets of anything that might interest you. So, yeah, lots of smoking.

Canadians are incredible! Their liberal government is no chance; if the government is doing things wrong, they never just take it. They clog the phone lines with auto-dialers, slash officials' tires, put rats in the statehouse-- up to the limit that they won't hurt someone (I've never felt so safe in a big city). And in return, the police don't really investigate direct action crimes, and the government does no more than fine. A friend of mine made the mistake of calling their health care "socialized medicine". The response was proud: "Don't use the right-wing term! We have Universal Health Care. I pay my taxes so that no one will be denied the care they need." People in Montreal work 20-30 hours a week. If you work 40, they'll tell you you've got chill out or you'll miss out. And cafes that sell non-fair-trade coffee go out of business.

Montreal's shopping scene is pretty spectacular too. The streets are filled with unique little shops, with fantastic window displays, eclectic collections, and fun curators (if I can use that word). There was a sex shop and a head shop that actually had good clothing collections. The food, the neat buildings and architecture, the contemporary art museum, the endless cafes (including a couple art cafes), the live music, were all great-- but you should go see for yourself.

From the sounds of it, Montreal is the wildest place in the world, for about two months (mid -June through mid-August). You can't throw a stick without tripping over a festival. I suggest going then, but more than that, I suggest going! It's only 4-7 hours away (car vs. bus), and every corner is worth turning.

I had a fabulous time, despite missing out on most of the famed nightlife. Montreal's weekend is Thursday through Sunday. I arrived Sunday night, while the biggest rave in the Americas was romping behind hundred-dollar tickets (I didn't go). I left Thursday evening. Both ways, the bus was absolutely full, and I was one of the last people on (last person on, going)... but I didn't get advance tickets and it didn't matter.

No trip would be complete without personal realizations. First, that there's no way to beat couchsurfers for learning about a city. Montreal is an incredibly distinctive city, but I would have missed out on all the interesting parts (the people parts) if it weren't for them. Second, that economic forces dominate and devour the world, washing out Montreal's old city and once-distant suburbs alike. Fortunately, my Travelers' Network business has the potential to put an end to that, with various pareconic ideals. Last, that I'm an appalling snob, I think (I'm not sure-- do you think so?). I don't feel like one inside, but I think I act like one and just cover for it (to myself and others). I'm sorry, I'll work on it.

Basilica Notre-Dame

Place d'Armes

River with Dome

Mont Royal Park

Typical Montreal Street

The Whole City, Dark

Current Music: I hope you sing along and you steal a line

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From:dariusdraven
Date:March 30th, 2008 11:48 am (UTC)
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No strip club or casino visits?

Man, I miss the days when the dollar was still strong and the Expos existed...
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From:jrising
Date:March 30th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
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I almost went to a couple contact strip clubs, but we always had something else to do, and then it was time to leave. But I imagine strip clubs and casinos pretty similar wherever you go.

Yeah, we heard about how cheap Montreal is... and it wasn't horrible, but it definitely wasn't cheap.
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