oh not really. wouldn’t that be the dreaded alternative we’re always reminded of on our birthdays? and how do i always end up starting blog posts with non-sequiturs?
oh dear. where i was going with that was, omg two posts in one month! be still my beating heart!
i’m in montreal right now, and i thought i’d write about it. the storm from hell has been raging all day, which means your correspondent was bedraggled and wet before the day even got started, and my resemblance to ‘something the cat dragged in’ got stronger and stronger all day. no one seemed to mind though.
i’m really impressed with this city. we’re staying in the gay village [village gai] in a ridiculously gay guesthouse. the guy who runs it looks like he’s a cross between an aging hipster dude and some guy from a 70s porno. hilarious. he smokes, so the place smells like smoke, which thankfully doesn’t really bother either M or me. there are big windows that look out over the street, and it’s right in the thick of things. ‘breakfast’ consists of coffee served on the proprietor’s countertop — i think he doesn’t do anything but run this place, and spends most of his time sitting in his living room watching tv. he asked me in to drink my coffee at his table this morning. i was worried it was/would be creepy, but actually we just talked about the city and what things are good. i’m surprised by how laid back this experience is.
then i set out into the city and walked the mile to downtown. in the pouring blowing rain. i KNOW i could have gotten on the metro which is literally 200 feet from the inn. I KNOW. but then i wouldn’t have gotten to see the streets, how the city fits together, the shops that are the same and different from the US. so, soaking wet, i finally ended up at the art museum, because i can never resist a good decorative arts gallery. i looked at some art and then sat in the museum cafe and drank coffee and had a brioche cannelle aux raisins, which is french for the BEST PASTRY EVER (actually, it’s french for ‘raisin-cinnamon bun’). the gift shop was also amazing. it kindled all my dormant materialist desires, and inspired me to go home and use my vast fibre arts training to make myself cute things to wear.
i step away from the sparkly accessories, remind myself that i can go shopping when i get a proper job, and move on to more art. i exhaust the museum and face the harsh reality that i a) have no dinner, b) have to get home through the hideous rain some how and c) if i go back to the inn at that moment i will feel like i wasted a whole day in montreal doing nothing. so i set off for the atwater market, which is a huge conglomeration of cheese shops, produce stands, butcher shops, and a massive patisserie to top it off. i drooled over everything (making lots of friends in the process) while selecting what i was having for dinner and conducted two out of four transactions entirely in french, which made me feel amazing. once upon a time i was on my way to having french as a real second language, but disuse has buried it into the deepest recesses of my brain. i’m in the awkward phase now where i figure out what they said several minutes after the transaction is over.
tonight M is stuck in a big conference dinner, which i am not totally clear on why i am not able to attend (isn’t that something that people do — they bring their spouses to conference dinners? or was that just my dad? i have a distinct memory of sitting in a hotel room in belgium at the tender age of 11 while my parents were at the big HP conference dinner. but whatever, it means i have time to write to you all), but afterward we are planning to stop by the women’s bar across the street from us. can you believe it? montreal has a gigantic women’s bar. wtf is wrong with boston??
oh yeah, to continue the food narrative…i bought some cheese, cider, and strawberries (all quebecois!) for my dinner. i also had a funny conversation with the produce guy about ground cherries — everyone was selling big buckets of them, and i finally asked what it was, and he laughed and gave me one to try. this was one of my all-french interactions, so i was really pleased. i liked it but i felt like it needed cooking so i got strawberries instead. but now that i’ve done a little more research, i’m tempted to get a big bucket of them on our way home & make a ground cherry pie!
another thing i’ve noticed is that older women are more stylish here than in most of the US. i walked into a store that looked (to my eye) like an upscale, hip boutique, and i realized as i was walking around loving the stuff they had for sale that all of the other clientele were well past 50. i passed a woman of about 60 on the street and couldn’t stop staring at her awesome studded leather jacket. she wasn’t an aging punk — she appeared to be a proper modish middle class lady. it’s just that her jacket was really cool. i feel like that’s largely unheard of in the US, at least in boston…
and so, dear readers, this comes to an end, because i think my bedraggled glamorousness needs to take a nap. i’m on vacation. and people who are on vacation get to nap, or so i’ve heard…