Monday morning, I was awake early early and ready to get out of Québec City! (No offense, Québec, I truly loved you!)
Honestly I was excited to have people to hang out with again. I was getting lonely and homesick and angsty.
I ran to the Tim Hortins across the highway before heading to the bus stop, and grabbed myself a tea and a doughnut for the ride. Then I trotted the long 10-15 minutes uphill along the highway to the Orleans bus stop.
This ride seemed a lot longer than the first, but before I knew it I was back in ye old Montréal. Everything went downhill from there. First, I found out as my luggage was being unloaded that it had a huge rip on the side of it. I explored the interior and found that nothing was falling out, but thanks to my generous purchasing of clothes, goodies and souvenirs it appeared to be moments from exploding onto the city sidewalk.
I dragged my poor failing luggage to the nearest metro station, but couldn’t find anywhere to purchase a bus ticket. I was getting frustrated walking up and down the street, going into little shops, asking in tired french if they sold metro tickets, and being forever redirected. My one reprieve was that I got my first view of the “Gay Village.” Finally I spied a ticket machine, but had to wrestle with it for several minutes before it finally proffered my three day bus pass.
Now I was super frustrated. I was cursing the earth and sky, begging the next three days to disappear into oblivion so that I could GO HOME!
Sigh. No such luck. I better get moving.
Luckily my new and final Air BnB was right downtown. It was a short and easy metro ride (I was by now totally comfortable with the directions and stop names) to this spot. I found it with ease, but was unhappy to see that the owner had a bunch of complicated and anal directions for me to access their apartment. When I did finally get in I found that my room was not ready, and I was asked to wait in the living room while he “readied it.” He gave me a bottle of water and left me sitting in mildly uncomfortable silence. Finally after about a half an hour he said I could go in. The room was large, with a huge king size bed, and a desk. It had its own attached half bath, and a nice view of the city.
On paper it was a great place to end my trip, which is why I had been willing to pay a little more than the others. In reality, the entire place stunk of dog pee, (I never once saw or heard a dog) the owner was constantly there, either in the living room or his bedroom, making me feel very awkward. I never again went into the living room, nor did I once venture into the kitchen or beyond. I used the shower timidly and quickly, trying not to touch more than I had to as it was a bit mildewy. I constantly had my door locked while I was in the room. I tried to be very quiet and respectful, but I still somehow still felt like I was imposing.
Anyhow, that aside, I knew I now had to get out of the house and go purchase a new suitcase. I left my stuff still packed and took the metro once again to the Eaton Centre, the one place I knew I could easily find a suitcase without screwing around.
I ended up screwing around anyways, as the mall is HUGE! 4 levels of shops that stretch as long as I’ve ever seen a mall do (West Edmonton Excluded, but then it really only has 2 levels). I ended up walking in huge ovals for an hour until I came across a suitcase shop. It was obviously overpriced, but I was desperate and didn’t care anymore.
I spied a nifty little rolling red suitcase, which had a semi-hard shell, a combination lock, and a little more space than my current. It was almost 120.00 on sale! Not the worst price but definitely an unexpected added expense on a trip where I was starting to tighten my purse.
Once I had that I made my way back onto the metro, back to the pee tower, and back into skulky’s lair. If I seem bitter while writing this I think its only the emotions of the time coming out briefly and coloring my perceptions a little darker than they might have been otherwise. I packed my things into my new suitcase, marveling at the newfound space that meant more possible purchases. (tighten the purse-strings, eh?) As I took the old suitcase out the owner saw me and asked if I was leaving, so I had to explain to him that I was just getting rid of the suitcase because it was broken. Was I mistaken, or was that disappointment on his face when he saw that I was staying?
As I walked down the sidewalk I realized I was never going to find an accessible dumpster to throw this piece into. I gave up quite early this time, not really wanting to spend all night looking for a way to throw it out. I covertly left it on an abandoned looking staircase and walked away like nothing had happened.
Brooke and I had plans to meet once again for dinner. I took the metro back to the Eaton Centre to meet with her, and did some more shopping around, not with any real purchases in mind, just with the idea that I could buy things now that I had more space. (See how easy it is to fall into the trap!?) I didn’t end up buying anything except a really crappy fish and chips from a Greek stand. I ate half of it and threw out the rest.
When it came time to meet Brooke again I took the Metro to the meetup point. She and I then waited for Darren while I regaled her with my tales of Québec City. Darren came off an arriving car, and we all took a different car to a far out parking lot where their van was parked. They then drove me 40 minutes out of the city proper to a little smoked meat shack called: Smoke Meat Pete.
According to them it is the best smoked meat in Montreal, and who am I to argue with the locals, especially when it was indeed fantastically delicious.
I got the smoked meat sandwich with a side of poutine. Overkill? Maybe. Don’t care. It was friggen delicious! A band was setting up just as we arrived, and started a jam session of some bluesy jazz music. I had a great time once again catching up with my old friend and her husband.
A picture of the two of us that I took for our moms, who are also friends.
Across the street is apparently the first ever Dairy Queen, complete with a secret menu and looking super tiny and cute. We didn’t go in but it was kind of cool to see.
We drove the long way back to the city and they kindly dropped me off by the metro, with plans to meet up again tomorrow after they got off work, and lots of fun things for me to do in the meantime.
Once I got back to the Cave of Ultimate Awkwardness I downloaded a movie on Netflix and watched it to keep me company until I fell asleep, amongst the mildewy, rainy, noisy Montreal night.