Monday, September 04, 2006

Vive la Fromage! Montreal 2006: Day One

Yes, yes, I'm aware that this entry is long overdue. I've been home for twelve hours and no word or pics from Montreal, I've been asked. Well here it is~!

FYI, I've been trying to figure out how I would be sending 1.5 GB worth of pics to everyone, and that's why I've been too busy to blog (more than half of them are completely useless pics of trees and rocks and stuff, but I won't bitch about that anymore...).

There's also many blog entries by my other travelmates (e.g. Kathy, Nam) so here goes my depiction of the weekend...

Friday, September 1

We were originally planning on sleeping over at one person's house so we would be guaranteed an early start for the trip. Instead, the Lem's slept at the Lam's and everything worked out in the end. I felt so bad for the drivers, because we couldn't recruit 'back-up' drivers, and Dev and Nam had to drive the 6 hours there, each on about 4-5 hours sleep. Thanks, guys. You sure were tru-tru-troopers and I am forever grateful. I don't think I could've done what you guys did and not swerve or fall asleep. Thank you thank you thank you. I'm assuming that most of the road trip looked like any other road trip we normally take: Mel navigating, Kathy yelling at Nam to close the window, Nam smoking and me sleeping with headphones on. And trees, rocks and more cars everywhere. How do I know this? Because my camera is full of those useless pics of trees, cars and random highway signs...! Good job, guys.

^5:30 in the morning, and the camera whoring begins
^Like, really. I need to stop sleeping so much in the car

About 6 pit stops later, we finally arrive in Quebec in about 6 hours! I knew I would expect lots of French signs, but I didn't expect not to see too much English! Luckily red means stop everywhere and Tim Horton's is always Tim Horton's.

^Wish you were here: Eat your heart out, Alex, cuz we're eating your sandwich!
^Going into Montreal on "the Gardiner" (Hwy 720, in Montreal, I believe)

I must say, Montreal driving is somewhat different from Toronto driving. The first hour or so I was in Montreal I witnessed two accidents. Both of which was because of impatience, stupidity and road rage (you should see the way these ppl parallel park). Oddly enough it seemed very normal (every second car I saw had at least one ding on their bumper).

^Need For Speed: Montreal styles!

^We've arrived!

^Beautiful view from our suite ^The boys wait in the courtyard as we try to sneak them in

So we arrived at Les Suites Faubourg St-Laurent at about noon, and to my delight the hotel room suite was better than I expected. You see, just before we left we had some last minute changes and whatnot but it ended up nine of us would be going and I had booked one hotel room. I totally forgot that it would be a suite (OK, I didn't forget, I just didn't read the entire hotel description online. I pretty much just clicked my way through to making the reservations without reading). I walk into the hotel room, and it's an apartment-style hotel suite, complete with kitchen (fully-loaded) and living room (with pull-out bed). SWEET. Nine people would do just fine, especially since we brought along an air mattress. Perfect. I was worried we'd be caught with more than double the maximum occupancy all weekend, but luckily everything worked out just fine and noone was none the wiser.

So we settle in, and the two drivers pass out from exhaustion while the rest of us explored the area around our hotel. We landed a pretty sweet deal, since we were a block form Chinatown and within walking distance to everything we'd need (grocery store, clubs, the SAQ aka Montreal's LCBO).
^Walking down Rene Levesque Blvd: Doesn't it look like University Ave?

Montreal's Chinatown made me appreciate Toronto's Spadina Chinatown, garbage, smell, noise and all. Something about all those elements just seem truly Asian to me, I guess. Hahaha. Montreal's Chinatown was quaint, and I suppose some people would prefer that. I personally don't mine the chaos experienced in the T.Dot's Chinatown (although Montreal's had some pretty decent bubble tea).

We walked alot from Chinatown, to the shopping district (on a street I will dub "Yonge St"), to Montreal Eaton Centre, to a street that is loaded with cafes. Eating and drinking al fresco seems to be very big in Montreal (I wonder what it's like in the winter, though) and that was one of things I really liked about Montreal. Toronto needs to have more of that, especially at night (instead of the usual clubs, restaurants and bars. Booooring). We met up with Brandon, Kathy and Nam's fashionably flambuoyant cousin, at a cafe where he gave us some tips on good places to visit. He also got us hookups for the Club Orchid the next night.
^At the Eaton Centre
^Kathy and me: Les Superstars Fabuleuse!
^Outside some cathedral
^Doing the cafe thing
^Kathy and Mel map out the rest of the weekend
One thing I noticed was how blatantly 'out there' sexuality was. I've never seen so many XXX video stores, strip clubs and 'peep shows' in my life (and it was in regular areas for shopping and stuff, not the red-light district). To top it off, the signs for these places aren't as conspicuous as they are in Toronto (with black windows and curtains). I saw alot of pictures and ads for paninnis and punannis just walking down the street, let's just say. o_0
^Cuong shows his appreciation for the female form
^Big pimpin'
The guys made us some dinner in our fabulous kitchen. The kitchen was a great resource for us to save money and eat in, rather than eating out. Mmm mmm. Besides, I love it when we get together and we're able to cook for each other. Something rather endearing about that. After dinner, we decided to do something a bit mellow and take a walk around "Old Montreal". I realized that taking pictures without flash are good for taking pictures of lights, but not so great when you're taking pictures of people. This explains why some of the following pictures are so dark. Sorry.
^The guys were really amused by this. I think Nam's supposed to be a cartoon character or something^Who likes boobies?! Raise your hand!
After sightseeing, a couple of us actually went and checked out one of the peep show places we kept seeing around. Just to see what it was all about, I tagged along. Let's just say, it so wasn't what I was expecting and so not worth the $50 they were asking for. Also, it didn't help that the girl who was working there was quite fug. *barf
^We're a scary bunch of people walking down the streets of Montreal
^Sobert Scrabble...
^...or crazy fun drunk Blackjack?
It's hard to believe ALL of that happened in ONE DAY. Not even one day, HALF a day. *whew. And it took me just about all day to post them, damn.

It's 2:20 AM and I just got home from Captain's. *sigh, time to get ready for school tomorrow. Day 2 of the Montreal trip shall come tomorrow.

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