InterroLoop: Day 37 – Montreal

My Montreal host was Richard Kallos/Impact, a geology student who would prove to be my insulation against Francophonia.


Content over composition

We kicked off the day by walking his dog and placing a score phone calls to set the agenda for the day which had two parts; meet people and eat poutine, and one of these two was optional.  As has happened perennially with Canada, in the first 30 minutes of our trek we encountered a trade-off as every Canadian ATM has a surcharge but Montreal has functioning mass transit, I’m not sure which I’d prefer.

We met up with Brian/Stonecold at a metro station who immediately told us about him having been paid to make out with a fat chick (more Rubinesque in my opinion) in exchange for $20 and beer followed by the immediate statement that he regretted the choice and that he wish people didn’t know.  In that a report of the above was the content of at least two Facebook status updates I’ll consider the incident an open secret that I will lord above should I ever do something stupid.  God bless sobriety.


Brian, Beer Gigolo

Our next party member was to be met at the poutine vendor, but considering the lack of elegance that seems to be intrinsic to the experience of consuming french fries covered in cheese curd, roast drippings, and other toppings, I’m fine that she met us later.  My choice was the T-Rex, a stack of potato also covered in shredded beef, sausage, and what appeared to be tiny sliced cocktail weenies.


Richest. Food. Ever.

The pile was wonderful and rich to the point where I didn’t finish it.  Normally after a meal like that my future would be filled with what I’ll call “reading time” but it never came, such is the magic of poutine.

Our next target was downtown Montreal to meet up with the rest of the group.  We passed the tiny Montreal Fringe Festival, the much larger hippy conflux of the Thames, and then block after block of stone-over-concrete veneer buildings until we hit the more glassine facades of shop after shop that Amazon should have vanquished years ago but whose existence I will sum up to the French inability to find the appropriate accents for eBay.  Most of the stores were powerfully air-conditioned and also had open doors creating little oases of low humidity, low heat and high distaste for efficiency.  Brian, Richard and I then began part three of our morning, waiting for other people while listening to a generic world cup game near a man with humorously high underwear.


Accidentally With It

Our next two additions were Bianca a 20-year old Romanian emigre that glommed to the group quickly.


She blinked a lot

Alan is a hirsute college student and contemporary of Richard’s with whom I have markedly different views of the efficacy of the Israeli government and US aid.


Alan, with backlighting

The collective wait for the last group member was complicated by not knowing his actual name, not knowing what he looked like, us not being sure that he knew what we looked like, and not having a realtime contact number for him.  I donned a sticker to increase visibility.


I later used my shoulder

After a flurry of calls to Andre’s mother, we made contact with him via cell phone and shortly thereafter or last member arrived.


Our second Romania emigre Francophone

From there, we walked… more.  The previous evening was the night after a Grand Prix event and several blocks were closed to celebrate fast cars and slow people and a multiblock area was closed off for a weak cover band and a weaker crowd.  We kept walking to the old city which is expressed in French as “Le Trap du Tourist” with a large array of tourist-friendly restaurants, souvenir shops, and other made-friendly places; here I purchased a shirt with a beaver on it saying “dam it”.  At the center was a relatively small block-paved boulevard hosting a crappy street performer who in this case looked like a French Robin Williams that was about light himself on fire.


"I'll do it"

This turned out to be the height of Montreal’s offerings as the next two things to see were a large iguana and a half-assed French clown making crappy balloon animals for scared Chinese children.  The next four hours were a wonderful montage of chat and ignoring people urinating in bushes at parks capped by imitation Chinese food.  Apparently in Montreal it’s General Tao’s chicken rather than the General Tso’s chicken I’m used to.  The place didn’t accept credit cards so I paid in Team Interrobang stickers to another person present.

During the train ride back to Richard’s, I amused other passengers by doing a purposely poor job of translating French subway ads.