Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jason's Montreal

(This is what Google Images says Old Montreal looks like. I have to agree.)

Okay, there's no way this is an actual guide to Montreal. I was in the town for 25 hours (11 a.m. Tuesday to 12 p.m. Wednesday) for a business meeting and this is a wholly unbelievable amount of time to form any sense of a foreign city, but I've always loved reading the 1-2 page summary of a place in the famous Frommer's travel guides. They attempt to sum up a culture, customs, local attractions, and etc in only a couple of pages and it's unintentionally hilarious. I've got 3 or 4 Frommer's that I'll have to scan the summary pages of so you can see what I mean. [New theory: Did Frommer's inspire Borat? Discuss.] Anyway, this is my attempt at a satirical Frommer's summary based on information gathered during my brief stay. None of this is meant to be insulting; it's just my goofy sense of humor. Feel free to make any corrections, especially you, 'Frenchgirl'. I wanted to talk to you before I left but didn't have time.

Montreal is located in the province of Quebec in the country of Canada, which is otherwise filled with Canadians except in Quebec, which is filled with displaced Frenchmen. These Frenchmen are a proud bunch and are afraid their language is being displaced by English which is the language of the rest of Canada who are displaced Englishmen themselves. Some countries such as Switzerland, whose primary language is not English, actually print the word 'stop' on their stop signs. This is convenient for English-speaking travelers but must feel like a cop out to the local population. It is for this reason that the Quebeckers print the word 'arrêt' on all their signs. To pound the point home, the arrêt sign is used at every intersection regardless of logic. There are no yield signs or roundabout intersections to make travel more efficient. Travellers will quickly learn the word, arrêt, via vigorous repetition.

Montrealtors are very capable drivers despite what most would consider to be tight quarters. They move quickly when needed and generally understand what their respective lanes are for. This is a good thing because there is an intersection every 20 feet and a lot of time can be lost if the driver hesitates to make the right move. This is also an opportunity for the traveller to see more of the city as he/she attempts to correct the inevitable navigational errors. Speed traps are virtually unheard of because there is little time and space in which to accelerate beyond the posted limit.

Compounding the navigational difficulties is the fact that there are actually two Montreals. Montrealites founded Old Montreal some time ago and lived there while constructing the regular Montreal, which is where the newer taller buildings are situated. If unsure which Montreal you have arrived at, simply find a Montrealian and recite the following question "Dites-moi s'il vous plaît si j'ai un grand fond?" and they will indicate to you which version of Montreal you are standing in.

(The author spotted no less than 6 navy blue Mazda Protege5 stationwagons, indicating that Montrealholics appreciate fine automobiles.)

Montrealitans appreciate healthy dining for the most part and there is much less junkfood than other places in North America which may appear to be sponsored by Hostess and Long John Silvers (see Frommer's USA). Excellent dining options are located in both versions of Montreal. Because both Montreals are located near a large ocean, sea food is both common and recommended.

Music can be a contentious subject in either Montreal. Most residents prefer listening to 70's vintage disco or Stereolab (bonjour!) while in bars and gathering places. Some Montrealters and other Quebeckians have made attempts at crafting Hip Hop musical forms but have generally failed due to their overwhelming whiteness and inability to sound tough.

There is currently no plan for the evil George Bush to annex either Montreal, which is a shame.


Melanie-Pearl said...

i liked reading all the names for montrealites.

wow, i rub elbows with some of Cessna's finest!

Matt said...

It's Quebecois, not quebeckers, quebeckians, quebeckeds, quetards, etc. And yes, Labatt's flows like water there. Did you experience the night-life of old Montreal? It's pretty fun--I like how the open-air clubs are literally right on the edges of the old streets. One gets a sense of being connected to more than just what's happening in any one particular bar. And, you're spot on with the numerous intersections. Their public transportation system is pretty good, though.

Why were you there? Work trip I assume?

Jason R said...

I did experience the night life in Montreal. I seriously adore that town. If I lived there I'd be on a bicycle as often as possible, not in a Buick Allure. The 'Allure' is a 'LaCrosse' in Amurika but that term is slang for... um... something inappropriate.

Yes, it was a business trip. A 25 hour vacation is beneath even me. Travelled in a corporate jet.

Matt said...

"Travelled in a corporate jet."

I was going to say, "go get 'em JR" (as in JR Ewing from Dallas). But then I realized you are already JR. Hmmm. You were destined to live the high life my friend.

Which randomly reminds me of when I saw some tele-evangelist-wacker on tv explaining to his ever-shorn flock about how he didn't want to get a new corporate jet--he was fine with the old one--but God talked to him and demanded that he get a new one.

Jason R said...

Commercial air travel is for the peasants.

Where's my 10 gallon hat?

Anonymous said...

it's fun to hear your point of view--mostly related to driving and cars. hopefully you'll get to go for a longer period of time sometime. love that city...

the quebecois are funny though. we were told that this waterfall we visited in quebec city (chutes montmorency) was sooo much better than niagra falls because it's taller. yeah, it's taller, but not very wide. they definitely have provincial pride!