We set out for Montreal at around 4:30 AM. Last minute preparation and procrastination left me with ten minutes of sleep before hitting the road.
We set out for Montreal at around 4:30 AM. Last minute preparation and procrastination left me with ten minutes of sleep before hitting the road. I loaded up on coffee, Adderall, cigarettes and loud music to push through. It was a seven hour ride and, although there was a girl in my car who had recently gotten her license, there was no way in Hell I was going to let her drive.
Driving through upstate New York, you realize how lucky you are to live in the City. Although there is some powerful scenery while you’re passing through the Adirondacks, the rest of the state is pretty much barren wilderness dotted with cesspools, like Albany, or smaller, more depressing shit stains, like Starbuckville. We basically charged up I-87 for five hours until we hit the duty free right before the border.
On the ride up to Canada, the most important thing to hit is duty free. Because of taxes, booze up there is ridiculously expensive, which explains why so many more people there tend to do drugs. Although you’re only allowed to bring either a liter of hard liquor, liter and a half of wine or a case of beer through customs, sneaking more past the border isn’t difficult. Just stash it amongst your shit and if you get caught, feign ignorance. Canadians are nice; they’ll let you off the hook.
We got to our hostel, the Montreal Centrale, around 11. Cramped and still tweaked, we checked in and checked out our room…
…which turned out to be a subterranean cave that we actually started referring to as “The Cave”. I know hostel living isn’t supposed to be glamorous, but the room was so small we couldn’t even make a proper human swastika! And although there were enough beds for eight people, I’m sure sticking one more person into that room would’ve made the experience equivalent to being in a cattle car headed for Auschwitz, except with, you know, less Jews.
This was the view from the only window in our room, a nice 3 x 2 glimpse of the neighboring bus depot.
But whatever–a room is just a place to crash for the night and get drunk before you head out, which is exactly what we did. We got trashed, hit the streets with some booze in tow, and quickly discovered that Montrealers are pretty nice. We asked some random guy who was walking to work where we should eat and not only did he not tell us to fuck off or incoherently mumble useless directions (both likely outcomes in New York), but he actually walked us all the way to this great vegetarian restaurant, L’Escalier.
After lunch, we trekked over to the Musee D’art Contemporian, which happened to be free and was recommended by Anonymous Q. Mootenstein, the turd licker. A lot of the stuff in the museum was intolerable in a way only modern art can be, like Betty Goodwin’s obsessive vest etchings. Despite this, there were two really fantastic exhibits: a collection of photos by Robert Polidori, whose subjects range from the Louvre to war torn Beirut, and the solemn installation of a couple dozen antiquated cribs by Spring Hurlbut, who definitely has one of the most unfortunate names in the world.
After the museum, everyone was pretty exhausted from either the lack of sleep, drinking all day, the Adderall comedown, or all three. We retreated to our hostel and slept ’til 11 PM. Besides the people generally being nicer, Montreal is also different from New York because things there actually close. We initially failed to realize this and were left running up and down St. Denis searching for an open restaurant. We had to make due with a Pita Pit.
Oh yeah, that and all the McDonald’s in Canada have a maple leaf in the center of the golden arches. McDonald’s’ execs must really think lowly of Canadians’ intelligence if they think that is going to trick them into believing McDonald’s isn’t American.
Lesson of the Day: the Unfamiliar is Funny
I don’t care if it makes me uncultivated or immature or whatever, but there were definitely a few signs in Montreal that got a giggle out of the five year old in me.