Disclaimer: I’m not a writer, this is a rough draft of my spring break trip that occurred four months ago in the beginning of March, and I have a short “blog” on Matador that I typed the days’ events nearly everyday while in Montreal. I don’t write as much as I should. I do enjoy writing, but only if inspired enough. I’m more of a photographer and adventure seeker. I don’t have perfect grammar, and nobody does anyways. I write from the top of my head, words spilling on this word document on my Mac, several days at a times, and parts by parts. This is how I write, and who I am. I can make poems, but that’s only if I want to and feels inspired. Teachers giving me a subject to write leave me unable to write and actually do it well. Some pictures cause me to write, whether it’s an essay, a poem, or a story, same goes for memories, whether good or not. On the rare occasions that teachers give me a subject to write about that I’m interested in, I write vividly and strongly. Like for example, the debate if photography is a good way to show the events or not. But that’s for another day and time.
————– Enjoy reading the story. —————
I’m deaf. Don’t even bother pitying me, since I dislike it when people do that. I’m also a traveler, a novice one at it currently. I went to Montreal for my first solo travel, because I love cities and new places. If I had all the money and friends, I would go to New Zealand, Iceland, or somewhere in South America for Spring Break. I didn’t want a common typical college break experience, think Cancun, so I chose Montreal. I never regretted it. I have Nager Syndrome, an extra rare syndrome that causes my jaws to not work. Don’t even bother pitying me for that either. If anyone talks about food, I zone out, since it’s mainly useless, unless they bring up icecream, gelato, strawberry frappuccino at Starbuck’s, or anything I like.
Montreal is one of my favorite places to go to. It’s early March when I went, and I was lucky to arrive on the tail end of Nuit Blanche festival. The night the train pulled in to Montreal, there were fireworks over the river and city. I was excited for what the city has in store for me. After getting lost from the train station to the metro, I found out that it’s too late to exchange USA money to Canadian. I thought I would be stuck. Thankfully there’s a nice guy who gave me metro tickets. So, I went on the metro, and then I got out. I got lost looking for the hostel, that a police and another Montreal guy have to help me find the way. Remember, it’s at 11pm and dark out. So, I arrived at the hostel, exhausted and wondering what the week has in store for me. I paid for the hostel room, and I picked up some information about Nuit Blanche from Paul, the owner of Auberge L’Apero.
After changing into skinny jeans, knee tall boots, and a cute shirt, I went out to Blvd. St. Laurent, where I heard the things were happening. Remember I only had American money on me, due to being late to exchange money. So, I tentatively stepped into a club, somehow got in for free at Club 3159. Luckily the club accepted American money for coat check. I partied for a bit and got free alcohol, due to it being Nuit Blanche. It was a pleasant surprise. I’m not the party sort of person, being more of a chill sort of person. After an hour, I got bored of the club, so I went out to explore for a bit. I ended up on a free bus for Nuit Blanche. I got off a wrong stop and got lost again. Thankfully I figured out how to get back on Blvd. St. Laurent. On the way to the metro to get back to the hostel, I stopped at a store that caught my eyes, named Eva B. The clothes piles with people in it attracted me, and made me wonder if it was open. Soon, a lady mentioned to me that the store is open, and I went in. I got offered free tea, and being cold, I took it. It was okay, if they had sugar, I would be in tea heaven. But it’s delicious, and jumping in the pile of clothes were so much fun, I didn’t want to leave at all. But I got exhausted once again, and I walked all the way to the metro, with tea in my hand. The metro stayed open until 3am on Nuit Blanche, so I stumbled back to the hostel (I didn’t consume much alcohol, more of tea, but were exhausted) and woke Paul up by not knowing how to get in, because I forgot the access code. I finished my tea, chatted with one of my guy friend from USA on my Mac, and stumbled to bed.
Yes, I did bring my Mac with me, to communicate and keep myself updated with my friends from college. Since I couldn’t use my Blackberry due to roaming fees, I used and carried my iTouch with me everywhere, for communication purposes with the people in Montreal if they couldn’t understand my French or English. I have accidentally mixed up French and Italian on more than one occasion. I like to learn new languages, and I had been taking Italian in college, and I knew some very few basic French. Before the trip, I studied some French that were essential to communicating and getting around. Sometimes I will order something or ask in French, and get a reply back in English. I was wondering why, until I realized it’s due to the accent and they knew I was a native English speaker.
The second day in Montreal, I woke up, and I wanted to exchange money to Canadian, so, I asked Paul where the exchange is. It’s a block away on Rue St. Catherine, a shopping paradise. I got the right money, so I went window shopping. That day, the Canadian hockey team was playing against the American. I stopped at a few tv to watch the gold medal game of the Olympics, secretly rooting for my home country. Later, on way back to the hostel, people started spilling out in the streets, yelling and celebrating the fact that Canada won the gold in hockey. I nearly got caught up in the celebration, and when I arrived back to the hostel, I heard sirens nearby, police trying to control the riotous celebration. It was crazy.
Monday, I went shopping on Rue St. Catherine and shopped at several places. I also decided to get the septum piercing I always had wanted that day, as an early birthday present to myself. Also, I went out on a Monday night, I went to Blvd. St. Laurent to see what’s open. I found an open club called B-Side, and went in there. It was too packed for my tastes and weird people. Two guys tried hitting on me; seeing that I’m alone and they thought I was vulnerable. He got me alcohol, the same old red alcohol mix that somehow tastes like juice. I was very unsure if I should accept it. I watched the whole thing, and deemed the alcohol safe. So I drank a bit, and then went to another area to get away. It’s very difficult for me to meet people due to my deafness and I’m an introverted person. Also I don’t trust people when I first meet them. Then I left the club and went back to the hostel to chill.
On a Tuesday, I went back to Blvd. St. Laurent to shop, finally got a shirt and stuff from Eva B. that’s vintage, checked out other stores on that street and the streets off it. I wandered around, arriving to a park for dogs and I watched the interaction. It was enjoyable and peaceful.
I decided I was bored of the same old cluster in Montreal on Wednesday, so I took the metro all the way to the BioDome, an indoor nature center at the 1976 Montreal Olympics Center. I got a discount at the BioDome because the worker thought I was a resident of Montreal due to my French and the way I dress. So, I was lucky. I explored the areas of different climates and took pictures. After the BioDome, I explored the Olympics complex and took stunning pictures of the futuristic area, as it was imagined in 1976. Afterwards, I was a bit exhausted, so I went to get a Starbuck’s frappuccino and ordered entirely in French. The barista responded back in English, due to my accent and she knew I was a native English speaker. It was an interesting exchange. I went back to the hostel exhausted and played on my Mac before going to bed.
While eating breakfast, I was looking at the map of metro and areas of Montreal in the hostel kitchen when I saw there’s an island reachable by metro. I decided on that day, a Thursday, to go to that island to explore. So, I took the metro all the way to Parc Jean-Drapeu. I saw the Bio Sphere on that island, although it’s closed. Then I wandered and I saw something that caught my eyes. It was the skyscrapers of Montreal, so I went to check out the view. It was a very stunning view, with the sun slowly going down, but not yet reached sunset. I took plenty of pictures of the city and the huge river that’s in front of the city. You would think Montreal is on land, next to the river, but you’re wrong. Montreal is in fact, an island. No wonder it’s known as the Manhattan of the North, due to the lifestyle of the city and it being an island.
After the island visit, I went back to the hostel and changed into club wear, the winter version and went on Blvd. St. Laurent once again and checked out the clubs. I first went to Tokyo, a nice club. There weren’t many people and I soon got bored, so I left. I wandered around a bit, and decided to check out the many recommendations of Saphir. I entered Saphir and I fell in love with the interior and how hip and cutting edge it was. It was two floors of different designs and DJ and music. I got free alcohol because it was included with the coat check. Some people would describe Saphir as a mix of gothic or hipster club, but I didn’t see it that way. Sure there were many hipsters there, but I never felt like I was out of place. I got tired and buzzed, so I went to the metro. Stupidly, I thought the metro was open all night or until 3am, but I was surprised to find I missed the last metro and it closed at 1am. It ruined my mood and made me wonder how the hell I will get back to the hostel safely. I went into a 24 hours poutine place and tried to get internet on my iTouch for directions to no avail. I asked the counter lady where to go. I found out it was a fairly long walk back, but on one path. So, I took the walk. Two guys leered at me while walking back and I flipped my finger at them and ran as quick. Luckily there wasn’t a soul for the next few blocks until two blocks away from the hostel, there were a few people lingering. I safely got back to the hostel, and went to bed right away.
Remembering my experiences of the night before, on Friday, I stayed close to the hostel range. I went to watch Alice In Wonderland and the theater was packed full. After the movie, I wandered the underground network of malls. After that, I returned to the hostel and played on my Mac.
The last day of Montreal, I originally planned to go to Parc Mont-Royal, but unfortunately, I woke up too late. So, I instead went to Plateau Mont Royal in search of a strong alcohol drink called Absinthe, which is illegal in America. I found it at Bily Kun and got an Absinthe Cocktail. It was an interesting mix of Absinthe, the main alcohol, Apfel Korn, an apple juice inspired vodka, citrus and apple juice mixed. It was an interesting drink but wasn’t fond of the taste. I tried to finish it, paid it, then left. It was something that maybe I need to give another taste, but this time straight Absinthe. Knowing that the next morning, I have to go catch the trains back to Rochester, I stayed up, very buzzed and played Sims 3 on my Mac. I also found tea to drink, since I ran out of my food two days prior. I pulled an all nighters, packed my stuff, wrote a note to Paul saying thank you for the stay and the hospitality and I enjoyed Montreal and slipped it under the door to the check in area with the keys. I left for the train at 6am, caught it, and returned back to RIT, completing my spring break adventures.
Overall, I enjoyed my break in Montreal that I really want to return there, during the summer months and bring my friends with me to experience more of Montreal. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet and I was so glad I went there. If my family found out I went solo, they would be filled with anxiety, thinking that I need to be protected from harm. Well, I’m a very capable traveler and very self-defensive if necessary. When will they learn to let me go, seeing that I’m currently 21 now? Maybe moving away is the answer, to make them realize I don’t always need someone to come with me to travel and that I am independent and can do whatever I want.
*Excuse the strange person in the picture, but he was another one of those photographers and I can’t get rid of him to take this shot. Now that I realize it, I think I like it with the person.