Random thoughts on being out of the country during this most American of holidays:
1. Montréal has a wonderfully silent airport. We shooshed down the people mover and it was eerie – so quiet, so clean, so…Logan’s Run. Fabulous.
2. I tend to freeze like a deer in headlights when spoken to in French. I can’t help it. I didn’t practice any phrases. I could only smile, shake my head and answer in English.
3. It is a city one can crisscross on foot in one day. And, by golly, we were going to do it until my footwear gave out. Old Montreal, Latin Quarter, Ste. Catherine, the business district, the riverfront - very charming.
4. Our shopping is better. It just is – in variety, depth, and style our shopping in Chicago is better. It’s not to say that they don’t have nice things but I didn’t really see anything extraordinarily different or that screamed Must Have! I was hoping for a really great avenue of boutiques and while Mont Royal was nice it was just…meh. However, their winter boots kick ass – stylish AND functional. And, apparently, from Iceland.
5. Being out of the US during a US holiday is incredibly freeing. No blather about shopping or turkeys or worrying about the food or who’s cooking it. It was just about waking up, finding a place for breakfast (an unpleasant sight of the waitstaff eating off of a plate they were clearing meant no breakfast at the hotel), and then walking around. It is the best kind of anonymity.
6. The men are short. And dour, with a kind of existential despair thrown in while also being over-coiffed. Strange. We wonder how the men are in Toronto.
7. Their news is more serious than ours. Quebec nationhood is a big thing. It was everywhere – as well as what looked like the biggest mafia bust in Canadian history. But roomie and I were wondering, Ok, so you get your nationhood – how do you support your new nation infrastructurally? I mean, if Texas wanted to be its own country, I think we’d all be saying Good luck with that.
8. Dinner at Les Remparts was out of this world. Try the tasting menu, if you can. Fabulous. The sommelier, when asked if we should bother getting a bottle of wine with dinner in addition to the wine pairings with dinner, said in his best French-ish accent, ‘You will each consume a bottle of wine with dinner on your own.’ We said, ‘Score.’
9. We had a freaking good time. We planned our days around our meals, took our time with everything and just relaxed. Everyone should go.
Now. Do it. Go.