Except in the winter.
Jokes aside, everyone I have met thus far has been super kind and welcoming! I had heard some rumors coming into it that the French Canadians have a certain disdain for English speakers, but I haven’t run into a single problem! I feel so spoiled, not having to learn French at all and still getting around the city well because everyone ELSE has learned another language to accommodate me. It feels so entitled and I don’t like it. That being said, I still don’t know barely any French… I know “merci” (thank you) and “bienvenue” (welcome) and “sortie” (exit), but not much else. Thanks to my knowledge of Spanish I understand many written words and therefore can understand most signs, but my ability starts and ends there. Hopefully I’ll know more by the end of these two weeks!
Alright, so today was great! I woke up to banging on the walls because for some reason the hostel thought it was okay to start construction at 7:30am, but my alarm was set for 8am anyway, so I wasn’t too broken up about it [P.S. I just heard that they’re doing building onto the hostel, making it three times bigger — whoa]. Many of my bunkmates had already gotten up and left, but some remained, so I quickly changed, grabbed my laptop, and headed downstairs to the bar area where they serve breakfast from 7 to 10am. I had three (I meant to have two but accidentally grabbed three and couldn’t put it back or throw it out) waffles — yummmmmmmm. I sat across from a group of middle aged adults complaining about one of their kids (I’m not exactly sure whose kid it was) and his attitude. It was quite entertaining.
Then I packed for the day and headed out! After saying hi to Shamanda (I had to stop by the car to grab my student ID to get discounts at museums!), I decided to head back downtown to the pick-up location for the bus tour (since, remember, I have it for two days). I headed down Rue Saint-Catherine and my oh my oh my. What a beautiful street. I felt so fortunate to stumble over such gems pretty much by accident.
My first stop of the day (before I even got back onto the bus) was the Barbie Expo. Located in the underground city, this exhibition showcases hundreds of Barbies dressed in various fashions, from “Heidi Klum” barbie to “Hershey’s” barbie to “Princess of the French Court” barbie. IT WAS SO COOL. There are no words to describe it, and my photos don’t even do it justice. Basically, barbies in couture fashion designed by the top fashion designers in the world. Who would ever think of that?!
The whole atmosphere was just so ~cool~. I really have no words! Every single Barbie was so different. Even the ones that were modeled after certain celebrities looked exactly like them! I was walking around in complete awe. I wanted to take a photo of every single one, but then I decided against it because it seemed silly. Now, though, it doesn’t seem so silly — I want to relive it over and over again!
There was a booth in which you could take a photo as a Barbie, so I asked a lovely French woman to take my picture. I asked her how I should pose and this is what she told me I should do:
After the Barbie Expo (read more about it here: http://expobarbie.ca/en/), I grabbed a bite to eat before heading back on the bus to Old Montreal!
Way back when I had signed up for the two day hop-on-hop-off bus tour, which came with a cruise on the Saint Lawrence River. I had paid for it already, so I figured I should take advantage. Unfortunately, the highlight of this hour and a half tour was this little boy who kept climbing under the tables.
The tour was okay, but I started out on the top of the ship and it was WAY too windy; too hard to keep my hat on my head and phone in my hand while trying to look up and around at the views. But then once I moved down to the lower level, I couldn’t hear the guide as well and the sights weren’t great, so I was overall pretty disappointed. I got a few cool photos, though!
After the tour I was EXHAUSTED, so I stopped in a cute little coffee shop and had some sweet chocolatey caffeinated concoction that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside 🙂
Next, I visited the Pointe-à-Callière museum, which is a beautiful archeological museum right in the heart of Old Montreal.
The museum tour began with a movie screening describing the history of Montreal and how the city was formed and grew over time. Very cool! It was really difficult to capture the exhibits inside because it was pretty dark, but it went a little something like this:
After spending some time in the museum, I had to rush back to my neighborhood to check that the parking lot in which Shamanda is parked is accessible 24 hours, because I plan on leaving very early tomorrow morning to drive to my next destination. Google said that the building under which the parking lot is located closes at 6 (half an hour from then), so I tried calling the lot and my hostel to see if they had any information on the parking lot in particular, but I got unclear answers for both so I decided that it was safer to run back and check on it in person. Luckily, it is 24/7 parking, but that meant that I hurried back for nothing, so I was kind of upset that I didn’t get to spend more time at the Old Port and Old Montreal in general. And because of the cruise I forfeited my chance to get to the Museum of Fine Arts, which I really wanted to see. I’m sure there are plenty of things that I missed, so I guess that just means I’ll have to come back another time!!! 😉
Luckily, on my way back to the village I could walk down some of the cutest streets in Old Montreal: Saint-Laurent and Saint-Paul.
Once I got back to the hostel (I keep typing “home” and then realizing that holy shiz I’m gonna have a lot of “homes” these next two weeks), I showered, changed, and went to pack Shamanda with a few items I won’t need tonight or first thing tomorrow morning before grabbing a frozen meal and chocolate bar at a grocery store (don’t yell at me; I’m on a budget and was too tired to stay awake at a restaurant).
Again, this hostel situation is just the best. Learning so much about so many people! Everyone is on such interesting journeys; two guys (both about a year younger than me) are traveling from the Netherlands all around North America for two months! Toronto, Montreal, Philly (!!!), Chicago, L.A., etc.! Sounds so cool. I love how adventure-oriented all of these individuals are; we all really connect with each other. Two guys from Germany bought a car in the beginning of their journey (they’ve been to various cities around the U.S. already and are ending in Toronto at the end of this week) and must sell it before they fly back. How cool is that?
Another funny coincidence is that I was looking through photos from today and I found one that has my friend Heidi, another girl staying in the hostel, in the foreground! I was in such a rush (it was when I was hurrying to find out information about my car) that I didn’t notice then, but I just now called her over to show her the photo:
She got a kick out of it and asked me to send it to her.
Anyway, time for me to go to bed. I’ve got a long drive tomorrow, so another early start for me!
Another day under my belt.
New Brunswick, here I come!