The Official First Montreal Not-A-Travelogue Post

I am literally at a loss on what to talk about and what to omit about Montreal and the two weeks I have now successfully spent here! So to make it easier on the eyes, I’ve sorted everything into categories. More organised than my head can ever be.

If this post feels disconnected, it’s because my memories are! These posts are for keep-sake anyway…

Pre-Montreal:

I’ll begin with the day I left Mumbai (don’t groan now!), I had 10 people come to the airport to drop me off. 10. Waterworks were on open display as well. But the interesting part began much later. It had started- my first international trip, alone. I had two seats to myself, so I spent the better part of my 9 hour journey sleeping. And then watching movies. I saw Planes, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (again), an Oscar winning documentary about back-up singers. And then slept again.

Cut to landing at Schiphol- the Amsterdam Airport. I had 8 hours to spend there, with no visa, a card that wasn’t activated and a heavy bag to drag around that majorly consisted of my (very fat) dictionary and other books that just kept going out of control! There are two things worth talking about at Schiphol:

  1.       It’s sheer size. It’s huge. HUGE is an understatement.
  2.       How comfortable everything is.

There’s a museum, a library, two hotels to stay at, a casino, a kids area, numerous restaurants in addition to the spas, bars, internet centers, waiting areas and a huge viewing area to see flights come in and take off from. After an hour of aimless drifting, I simply did what I do best. I slept. Schiphol has these huge chairs, sofas and comfy lounge type couches where you can simply lie down. Like a very experienced traveler of the Indian railways, I held onto my bags on a trolley with my foot on it and slept for a good 2 hours.

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“Bed” and Bags

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of vegetarian places at Schiphol. Fortunately, I research the life out of everything before stepping out of my house. If you’ve heard that Amsterdam is famous for cheese and that it is out of this world, I think I can correct you on it. The four cheese pizza I had at Pizza Pasta Panini was probably made by aliens. Didn’t get it? “Jaadoo” type aliens? Still no? It was like magic? Note to self: Stop cracking that one, no one gets it.

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Wait for foooooooooooooood!

Since my first flight was sooo brilliantly comfortable, the second had to be absolutely horrid. I was between a 68 year old lady and a 15 year old boy. In the middle seats. I was practically in the center of the flight, away from the loos and the exits and from the nearest window too. *cue tragic music*

After 30 minutes of fiddling with the seat to make it comfortable enough, I dozed off only to be woken up because my lunch had arrived. Flight food. Hmpf. When the flight landed at Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau I had slept for a total of about 23 hours in the 26 since Mumbai. All hail me!

At Montreal:

It was exactly 0 degrees when I landed at Montreal and waited for the person with whose family I was to stay the week. in that 20-minute period, I saw family reunions, dog reunions, hamster reunions (I am not kidding) and one person being dragged off in handcuffs. It was literally like I had landed in the middle of an ongoing play or a Bollywood movie (because everything, no matter how weird, has a predecessor on the B-Town reel). When I finally walked out of the airport, there was snow on the streets, a slight rainfall in the skies and breath so fresh and opaque that I could literally see it disseminate inches away from my mouth.

More to follow… Because I am sleepy.

P.S. This did turn out to be a travelogue-type post. Huh.

Fire and Snow.

This was not supposed to be my first post about Montreal. And certainly not what I planned! But this is too good to resist and I’m waayyyyy to excited to not blog about it!

I had my first fire drill today.

Read further only if you’re interested because there’s nothing interesting about a fire drill!

I started my internship officially today and then went and bought groceries, met a happy Bangladeshi man who gave me free samosas (story for another post) and then settled with a mug of hot soup. Then, suddenly, it all went whaaaaaaaaaaam! The sirens rang continously and I just looked at my roommates -Fariza and Jennifer- shrugged, and grabbed stuff and left the room.

Here’s a interesting bit of trivia about me: I’m scared of fire accidents. Terribly horrified of people burning alive. It tops my list of ways-in-which-I-don’t-want-to-die. Right on the top with violent attack by predatory birds. Obviously, I always have a mental map of things I need to grab when I leave the house frantically in case of fire (I’ve made sure my family knows the procedure too). So there we were, in a corridor  of people in various stages of undress looking dazed and yelling in French. I was so proud of myself having grabbed my mobile phone, coat, scarf and a wallet with my money, card and passport, consciously left the bag and laptop which I could’ve stuffed and taken, but didn’t. Go figure.

The pride lasted till I reached the snow outside the building and realised I wasn’t wearing socks, and people were actually walking out with three bags. REALLY? THREE? What do you do? Wait for a fire alarm to just get out with all the bags? -_- We were moved to the opposite building, that is UQAM, and just waited. It wasn’t assuring that no one had a clue whether it was a fire or a drill but really nice that it wasn’t at 1am (as was the last time that Fariza remembers). image

In ten minutes, we marched up the stairs to our fifth floor rooms and concurred that it might have been someone stupid who left the stove on after cooking, because the fire trucks showed up in two minutes. Sheesh. My hot soup is now as good as the snow outside.

PS. I’m still trying to figure how to pack and leave with three bags in a minute.

PPS. Is it weird I wasn’t worried about the over 100 pages of work I’ve painstakingly done over the last two months?! Hmpf.