Last night, I had to assure myself I wasn’t hearing anything more than normal whispers and footsteps that the walls had been designed to magnify so the guards could hear prisoners before I finally wrestled myself in to sleep. When I was finally out, I was out like a light, so I was a little startled when my alarm went off.
Senem and I grabbed breakfast at Mugshots before walking to the Rideau Centre to grab our bus out to the train station. We got dropped at the station just as they started boarding my train, so she and I said our goodbyes and I hopped in line.
The ride to Montréal was short, but the train smacked of small, screaming, crying children and parents who were letting them run all over the place and invade other people’s space, so I was chomping at the bit to get out of there, though I was bummed that I didn’t have the chance to finish watching Being Canadian, which was a very enjoyable, funny documentary.
It was a quick walk up Boulevard René Lesveque to get to the hostel. I was there before check-in started, so they let me dump my bag in the storage room. I whipped up a quick playlist of French music to listen to so I could try to switch into my “French brain” before setting out for a little romp around the area.
I walked over to Rue Sainte-Catharine, which is a big shopping street in Montréal. I stopped into a few shops and tied my hardest to speak French in every one. Overall I was pretty successful, though when I ordered food at a crêperie the clerk noticed that my accent wasn’t quite right and started answering all my questions in English. I asked the hostel staff about that later and they assured me that it’s not meant to be insulting; pretty much everyone in Montréal is totally bilingual, and if they can tell you’re speaking a language that maybe isn’t your native one, they’ll switch over to help.
Around 3:00 pm, I turned to head back towards the hostel. I saw a clipboard advertising a pub crawl for the night and signed myself up. I went to settle into my room and was joined by part of a Gaelic football team from Halifax who are all in town for a tournament. They are all really nice; they even asked me if I’d like to come as a sub tomorrow!
With all my things settled in, I got myself ready for my night out then went down to the hostel’s bar for some food and to meet up with the crawl group. I tried a sandwich with Montréal’s famous smoked meat and a bottle of La Fin du Monde, a Québec beer, and was not disappointed by either. I met Bonnie from Australia while I was sitting at the bar, and we wound up hanging out for most of the night.
The crawl left the hostel at about 9:30 pm. As we were walking to the métro to get to the first bar, I met Ryan and Tom, who are both med students at the University of Manitoba! At the first bar, Benelux, Bonnie and I sat at a table with Mitch, from Edmonton, and Josh, from Melbourne. Mitch and Josh had met on a Contiki Tour through Europe and had been traveling in NYC before they got to Montréal. They had lots of great stories from their time in Europe, including their quest to learn how to saw “I am moist” in a ton of different languages because they figured women all around the world would cringe as they heard it.
From Benelux, our crawl leader, Michael, led us to the Bar Bifteck. It was a drive kind of place with cheap beer, so we didn’t stay for too long. Ryan and Tom joined Bonnie, Josh, Mitch and I, and all of us Winnipegers talked about classic U of M and Winnipeg nightlife things like old Country Night at The Ranch and the hole that was AREA.
With our cheap beers downed, it was time to head to the last stop of the night, which was by far my favorite: TRH (pronounced “trash”). It was a skate bar, complete with a small caged skatepark in the middle. They were playing great 90s hiphop all night, but also threw in some break rock things like Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” and “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys. It is honestly probably one of the best bars I have ever been to. Our group danced for a while before going to take a breather on the patio.
Bonnie, Josh, Mitch, and I were all starting to feel a bit knackered, so we decided it was time to head back to the hostel. After making the disappointing discovery that . I ordered my meal in French, at which point Josh told me he needed me to scale back the French because I wasn’t fitting his image of the typical ignorant American, which got a good laugh from all of us. Food in hand, we walked the rest of the way back to the hostel to eat in the basement before all deciding it was time to finally get some sleep.
It is now a little after 4:00 am. I didn’t realize how late it would be, because I just assume bars close at 2:00 am like they do in Winnipeg, but they actually stay open till 3:00 am. I’m supposed to go on a walking tour of Old Montréal tomorrow that the hostel is hosting, so it’s definitely time to turn in so I’ll actually get up in time to leave with everyone!