Je suis ici


Originally uploaded by dcwriterdawn

I tell you, five years of high school French don’t mean SHIT when you’re turning 36 in a week. I’m not even trying to pretend I know the language!

After the Tuesday Day o’ Meetings, I was free to do mah thang. The lovely gal in the gift shop — who was born in D.C. and left South Florida a few years ago … does that mean Montreal is my next home? — recommended I should explore Rue Saint-Catherine.

Apparently Rue S-C has a string of British shops/pubs on one end, and French cafes/stores on the other. I walked the length of it. Same stores on both sides, although the British side rocked my world. Highlights? H&M and Urban Outfitters — neither of which South Florida has the courtesy to offer. Bastards! 😉

Actually, there were a variety of designer outlets — mirroring The Magnificent Mile in Chicago — but there were two locations of many of them on this street.

The bummer is that everybody but the restaurants rolled up their sidewalks promptly at 6 p.m. Excuse me, but this was my only night to go out and shop, merci beaucoup.

With literally not a damn thing else to do, I want to have dinner at Les 3 Brasseurs. I never spoke a word, and I was handed a French menu.

I had it mostly figured out (biere! terrine! salade! s’il vous plait!) until my server started talking. Upon seeing my very blank stare in response, she said, “Want an English menu?” LOL. Yup.

The nice thing up here is that the U.S. dollar is almost at parity with the Loonie, so I can actually pay with the money I have in my wallet without bothering with the exchange rate or having to go somewhere to get Canadian dollars.

At first I thought people were kind of rude up here. But really, if you run into someone with an attitude around Montreal, chances are that they’re from the United States.

I’m not saying anyone’s overly friendly — other than the gal at the hotel boutique and a guy on the street who was asking me to support the local AIDS organization, I haven’t had my socks knocked off by any signs of intellectualism or sweetness.

I think I had visions of Montreal being a grand city on a hill. And it is, to some extent. But far from being paved in gold, it’s easily interchangeable with Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Chicago.

If the signs weren’t in French and I were a little too tipsy, I might not be able to tell the difference. (Until I tried to get a cab and couldn’t remember that my hotel is on Rue Rene Levesque.)

We’re going to take a little walking tour this morning. All I brought were my dressy flip-flops, so I shall be suffering in the name of cute. It’s a hard life, I know!

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