Today is Independence Day for my friends of the American persuasion, and Americans - I'ma let y'all finish, but right now I want to recap my weekend in Montreal for Canada Day!

Thanks to some good friends (heyyyy, KB and V!), the main squeeze and I had round trip, business class tickets to Montreal on VIA Rail, and we were more than ready to get away. Planning this trip wasn't as easy as I expected. Between his busy weekends and mine, it was almost impossible to find a weekend where we were both free to run away from the city. We finally sorted things out, and we were on the way!

I was especially looking forward to this train ride, since I can barely remember the one time I took the train when I was younger. Traveling business class? Free drinks and food? Comfy seats and ample leg room? I was 'bout it. Everything was lovely until we took our rightful place at the head of the boarding line, and the line was stopped to allow us on first. I didn't realize that line bypass was one of the business class perks, and it seemed that a few folks in the economy line didn't realize that either. Or, maybe it was just good ole ignorance rearing its ugly head. You see, the White couple in front of us had no issues, but when HomieLoverFriend and I walked up, we were met with "The end of the line is back there!" and "ex-CUSE me?!" Sigh. The VIA Rail staff were kind and professional, and the sting faded away once I got a rum and Coke in my hand.

About 6 hours later, we finally reached our destination. After checking into our hotel, Le Centre Sheraton Montreal, we hit the road to do what would be a frequent activity over the weekend - eat DELICIOUS food.

The weekend was full of delights that appealed to my Taurean spirit. Decadence, luxury, good food, drinks, and other pretty things - Montreal had it all. When we weren't sitting on a patio eating some amazing pasta or burgers, we were on a patio drinking 2-for-1 drinks and colourful cocktails called The Hawaiian Punch. Montreal nightlife was interesting. With the legal drinking age at 18, it seemed like a LOT of the freaks that came out at night were young as all get out. I realized that if I REALLY wanted to party in Montreal, I needed to get up on some Haitian tunes - the songs sounded dope, but I had no idea of the call and responses and accompanying dances that everyone else was doing. Most food joints were open til 5am, so finding after-club eats wasn't hard at all. Poutine, burgers, and Pogos were the go-to late night foods, and I enjoyed every single bite!

We hit up the Montreal Jazz Festival, which was surprisingly lackluster the day we went. The most entertainment we had was from a street performer named SnapBoogie who had a gang of people posted up on the sidewalk, watching him as he did tricks like jumping and flipping over 5 petrified audience members. The streets of Montreal were more interesting than any organized event, and this was also true on Canada Day.

The day started out calm and cool, with polite old ladies and babies in parks waving Canadian flags. We saw a few picnics and some gatherings at downtown cathedrals, and I marveled at the quaintness of Montreal's celebrations. However - that all changed after Spain won the Euro Cup. Montreal turned into Little Espana, and all quaintness was gone. People screaming, cars honking, huge Spain flags billowing out of windows - the city went wild. I just shook my head. Canadians always talk about the brash patriotism of the US, but here we were, celebrating Spain's win more than we did our own country. Meh.

My favourite part of the trip was when the Boo and I took a walk through Old Montreal. The oldest area of the city is nestled near the St. Lawrence River, and houses historical buildings from the 1600s. A history lover like me was in heaven with the old architecture and cobblestone streets, until my comfy flats broke and I had to traipse around in platform wedges o__O

Before we knew it, it was time to head to the train station and make our way back home. Another comfy VIA Rail ride awaited us, and soon we were back at Union Station, greeted by the sounds of horns honking and taxi drivers cussing. Ah, Toronto. There's no place like home.

My Canucks: How did you celebrate Canada Day? What do you think of our level of patriotism here in the Great North? For my Americanos: Happy Independence Day! We thank you for Michael Jackson, Texas BBQ, and the dudes with the cute accents who visit us at Caribana time! How are y'all gettin' down for the 4th?


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