Fri 23 Sep 2005 - Fri 30 Sep 2005
Flying into Montreal on Friday, I headed straight to Hurleys in the city. I think the taxi-driver was a bit thrown by the fact that I wanted to go to a pub rather than a hotel. Maybe I should make a habit of it. Though this time, I had a decent reason; the grandest Travellerspoint meetup to date, total attendance: 9. It didn't take long to spot Kris (beerman) inside. Sam (Sam I Am), Gretchen (Isadora), Tina (tway), Anne (areinstein) and Viv (mtlgal) were all already there enjoying their martinis and beers and generally having a good time. The conversation went something like this:
Sam: "Did you know I was upgraded to business class?"
Gretchen: "Yes, you've been telling us about it all day"
Sam: "It wasn't actually that comfortable, the service was better in Economy Class on Singapore Airlines"
then start again from the top and repeat that 5 times.
Kris: "How about selling a TP beer?"
Sam and Peter: "Yeah, great idea. Let's drink to that!"
We were still expecting Evan (aka SeeTheSky) to join us that evening, but considering none of us knew what he actually looked like, we spent the rest of the night calling "See The Sky" out to random strangers. Apart from a few odd looks, no damage was done. Unfortunately, no-one actually understood our secret code either.
Next morning we gathered for an eggcelent (pun intended) breakfast at Eggspectations. Again, waiting for Evan meant a few random 'See the Sky' comments to strangers until eventually we actually did make contact. In fact, Evan was at the pub the night before and we had yelled out Evan, but clearly not loud enough. He had spent the night talking to some Scottish strangers instead. Our last attendee Quan (Q_Zhang) turned up 30 minutes later and so our group was complete.
Tina, the only local with us at that stage, guided us up the Parc du Mont Royal for some great views of the city. Of course, we were parched at the top and had to rush back down fairly soon to quench our thirst. A couple of hours passed, savouring some local beer and Poutine, a tribute to bad health, involving fries topped with cheese curd and gravy.. mmm.. Well, even if it is bad for you, it must be had to savour the local culture right?
We took a break for a few hours - went and drank some more beer actually and played some pool before heading to the Hard Rock Cafe to see a friend of Tina's play. Turns out Evan is a budding pyromaniac and Anne and Quan were easily enough convinced to join in! In fact, before too long we had created some phenomenally beautiful sculptural structures by melting plastic straws to the table cloth. Clearly things were getting out of control !!
The following morning involved breakfast at Chez Cora, then a metro ride down to Old Montreal. Kris and Gretchen had to farewell us at this stage.. but not before this very glamourous shot:
photo courtesy Anne
A couple of hours of drinking and doodling later (a sort of pass-the-pen-and-add-to-the-drawing game Evan came up with), Anne had to leave us as well. We got her into a cab, reassuring her that yes, the cabs work the same here as in NY - you just tell them where to go and they go there. The gathering was pretty much over.
All in all, the get-together seemed a success to me - lots of great conversations, good food and some interesting sights thrown in.
Montreal is actually a very nice city; some beautiful old buildings, great nightlife, good restaurants everywhere and a general friendly atmosphere. Sam and I spent the rest of the week there, working mainly, and soaking up some of the great Montreal atmosphere. Evan stayed with us a few days before catching the train back to NY, providing some entertainment, particularly on one crazy night time bush bashing adventure to get to the top of Parc du Mont Royal. Nice view though.
More photos from the meet-up here: TP Meetup Montreal