Montreal Visit II – Couch Surfing & Other Cool Shit

19 – 21 November 2010

I felt I’d cut my previous time in Montreal a little too short so I was happy to be back in town. This time I met couchsurfer Eric and his flatmates as well as couchsufer Sarah and her brother; Sarah & I also caught up with Jared and Erin one night, it was sweet to see them again. I also meet up with Obi and Ali, the two Aussi’s I’d arranged to drive across Canada with. In the midst of all this meeting and chilling with cool people I had this diarrhetic farting shit going on, so I talk briefly on this topic too.

Having made my way into the center of Montreal I found a cafe to sit at and sent out some couch requests. Eric was kind enough to respond and a couple of hours later I met Eric at the cafe and we headed down the road to his place. I met his girlfriend, flatmate and another kiwi guy named Steve who was staying with them for a while. Later that night we went out and watched the hockey match between Montreal and Toronto at a micro brewery bar before heading to a live music venue. It was a fun night, Montreal’s the best! I only ended up spending that one night at Eric’s place which is never enough time to really get to know someone. On first impressions Eric seemed like a super cool guy, we’ll have to have a beer next time I find myself in Montreal.

Here’s a Youtube parking video, completely unrelated to my blog post, just for shits & giggles…

I started the following day slowly making arrangements to move to another couchsurfers place and doing a little work on my blog. It was cold weather outside, deceptively so with clear skies and a shining sun but there existed a chill which soon made un-gloved hands burn and become ineffective at simple tasks like doing up a jacket zipper or tying ones shoelaces. I soon decided I was better off inside and headed to a cafe where I enjoyed a coffee and their free internet.

At 5.30pm I met Sarah at the Cote de Saint Catherine metro stop and we walked to the house she shares with her younger brother James and another flat mate who I never met. Sarah had finished her studies and was making ends meet working a couple of jobs, her younger brother had recently started studying and was enjoying the student life and independence from home. Their personalities were quite different but they seemed to work well together, Sarah was the older, quieter and more reserved one while James was more extroverted – he would excitedly and continuously talk about stuff until at some point Sarah, the responsible older sister would have to quietly yet firmly say, “James, you don’t need to talk so loud, we’re only here and we’re not going anywhere in a hurry.”

That night Sarah went to her Flamenco dancing lesson and I caught up with Jarred and Erin who coincidentally lived very close to the dance studio. Erin was having people over for drinks and I had a few beers with them before Sarah came around and we had a few more beers. It was a fun evening of talking with new people and I even learnt to play a new card based drinking game (like snap but with tricky shapes), it was incredibly hard.

Later that night we continued on in search of Sarah’s friends, making a brief yet enjoyable stop at a beer, snack and wine bar (interesting). Just as we were arriving at our destination (the party) the police were shutting it down, it would seem I was being introduced to a little bit of Montreal’s underground party culture, pity I’d just missed it. Moving on to plan B we made our way to a house and had some further drinks, I actually got pretty drunk after somewhat misjudging the potency of a vodka/water concoction. In the end we did find another underground party but by this time it was past 3am and I was feeling both drunk and tired so we decided to head back, arriving at Sarah’s around 5am. Holy shit, what a late night.

Naturally the following day involved a long sleep in and then a trip to a breakfast place that James was pretty keen on. James and Sarah had debated about where to take me, James wanted to go to the incredibly cheap American style fry up place while Sarah wanted to go somewhere a little nicer and more sophisticated; in the end she let her little brother have his way this time. The food was basic and bloody cheap; $1.99 plus tax for two eggs, toast, bacon and a coffee. Try beat that. Afterwards Sarah took me to a cemetery she enjoys walking through, she’s not weird it was just a nice cemetery (although we enjoyed a laugh about the idea of it). It was part of a big park and made for a nice walk in a relaxing and not at all spooky kind of way. On the way back Sarah headed home but I decided to go see the big church thing. It was nice enough.

Meanwhile in the ass department issues were afoot, not exactly diarrhea just huge amounts of gas build up which would become uncomfortable and I would be forced to find a toilet, I would then sit and fart for about five minutes. I won’t go into any more detail other than to say my trip to the ‘big church thing’ was more driven by the need to find a bathroom than the desire to see the inside of another church – farting obnoxiously for five minutes in someone elses thin walled bathroom is not exactly part of my couchsurfing etiquette.

That evening Sarah was at work and James and I were hanging out; I spoke with James and arranged for Ali and Obi, the two Australians I’d organised to rideshare to Vancouver with, to come over so we could plan our trip. For some reason when I’d first been in contact with Ali and Obi I’d been under the impression that they were dating, they weren’t. It turned out they knew each other from the Bike Polo scene in Vancouver. They both came across as typical Aussi’s; good, honest fun people, in Canada to have a good time and explore another part of the world.

Ali & Obi hadn’t planned anywhere to stay that night and James ended up offering them the living room floor; this didn’t go down too well with Sarah when she got back from work later. She was understandably frustrated that her younger, more impulsive brother had let two people stay the night that she didn’t know and without consulting the other flatmates [her] as was the flat agreement. I sympathised and felt awkward as I’d inadvertently created a situation which stepped over the line of implied couchsurfing etiquette.

After everyone got over this unfortunately awkward situation we all enjoyed a fun night at some party somewhere.

The following day after another $1.99 breakfast with James, Ali and Obi I packed my stuff into the back of Obi’s blue 70’s Volvo station wagon, and that was that, we were off (kind of).

The Beast

That day we went downtown and walked around with a friend of Ali’s from Vancouver before going to a local Bike Polo meet on the waterfront in the evening. I’d never seen bike polo before, never even heard of it before Ali and Obi turned up. They had a couple of single speed bikes strapped to the top of the Volvo and part of the reason for the trip to the East coast of Canada had been to play polo.

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We stayed that night at Chuck’s, someone Obi had met in Guatemala at the Messenger World Championships. Chuck was an interesting character, he gave us beers and stuff to entertain ourselves with, he was a big movie and music fan and showed us some pretty bizarre out there horror movies. Not going to lie, it was kinda’ weird.