Monday, March 26, 2012

Montreal 2009 Day Two

Montreal 2009 Day Two

Current mood: disappointed

May 14, 2009

This was a total me day. I had no place to be and no time to be there. I wasn't going to visit the convalescence home seeing all the patients there were leaving and a few new patients would be due in. It was going to be very hectic there. This would be my chance to finally visit the places I had wanted to see my first two trips to Montreal, but never got to.

I woke up to the sounds of very, very heavy winds and gray skies. Showers were forecast through the morning and afternoon, but the wind advisory was what made most note of. I mapped out my best route and headed into Montreal. I love the city of Montreal, granted it is old, but there is a vibe there. The one thing I hate about Montreal is, the roads suck and traffic is horrendous.

I parked at the Bell Centre, the home of the Montreal Canadiens. For a major city, the parking was cheap, $8 for the day. The attendant pointed me in the proper direction and when I told him I wanted to visit the Monreal Forum (now the Pepsi Forum) he responded that I was going to need my car for that. I love walking in big cities and assured him I'll be fine. My first stop was out side the Bell Centre and a special pavilion with statues and trophies of former players and of the glorious history of the Montreal Canadiens.

Bell Centre, Montreal QUE 5/14/09

I then started to head towards St Catherine St and the business district to find the Montreal Forum. But I hit the street that the Queen Elizabeth Hotel was on. This is where John Lennon held his second Bed-In and where "Give Peace A Chance" was recorded. The wind was nasty by the Bell Centre but when I turned up this street it was like being in a wind tunnel. The wind was non-stop. I hate wearing a coats, so I had elected to leave my coat in the car and was getting strange looks from the other people in Montreal. Trust me, after being in downtown Montreal in January 2008, 60 degrees with heavy winds, felt like a heatwave.

I found the Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Unfortunately I don't have the $600 a night it takes to stay in the actual room where John & Yoko stayed and held the Bed-In. But I did manage to a least see the hotel.Sad thing is, when I was there with Carrie, Gaily, Michelle & Linda (The Ohhh Canada Five), when we were shopping in the underground mall, we were only two blocks away from the hotel and never knew it. For that matter we were very close to the Bell Centre too, maybe three blocks. We were literally inthe middle of the three places I had wanted to see and never saw any of them.

Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal QUE 5/14/09

Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal QUE 5/14/09

I then headed towards St Catherine St. It was here that I found some familiar sights and realised this was the touch base of the area the Ohhh Canada Five spent freezing and ducking into stores to get warm. This is when I truly realized how much I missed having them there. I was also reminded how much I love those chicks and no matter what how I'll never, ever be able to repay the kindness that they gave to me when coming to Montreal for moral support. I wished they were there this time, when theweather was tolerable (ok, windy as all hell) there was no snow or ice on the sidewalks, and I was stress free and able to relax and be myself.

I passed the places we visited and where Gaily bought her dog hat and "the Window" bought her frog hat, and couldn't help but smile. I passed the restaurant (Scores)where we had lunch and clowns were outside the door as we exited, much to Michelle's dismay.

Maybe seven or eight blocks south of there, was the old Montreal Forum. We were that close and hadn't a clue. The Montreal Forum was the home of the Montreal Canadiens for most of their storied history and the home of 22 Stanley Cups. It is also noted for that's where the Beatles played in 1964, Rush recorded most of "Exit....Stage Left" and Queen recorded "Queen Rocks Montreal" It is now a mini mall and massive movie theater. I went inside and throughout the building are reminders of the buildings history, sections of restored grandstand seating and the main floor is painted with the markings where they hockey rink was. The rafters were still visible in the main area and with music being pumped in, you could feel and hear the echo and boom that was present in this buildings glory days.

I was amazed at just how small the actual building was. And I sat for a while in the center just looking while a young mom and her child were nearby and her daughter being completely taken with me, for some reason. But they were very friendly. This trip I found the people of Montreal to be friendlier than ever before.

I head back uptown and tried to find Bishop St, where Comedy Works is and Peel St to grab lunch. Sprinkles lightly began to fall, but nothing to stop me from walking. I found the Peel Pub, where even one seems insistent I have to go. The place had everything from businessmen to college kids going in, so I figured it must be ok. It wasn't much different than a pub that could be found in Boston. But as I ate my lunch, I saw one group to my right with a pitcher of beer that looked like a small fish tank. It was 140 oz. of beer. Now, I understood why everyone makes this a must see Montreal stop.

As I left the Peel Pub, I could see it was now raining, I debated having another beer, but didn't figure it was rain too hard and I wasn't too far away from the Bell Centre. I would leave as I don't need a DUI in Canada. As I walked back to the car, I got wet but not too bad.....until I turned onto Rene Levesque Blvd (the same street as the Queen Elizabeth Hotel) the wind blew non-stop and the rain felt like pins against any exposed skin. Other folks were using their umbrellas, not over their heads, but as a shield in front of them. I remembered in January being cold until we'd hit a cross street and the temperature would drop due to wind, well this time it was exactly the same.

I finally arrived at the Bell Centre totally drenched and frozen. With my glasses blurred by fog and rain, I accidentally walked past the elevators to the parking garage and went to the elevators that lead to the executive offices of the Montreal Canadiens. I pushed a button and waited...and waited....until security came and asked if they could help me. I said I was trying to get to the parking garage. Security politely pointed me to the proper bank of elevators. Oppppps.......

I went back to the bed & breakfast to change clothes and dry off. In turn I took a brief nap too. I then headed out for the Boston Bruins vs Carolina Hurricanes game 7. Granted, I wanted to try some place different than Boston Pizza, but the food was good and I knew the game would be on the tv. So I returned after a quick stop at the Wal-Mart the Ohh Canada Five visited the previous year. I sat at the bar wearing my Bruins jersey (a ballsy thing to do in Montreal) and noticed I wasn't alone in wearing a Bruins jersey. Phew...I had an allie. But no one hastled me and in fact, the folks were quite friendly.

The bartender, whom was my waiter the previous night, and I hit it off well and it turned into a good night, despite the Bruins lack luster play and completely choking in over time.

I headed back to the bed & breakfast quite disappointed at my all time favorite sports team, eliminated yet once again. Thanks to going into over time, I was later than the night before, and yes the lights wereout and everyone was asleep, yet again.

The next day was my doctor's appointment but would be turned into an interesting day to say the least.

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