The Feminists: We Stopped To Stare, Goggle-Eyed

Well. After a gross and sticky start to the day, everything got better when we found a Tim Horton’s at McGill. After a change of clean clothes and a furtive sponge bath and of course, an extra large double double I felt almost restored to my naturally charming self.
Ferdy, Mike and I spent the whole day together wandering around. Grief stayed in the van to feed the meter. He doesn’t like exploring and deplores enthusiasm and childlike wonder in all creatures. All he really needs are some video games and his laptop to amuse himself. So the childlike wonderers struck out determined to find adventure. We started with a delicious breakfast at Cafe Imagination, whereupon we drank more coffee, munched on baguettes and croissants, and conversed amicably about what went wrong and right at last night’s show, improvements to song arrangements, and future plans. I am amazed that I can spend so much time with these guys and still enjoy talking to them. And they make me laugh…all the time. Anyone who says that men and women can’t enjoy deep meaningful platonic friendships has obviously never been in a co-ed rock band.
It was sunny and warm with a light breeze. Once again the streets were packed with people as were the hundreds of restaurant patios. I was slowly being overwhelmed by a feeling of relaxed pleasure…everybody around me was eating, drinking, smoking and chatting as the rest of the world hurried by. French and English mingled casually, often within one conversation.
We walked for hours down Rue St. Denis, St. Catherine, and Saint Laurent. There was so much to look at. On every block we stopped to stare, goggle-eyed at some beautiful apartments, or gallery, or restaurant, or record store…into which Belland periodically disappeared to feed his addiction.
In the late afternoon as the shadows were beginning to lengthen, we stopped in a tiny, dark wood panelled, thickly carpeted narrow pub and had a drink. As I was sipping my glass of red wine and the boys socked away their pints, I thought “I want to remember this”. It had been a good day.
Montreal is a beautiful, romantic city with a forceful presence, personality and character. I have never before experienced such a vibrant, exciting place. Of all the Canadian cities I have seen, Montreal is the most beguiling and seductive. I wonder if my impression of the city was so favorable because of the film festival, or the nice weather or if it’s always like that. At any rate, I am sufficiently intruiged to find out and look forward to my next visit.
Eventually, we made our way back to the van and met up with Grief. We were exhausted but grinning uncontrollably. In my perfect world, I would rent a second floor apartment in one of those old brownstones atop a flight of spiraling iron stairs with a delicately wrought railing tangled with trailing ivy, a window box overflowing with geraniums, and narrow french doors flung open onto a tiny balcony. There I would sit, drinking double lattes, and watch an endless stream of laughing beautiful people rush by. Hopefully I would be able to eavesdrop enough to improve my French.
I can’t wait to come back. I feel like the high point of the tour has
happened for me and I’ll accept whatever comes next with nothing but gratefulness that I had the chance to absorb the smallest, sweetest taste of Montreal.
We had a fun short drive to Cornwall and camped there. Tomorrow it’s onward to Kingston.