Road Trip Driving Day 5: from Chicopee to Montreal

We spent a couple of days in Massachusetts before setting out for Montreal, which is so amazing by the way that if I never have to leave it might be too soon. The Quebecois pride themselves on being very French. It’s a bit extreme, since even in France the stop signs say “Stop” and here they say “Arret” but in many, in fact I would say most surface ways, they are in fact very French. In Montreal there are these tall skinny townhouse-type buildings with very steep roofs and just a few blocks from my dad’s place there’s a pedestrian walkway which is loaded with brasseries, marches, desert shops, clothing stores and it’s all ridiculously expensive. The parking is a way too difficult too. The only thing that might make this neighborhood more French is if the people parked on the sidewalk and parking illegally were an accepted practice rather than a ticket receiving nightmare. The French basically follow the practice that if you found a space to park and you’re really not in anyone’s way, you deserve to stay there without the hassle of a ticket. The Quebecois are not so forgiving.
Things are different than I had expected. Everyone here in Montreal speaks English, but they all natively speak French and the whole province it seems natively speaks French. If you’re a native English speaker, it’s because you’re American and attending one of the Universities here or you might work at the Embassy or American Consulate, or you’re a tourist. I hate being a tourist.
So we left Chicopee at about 3:30 in the afternoon and headed this way. We drove through Vermont, where I saw another car with Utah plates. Feel free to make a face of confusion here. I thought I was the only one crazy enough to drive cross country in a small car with a bumper hanging off bald tires and a brown door. I’m pretty sure the boarder control guy on the Canadian side had roughly the same thought. We got to Montreal about 8:40 at night and immediately couldn’t find a parking space. I found one that indicated I could stay there for the night, but would have to move before 8 AM on Friday morning. I don’t typically move ME before 8 AM. So, I looked out the window every so often to see if a parking space had opened up closer to my dad’s front door. About 10-ish I got really lucky: an unrestricted parking space just to the side of a fire hydrant opened up. So I hauled my butt out and moved my car into the best parking space I’ve ever seen. This is one of those parking spaces you are never to give up once you have it. You set up camp there with a tent if you have to move your car, or you could always just live in your car. I personally think that God was giving me a break after all of the flat tire nonsense. Either that or my powers of telekinesis are getting stronger and moved a car without my looking. Nope nope, can’t be that; I can’t even move the paper on the table in front of me. I think God is benevolent today, rather than looking for a laugh at my misfortune.


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