MONTREAL FOR THE WEEKEND

April 20, 2009

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I was late (some would say ‘as usual’) and Davis and Mike were anxious. They left me messages and as I drove to Mike’s place but I knew there would be little benefit to hearing them. I threw my stuff into Davis’ Jetta (or Jettre in Canadian?) and assumed the shotgun position for the five hour jaunt.

The border crossing was uneventful, which is good because you never want ‘events’ happening at the border. The first stop after the border was hitting the store for snacks and supplies. I really don’t know why it is so amazing that just a half hour north of Sugarloaf USA people are speaking only French. Yet it always is

“Merci, beaucomp.” I told the cleark, a frail attempt to speak the native tongue as I took my bag of Canadian road trip purchases.

I usually travel in Spanish speaking countries and can linguistically navigate
through most public situations. I felt a bit helpless at least as far as making conversation or jokes. I didn’t even have a cool accent with which to butcher the home language like the Australians I meet traveling in Latin America: “Whole-la, Amaaaygo. Como est-ass? Me La-mo Daiy-vid!”

We pointed the car west and drove until Montreal appeared on the horizon. We covered such topics as:

  • How Canada has purple money.
  • We tried to figure out how far Montreal is in real life (miles), not in those silly kilometers.
  • Talked at length about what being one of the million deer we saw on the way would be like. (Very straight road, very boring)
  • Socialism (laughing at, not with)
  • Wishing the Montreal Expos were still around. Big time.
  • Wondering how many loonies and toonies it will cost to get into the Canadians hockey game.

Embassy Suites would be our headquarters for the weekend. As we pulled up next to an Audi it was apparent that we may be a bit outclassed (not dissing the Jettre, Davis). As we retrieved our backpacks (speaking of classy) from the trunk we noticed a small group of people stood outside the door, including a man dressed in leather jacket that had bright gold dress shoes.

Our suite was not bad for $65 a night (thanks Hotwire), and like hillbillies seeing a neon light for the first time we jumped around the place laughing and pointing in awe. Davis stepped out of the bathroom with the Embassy Suites complimentary bathrobe on, thankfully over his clothes.

Then we went out on the town.

Late the next morning we arose and hit the streets for breakfast, which given our complete lack of planning/research turned into a long, hungry walk. Blindly looking for any particular place in the city is similar to chasing mirages in the desert. Each block that looks promising and filled with diners and breakfast joints from afar seems to have nothing up close. Up close diners and breakfast joints magically transform into closed laundromats, a nail place, and a smoky bail bonds office.

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I wouldn’t say the locals despise American tourists, but ‘welcoming’ may not be the right word either.

Eventually it was found. We had a good feeding session then set off for the contemporary art museum.  I think my favorite types of art museums are contempoaray art museums.  I find the art there humorous–like a jab in the chest at people taking art and life too seriously.  Last April it was Chicago’s contemporary musuem, now it was off to the Contempoarary Art Museum of  Montreal.Post modern art is a great deal about conveying a message so there often there is a deeper meaning in the art but how it is portrayed comes in a variety of forms, such as looping video, illuminated marquee signs with homeless people on them, or as we saw in Montreal, large canvases of solid color and nothing else.

Here are some highlights of the minimalist painter Claude Toissagnt exhibit:

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Red on canvas.  And to think all this time I thought that I had to go to work for a living.

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I don’t think Mike understands the underlying intricacies of the artists work.  He explains his feelings in a more gestural manner.

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Davis and Mike pose for the album cover of their upcoming folk album “Power to the Flower People”

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We tried to tell Davis that doing the wave just looks friggin stupid with only one person and that he should have tried something else for the picture in the neon pyramid exhibit.  Davis is stubborn.

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Claude Toissagnt is famous for creating some of the easiest and most brainless mazes in the world.

After the museum and a few refreshments at the hotel we went out for the night.  The next morning it was back in Le Jettre for the long ride home .

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One Response to “MONTREAL FOR THE WEEKEND”

  1. anthony said

    i love the photos. they are well photographed. thanks for the share…

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