quinta-feira, 29 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Eight

The trip to Montréal was quiet. There were those children but they slept soundly and there was no other problem. There was one stop at 4am. I was thirsty I had run out of water. I got some iced tea and went back to the bus. The guy who was sitting next to me was not coming back and when he did, the bus left.
We didn't talk but when it was close to Montréal, I guess I asked him if we were near and we talked for the  half hour until we got to our stop. I can't remember his name but he was a student in Toronto and was from Montréal so he went there to visit his family on the holiday.

When we got off, I started looking for the subway. It was still dark. A woman asked me if she could help me and I told her I was looking for the subway and she told me to follow her. We found the entrance and she waited for me while I was getting the tickets. Her name was Denise and she was from Montréal. We talked for some stations but I had to get off and she wished me good luck in my adventures.

As I got outside it was not so dark anymore. I could look around and see the city. I had informed the people who would be hosting me I would arrive quite early. I found the street I had to go but left or right? I got my compass app and decided I should go east. Part logics, part luck. I was walking alone, the streets of a new city, being welcomed by the first rays of light of that Sunday morning. I arrived. I climbed the stairs directly to the third floor.

As I entered, there was a big room. It had no walls and I could see a dining room, a kitchen and the living room. I found the toilet. The floor was wooden and as I walked it creaked. I wanted to be as silent as I could but the squeaking would continue at every step. I sat on the sofa. There were some people sleeping on the other side of the room. They looked up, I smiled, then I just lay down and tried to have some sleep.

It must have been 1 hour or so, some people started to come into this common area. The couple who was sleeping there changed and the man left. I decided it was time to wake up and introduce myself.

The Coop Généreux. I had found its profile by browsing couchsurfing and one guy to whom I would send a request was living there. I met him but we didn't even talk. One of the girls, Juliette, showed me everything. Here is the open fridge, you can take whatever, this other is private fridge, you should put your name on whatever you put there. She showed me me the toilet, the staircase that gave acess to the second floor where they have the rooms and to the roof.

As soon as the guy who was sleeping in the living room came back, he introduced himself and his wife: Simon and Anne were a couple from France who had plans to buy a truck and travel south, from Canada to Chile, if possible. They wanted to see everything and they were passionate and so sweet. They took me up to show me the roof. From there, we could see all the city and while Simon was smoking I was telling them about me and asking them about their plans. It was funny because Anne didn't speak good English and I didn't speak good French so we spoke something in between.

We got back in and had breakfast. I had some omellete Simon had made and drank some juice and had some fruits.

They had been there for some days so they gave me some suggestions on where I should be going and at this point I met Fink, one of the other residents and the one I interacted more with. He was gentle and showed me around again but I was too shy to say someone else had already told me all the rules of the house. I listened as if I was double checking. Then, he told me the best way to walk around the city was just taking some alley or narrow street and walking them. It was the best way to feel what it was really like. The day was sunny but the wind was cold. I started walking to the opposite direction I had come from.

Indeed, there were some interesting houses and alleys. Some streets looked very cozy. A lot of trees everywhere and the funny thing was that the houses were not so similar. You could see in the same street so different colors and architectures, although they have more or less the same pattern or size.

In no time I reached the Parc La Fontaine. It was a beautiful place, but I was happier when I was under the sun and not in the shade of the trees. I explored the park and even though it was Sunday, there were few people around.

I guess people feed squirrels here because they got so close, asking for food. I was trying to deceive one and it came as close as two steps from me.

There was this lake in the center of the park and this theater of vegetables. I don't know if they had plants acting, because the gate was closed but the name really called my attention.

After that I kept on walking. I had crossed the park and I was not really sure where I was going. There were more beautiful houses and I started approaching wider streets and higher buildings.

At this point I had already decided to go downtown. I was looking for a place to buy stamps. I was afraid the following day, which would be Canadian Thanksgiving, all the places would be closed. It was Sunday and even in Brazil I would not know where to get stamps on a Sunday. All the convenience stores I went to just had local stamps, it would not work for international posting. I had bought some postcards in Toronto and hadn't had the chance to post them there. Dale suggested me I should post them in Montréal. It was still Canada, right? I got to one drugstore and there was a counter to buy stationary and they had international stamps. The funny thing was: I bought five stamps because I had five postcards. It was 9 dollars. Then, I remembered I was going to buy 5 more postcards in Montréal to send to different people and I asked 5 stamps more. 18 dollars, right? No, 19.50. Why, I have no idea. Maybe my mathematician friends could tell me.

When I saw this I thought of my friend Daniela. She would do something like this. And I wondered what was the story behind the scarf. Who had knitted it? The poster seemed to have been made by a woman. I hope whoever had lost it was able to find the dear lost piece of clothing.

I started getting hungry and I was not sure what my next day would be. I remembered someone had told me during the conference, when I mentioned I was going to Montréal, that there was a place called Schwatz's, where they had smoked meat. I checked my map and it was not that far from where I was. When I got there, dear boy, there was a big line of people, mostly tourists waiting for their turn to enter. There was a guy controlling people's entrance and inside, I sat at the counter, not at the tables. It was quite an experience. It was the only place in Canada I went to where they didn't take debit or credit card or would take American dollars. Fortunately for me, I had  the exact amount I needed in Canadian currency. Now I would have to avoid only-cash places or I would have to exchange more money.

As you can see there is the steak and the pink one was smoked meat. There were also fries and pickles with coleslaw. And bread and juice. A hearty meal. After I had eaten and observed the restaurant - I took my time to eat -, I decided what I was going to do. It would demand some courage but I paid for the meal and left. I started...

to be continued

2 comentários:

  1. I gander a guess that it was in fact the famous Montréal Smoked (or Corned) Beef, of which you may remember me eating a sandwich the previous evening!