|My fear of flying didn't exist with big aircraft, first class|
|Montreal's Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde--|
the green building--is Quebec's third largest church
Waking up in Montreal: After the sobering grilling in the Canada Customs room; and grabbing a cab to downtown with a cabbie who drove 100 mph, I was exhausted from getting up at 1:30 AM, PST and arriving in the province at 2:00 AM EST. Once in my hotel room on the 28th floor at the Marriott, I felt that part of my trip was accomplished. After all, I made it: One cab, a shuttle bus to Reno-Tahoe International Airport, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, and to my destination--Canada. So we're talking 3000 miles in a day. Yes, in many ways it was easier than hitchhiking across the country with a dog. My canines were safe in a kennel with pampering. Missing my fur boys--two dogs and a cat--whom I sleep with every night, I plopped onto the cold bed and fell asleep.
|The city streets differ from rural roads in|
In the late afternoon I left my room and took a walk to a large drugstore to purchase things I didn't have on hand. (i.e., My reading glasses broke on the Utah flight. The passenger next to me--an attorney from Georgia--taped them for me, a nice gesture but his gift for gab was more welcome. In Atlanta at one of the largest airports in the nation I purchased a new pricey pair--not the correct strength. Note to self: Always bring two pair of glasses.)
Living in a mountain town for 15 years, I forgot about fashion. Women in Montreal much like San Francisco (where I went to school) are fashionable and quickly I pondered a French manicure, playing up my smoky eye make-up, learning how to really wear a scarf, and happy that my skinny jeans, over-sized sweater, and combat boots didn't look out of place. Being called "madam" was refreshing and flirty Frenchmen and cold Frenchwomen were amid my new environment. It wasn't too long before I learned the game and gained a harder shell. The younger females were warm and friendly; it is mostly the older women with a masculine edge that seemed to sport attitude. No wonder the men (all ages) had wandering eyes.
The Pool: I missed the resort swimming pool I swim at and sauntered into the pool room at the hotel. The hot tub was down but the pool was up. I was too tired to think laps but I engaged in a conversation with a young Italian lifeguard. She was fun, intelligent, and made me feel at home.
|I should have swam but the vibe was off, not like|
my hometown resort pool at 7:30 am
After chatting the jet lag was overwhelming (coffee lattes became my best friends) so I returned to my room with a promise to be normal on Thursday. When I turned on the TV (I broke the promise of going off the grid), it was surreal. The picture of the Northern California King Fire just 100 miles from my home at Lake Tahoe greeted me. Here, I was looking for adventure but it was happening on the West Coast. And folks in Quebec seemed out of touch like my burning Golden State was a foreign planet.
|Chocolate befriended me at the mall|
When I came to Montreal decades ago, the underground city frightened me. This time around it was elating. It felt good to be alone, away from day-to-day pesky worries and woes. I had gone back in time. I was the carefree hippie chick on my own in a faraway place--and it made me feel free and disconnected. Happiness.