Un bleuet loin du fjord

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Return trip Kitchener-Montreal for 96 bucks

(Ce billet est exclusivement en anglais parce que c'est la traduction du billet d'en dessous)

Sorry if I haven't written in a while but I've been busy reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, (which I've finished weeks ago now). And I graded 26 bloody team projects, 91 exams, went back to Montreal, then to England, and now just got back from Toronto... Anywho, back to my second most recent trip back to civilization.

My better half and I went to Montreal back for the 3 day week-end of August (that's an Ontario, well, most of Canada except for Quebec, Newfoundland und Labrador and the Yukon, thing). We had to take the train because we had gotten free tickets and other reduced fair coupons back during our Chinese New Year trip to Toronto, and those nifty savings were about to expire. It should have cost us the price on two one way trips from Montreal to Kitchener, minus 8.50, but the clerk being slightly confused by our super secret gift/sorry VIA screwed up certificates, and we ended paying $96, less than 2 one way trips from Montreal to Toronto at their cheapest. Thank you VIA, your service is good, even if your trains are slow (compared to, say, Virgin Trains, which I've never taken because I'm not a virgin). Take the train people, it's cheap and environmentally friendlier than most other options.

We did the Kitchener-Toronto part of the trip on the Friday evening because there's only three such trains per day at most, two of them in the morning and my girlfriend had to work that day. So we took the Montreal train from Toronto on Saturday morning, and even though we arrived over 40 minutes ahead of time, there was a gigantic lineup for the train (and no assigned seats). Despite this, we got to Montreal on time (well, within 10-15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time, which is the best one can hope for here). First thing advertized right out of the metro: "fraises du Québec" (that means "Québec strawberries" for the illiterate). What was I saying the other day? (actually, in my next post you'll learn one very legitimate reason for all of Ontario to hate Toronto, very much related to this).

We had to squat at my younger bro's place for the week-end as my parents had lended my apartment to friends of the family (for a weekend away from the kids). We didn't have much time to say "Hi" though, with a tight schedule, we had to run to the corner of Berri and Sainte-Catherine to see my soulmate's bro (sorry I'm already running out of synonyms for girlfriend), while continually averting our eyes from the Divers-Cité crowd (really, little old lady tourists and gays wearing nothing but short shorts aren't the kinds of things I like to look at). Then we had to buy wine and cheese for a wine and cheese at a certain airy russian's place. There weren't many cheese shops around so I settled for a Pain Doré bakery and bought a Charles VII camembert at a hefty price (and half a dozen croissants, not to look like a complete idiot, while my poor honey had to wait at the corner because stupid security wouldn't let her on the homo-fest (not "fesses") site because of the wine bottle we had just purchased).

As my girlfriend's feet were hurting from all the walking we had done, we went to our friendly muscovite's place ahead of schedule for a much needed rest. It's a good thing they have elevators, because 19 floors (well, 18, as for some unknown reason, floor number 13 doesn't exist) to walk up is a lot. We spent the evening there. On the menu: wine (lots of it), cheeses, grapes (really good blacks ones), more wine (we finished the evening with cognac, well, really some fancy Armenian brandy) and lots of talking with people we hadn't seen in a long time: Uri (aka Big Pu) who had spent the last 3 years in Japan teaching English to kids there (which I presume don't have huge saucer eyes and aren't as cuddly or kawaii as the anime ones), and Bogdan, who is getting tired of Nashville where he's been doing his PhD for the last n (3?) years, and whose girlfriend just went to Japan to teach English to Japanese kids... Guess what the main subject of the conversation was!

On Sunday, we went to lunch with my girlfriend's siblings. Everyone was thinking Korean BBQ, but no-one could remember where/if there existed a Korean BBQ place that was open for lunch on Sunday, so we ended up in NDG, at a place called Bofinger instead. It was BBQ, but of the not-Korean kind. Not too bad, but the chicken was a bit dry and the cole slaw kind of soggy and, well, for lack of a better word, bad. It's just no substitute for bulgogi beef. Later, we had a BBQ supper of hot dogs and steak, then some salad to unclog our arteries...

On Monday morning, we wanted to go to Schwartz's but it was raining cats and dogs so we stayed home and made Chef Ramsay's scrambled eggs, then stocked up on bagels, bread, cretons (the usual) and rillettes before heading back to the train station, stopping by McGill to see my supervisor and Marco (not the Rhodes Scholar we know, but an equally brilliant Governor General's (Clarkson) Silver medallist who's now at Johns Hopkins). We wanted to buy the Pères Trappiste's chocolate covered blueberries on the way but the little chocolaterie belge close to the train station had just sold its last two box a couple of minutes prior to our arrival (at the Montreal price of $12.95, you can get them for half as much in fucking Ultramar's in Chicout). The lineup was even more monstrous this time, but seats were assigned so it didn't make a difference. But damn is the Toronto-Kitchener train ride long...

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