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The adventures of the Mel

Montreal in retrospect

CANADA | Saturday, 9 February 2008 | Views [849]

I think the strangest thing for me, as I entered Toronto, was speaking in English. Although my French consists of a meagre ten or so phrases (including the completely over-utilised 'je ne comprendes pas'), it was, for some reason unknown to me, comforting. To speak to people directly in English, without saying 'excusez moi, parlez-vous anglais?', feels uncouth and almost neanderthal. Perhaps I just miss the passion of the French enunciation as I am surrounded again by Canadian accents. I miss exchanging colloquialisms, although I will continue to do so during my travels. Perhaps it's just the romantic allure of crossing language boundaries and learning new things. Pfft. Learning. As if that's cool.

If I had to describe Montreal in one word, it would without doubt be dichotomous. It was a delicious blend of contrasts that will not be forgotten: the French and English, intertwining from the same mouth; the beautiful, centuries old architecture dwarfed by the modern rising skyscrapers; the glamourously elegant jazz bar/restaurant that served pub finger food (that's it - potato skins, ribs and roast chicken)...the list goes on.

Although not as stunning as Quebec City, Montreal certainly had its own identity. I know I will miss beautiful men talking to me in French, then smiling when they realise I speak English (though apparently my 'bonjour' is quite good - enough for them to shower me in rapid French before I'm able to communicate my complete lack of comprehension).

**side note: I had difficulty hearing what they were saying, but I was talking to one Montreal-an and he said that in a lot of ways they were like Australians - in that we both tend to shorten words and run them together, such that it makes it difficult even for native speakers to understand if they are not familiar with the accent. I like to think of this as akin to 'howyagoin' 'whatevayawant'. The number of times I've been told off for saying 'whateva' instead of 'whatever'....well, you know the cliche.**

Au revoir Quebec, enchante.

This is the link to the photos. All links will be found at the bottom of a post until further notice.

Montreal photos

Tags: Philosophy of travel

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