Thursday, July 7, 2011

(Day 24) On Mileage, Mountains and Memories...

Before heading to bed on Tuesday evening I shared a conversation Ray Anne who was in the campsite next to me.  Ray Anne is single woman, unemployed after being laid off from a contract position with the government doing translation services.  Religion, crime and punishment and spirituality were the topics of conversation.

I was up this morning (Wednesday) at 4AM.  A terrible first night in the tent.  Note to self: you need your sleep apnea machine!  It was a beautiful morning but I knew that rain was on the way.  Breaking camp went very well for doing it for the first time.  I was glad it was not raining!

I decided that morning to take a secondary road.  I had lots of time and I really wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds as I made my way to Montreal.  Rte 132 is commonly known by the locals as "the old road".  The road did not disappoint.  Small villages, sweeping turns, views of the seaway and the rising sun at my back.  About a hundred and sixty klicks down the road I stopped at Larry's for breakfast.  What a feast: 2 eggs, a pancake, a meat pie, ham, beans, tomato and lettuce and three slices of toast and a bottomless cup of coffee.  All for $9.50.

A couple of hours later after threading my way through the usual congestion of Montreal during construction season I arrived at Helen and Andrew's home, the manse that sits behind Northlea United Church.  With a big hug from Helen and a cup of her speciality greek coffee (so black you could stain wood - just the way I like it) we caught up on life: children, families, work and all kinds of other stuff.  And then she informed me that I was coming with her to the bi-monthly women's gathering for lunch!

I knew it was going to be fun when she walked into the room of eleven women and said, "I brought a man.  I brought a man." and they all started laughing.  What a faithful group of folk.  They meet twice a month for fellowship over lunch and sometimes they have a program and other times they just share and support each other.  I was privileged to share a bit about what I do and why I do it.  I continue to be saddened (not surprised anymore) about how little people know about corrections and how there is sympathy and empathy for those who are incarcerated but that this response gets trumped by the fear that is so well fed by the media.  Thanks for a great afternoon of conversation ladies!

Back at the manse, Clancy the beautiful but not so bright Irish Setter wanted to play!  He has a new trick!  He can sit still long enough to balance his toy on his nose.  A huge accomplishment for this dog whose favorite past times are head butts and nose surfing the tables of the house!!

Andrew arrived home with a treat: Sapporo, a Japanese beer!  Awesome.  Must keep and eye out for this stuff - but the odds of it coming to New Brunswick are probably pretty slim.  After a few beers in the back yard and conversations about economics and how Canada has sold its soul to China - all for cheap goods, we headed into the city for the nickel tour and supper.

Through the garment district, across the tile area and into the heart of Montreal via "the sneaky way" as Andrew called it - all in an effort to avoid the least favourite past-time of all Montrealers: sitting stopped in traffic beside a line of orange cones wondering where the work is happening and why, knowing that tomorrow the short cut you are figuring out in your head while you sit here will be under construction too!!!!

Eventually with Andrew navigating from the back seat Helen brought us safely to St. Laurent Blvd.  A walk of a few blocks to the restaurant La Cabane, across the street from Shwartz smoked meat.  Helen and Andrew used to come here when they were dating.

I had a great meal: chicken kabob, rice, fries and lettuce and tomato all washed down with a local beer: Bisson (I think?).  After supper we walked five or six blocks up St. Laurent and Andrew gave me a running commentary on the neighbourhood and how it has changed over the years.  St. Laurent is quickly becoming a chic shopping area and less and less of a cosmopolitan home to the diverse ethnic communities that make up Montreal.

To end the evening we took a drive up the Mountain, stopped at the lookout and briefly debated taking the stairs to the cross.  Been there.  Done that.  Too a picture instead.  On the way down the mountain Andrew took us through the University of Montreal campus and up to visit some of his friends in the Westmount area of Montreal.  Unfortunately none of them were home and we ended up doing a was looking at a lot of examples of how "the other half" live.  It is a very beautiful neighbourhood with a lot of grand stately homes.  After visiting the lookout on the west side of the mountain that was supposed closed - like that means anything to Montrealers - we headed back to the Manse where I promptly went off to bed and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow!

Andrew and Helen outside of what
I believe Andrew said was the oldest
synagogue in Montreal
Not a lot of mileage today... but I did climb a mountain and shared some fond memories with good friends, all while creating some new ones!  Thanks for a great day Helen and Andrew!!!

...on the Sabbath Road...

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the visit! PS> Andrew heard something rubbing on your bike as you left.

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  2. Thanks Helen!! If you read Day 25 there is an explanation of what was happening. All fixed now!!!

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