I live in my own fantasy world.

If you thought the French were classy, you haven’t been to Montreal

Recycling a Tale from my 18-year-old self’s Girls Mid-Week Getaway to Montreal,  Quebec

Somewhere between my first legal alcohol purchase, and having the pleasure of witnessing a half-naked fireman seductively dance to “If ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart, I realised that Montreal has some very unique flavours. Not the same flavours as Schwartz’s Smoked Meat Sandwiches or a decadent Nutella-filled crepe, but it’s the people who make Montreal a trip you and your entourage will be giggling about for the rest of your friendship.

During the summer of 2010, when I was eighteen-years-old, my three best friends and I took a three day trip to Montreal. Through a sequence of unusual and hilarious events, we encountered a handful of extraordinary individuals who seemed like they were characters from a hit comedy staring Seth Rogan- what ever happened to him?

We arrived off the bus shortly after 8am.

It was Jess’ brilliant idea to take the overnight coach bus, meaning we’d leave St. Catharines at 11pm, stop in Toronto at 1am, and arrive in Montreal six hours before we could even check into our room at the Quality Inn on Rue Crescent. For those of you who don’t know Montreal, this is the street with the best nightlife located steps away from the Saint-Catharine Street shopping district with quaint Victorian architecture and stores to drop  HELLA CASH from our skinny little wallets!

“We can sleep on the bus!” had said Jess in her overly optimistic voice.

Of course, Car, Bre and I had known all along that none of us would be getting any sleep on the painfully uncomfortable Megabus seats.

When we arrived with several hours to kill before checking into our hotel, we wandered aimlessly with our suitcases as shops began to open. We were disgusting, un-showered, and rocking sweatpants, but obviously looking hot enough to catch the attention of “Captain Hook”, who sat upon the ledge of Urban Planet’s windowsill, smirking at us out of the corner of his eyes. He placed his hands on his knees and rocked back and forth, becoming aroused and twirling his long, greasy black hair around his skeletal fingers. “OKIIIEEEE, time to go….” we thought in tandem.

Then came 11am and the SAQ Liquor store opened… TIME TO MAKE OUR FIRST LEGAL ALCOHOL PURCHASE! Unlike the rest of Canada where the drinking age is 19, Quebec’s law stated that me and the girls could use our real ideas to buy whatever we wanted- no need for the McLovin ID’s we had made in Toronto.

Eventually it was time to check into the hotel, and after showering away the smell of armpits and a cooked French Breakfast, followed by a long nap, we set off to explore  Saint-Catharine Street.

Between the overpriced cafes and shoe boutiques, our attention was caught by an adult stag and costume shop, “Boutique L’orgasme” . After giggling at a variety of naughty costumes- one featuring a male model who had been a past student teacher of ours- “Lip Ring” emerged from a rack of red feather boas. He was a young man wearing a neon blue t-shirt and a black-waistcoat, who smelt of candied pears and freshly showered football players, who bit his lip ring seductively as he offered his assistance.

“So have you ladies heard of the new Double Rich Chocolate Erotic Massage Oil by XXX Pleasure?” he said, squeezing a small amount of liquid from a bottle onto his finger and licking it off. Car giggled and gave a little snort, and then we left uncomfortably with a new Halloween Costume and an overwhelming sense of seduction from this strangely attractive man.

Next, we met Toby. Since meeting this character, I have spoken to several people on my travels who are from Montreal, and 90% of them know exactly who I am talking about.

Of the 28,000 homeless people on the streets of Canada’s largest French-speaking city, the girls and I were fortunate enough to meet one [self-proclaimed] as “Montreal’s Favourite Homeless Dude” from a poll which apparently was available online.

[The clip below is not Toby, but it might as well have been]

Dancing in a store entrance way, Toby yelled at us “LADIES! OOOH YA. OOOH YA!”, shaking his hips and waving a sign saying “Broke. Homeless. But GOOD IN BED!”. Later in our trip, he wound up out in front of our hotel and when we spotted to him from our balcony on the 9th floor and called to him, he ran across the street and almost got hit by a car… Oops.

If you ever hear my girls and I yell “YOUWHOO!” at each other in an unattractive voice or “Toodaloo! Until the next Youwhoo!”, this is where the story came from…

The morning after our first night – my apologises I can’t remember the details of our first time being allowed to legally enter and buy drinks at a nightclub- we cleaned up and went for brunch at a little cafe called Paris Crepe. We sat indulging in our crepes, oozing with Nutella and covered in cream tasting like it was fresh from a cow’s teat, at a table by the window on second floor which overlooked the busy Saint-Catharine Street.

“Oh isn’t this lovely!” I said as I proceeded to naturally yell at the people down below what turned into be a loud “YOUWHOO!” which echoed throughout both floors of the whole restaurant. The place went silent in shock. Car and Bre laughed hysterically, and Jess looked down in total mortification. Once again.. Oops.

Later that night, we decided to check out “Le 281”, an “Exotic Performance Club” featuring all male dancers. When we first sat down, “Jacob Downtown” prowled the stage in half a fireman costume mouthing the words “If ya like my body, and you think I’m sexy”, and doing a sequence of moves which I later recognised two years later in the Channing Tatum movie “Magic Mike”.

Our night concluded with a little private party in our hotel room, jumping around from bed-to-bed yelling “Youwhoo!” in our bras at 4am. Suddenly we heard commotion coming from the patio of the pizzeria down below. We went out onto the balcony where half the other hotel guests had come out to investigate the ruckus.

There was “The Crazy Drunk Lady” who lived across the street yelling at “George of the Jungle”– a long-haired hippie- for apparently being too loud. When the argument got heated George began to walk away, but the lady grabbed a metal chair and whacked him over the head! Before he could retaliate, she grabbed his ponytail and swung him face-first into a table. The plump little woman spat on him and proceeded to march across the street to her third-floor apartment.

Like an idiot, one of the girls (who I wont name) yelled down at the woman “YOU CRAZY, PSYCHO B*TCH!”…We will never know how this woman knew it was us, but she identified the loudmouth and yelled up to us “I’ll come get you in your sleep! Floor 8, third balcony from the left!”. Luckily, Madame Beefeater Gin couldn’t count properly, as we were actually on the 9th floor, but regardless we went to bed that night with the TV, chest of drawers, and arm chair blockading the door to our room.

The next morning our lovely visit to Montreal came to end, after a whole two hours of sleep. We’d spent most of our money, so for “breakfast” we cooked some Ramen Noodles we found at the bottom of Jess’s duffle bag by heating water in the room’s coffee maker and mixing the noodles and soup powder together with a stir sick in the ice bucket.

We emerged into the sunlight and beer cans which decorated Crescent Street and headed for the first coach of the day back to St. Catharines. Huddled around the four-seater table on the lower-level of the Megabus, we went through the photos on my camera and reminisced about all of the memories and all the quirky characters we’d met during our Girls Mid-Week Getaway to the “legal” land of Montreal.

Love from Lala.

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