I love love love Montreal. I love it like a first boyfriend. But there were a couple of moments today when I began to worry that Montreal might be out to get me.
First, Edward's Kindle got shattered and if you have ever spent five seconds with Edward you know just how grievous a blow this was to him. While the other two suffered through my music selections Edward sat in the backseat with his headphones and the Terry Pratchett he is listening to on his Kindle (Diggers.) Sorry. Was listening to. So that sucked.
Then, I could not get into the city.
I could see the city. It was right there. I was on a major highway that one might reasonably assume has multiple arteries that could get me... there... but an exit was closed so there was a detour and then the car navigation system freaked out and pulled us into some (very nice just not the old port) first-tier suburb and kept us there; literally driving in circles. For an hour. I'm not a good driver. I am unused to driving in cities and Montreal is especially busy and - forgive me - the drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians here are all stark staring mad. I watched a woman on her cell phone step blithely off the sidewalk into moving traffic, chatting away as cars swerved around her or screeched to a halt.
It was all incredibly unnerving and Patrick became increasingly urgent in pointing out WE JUST COMPLETED ANOTHER SQUARE so I finally switched to google maps, which had no problem getting us to the hotel in a remarkably straightforward fashion (take note, Toyota navigation.) We had a very late lunch, checked in and then went off to buy some maple sugar candy, which is when I discovered that my wallet was missing. I almost had an apoplexy. Now, in the cool of the evening, I can see that it would not have been that big of a deal. It would have been inconvenient but the credit card company could have overnighted me a new card and in the interim we could have subsisted on room service charged to our eventual hotel bill. In the moment, however, all I could think was that I had zero cash, no credit cards and therefore no way to buy food or gas. Ever again. Alarming.
Fortunately Patrick remembered that I had tipped the guy who carried our fifty bags up three flights of stairs so we retraced our steps and found the wallet on the floor in the room. Patrick suggested I might want to keep better track of it going forward as I had seemed very distressed by its potential loss. Thanks, Patrick.
Never did get the maple sugar candy but decided to take the ferry over to the island with the Biosphere et al. We didn't have time to do much at the park but I like a good boat ride and the children seemed pleased with the novelty of it. We got off the ferry, started walking around and then the skies opened up and poured rain down upon us. It felt just like the Grand Prix when Steve and I accidentally walked eight miles trying to get off of that same island in the rain. Oh, and the Biosphere closed as we got there.
Reading over it sounds sort of dismal but - apart from getting lost and worrying about being destitute in a foreign country - it was awesome. We took a cab to the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood for dinner, I felt very grownup in the process and during the course of the day I had two TWO (2) conversations with francophones who did not switch to English. Granted, I only understood a third of what that guy on the boat was telling me but I nodded a lot and waved my hands around murmured ah and bon and merci and he seemed satisfied; and the cab driver took us to where I wanted to go and accepted the money I handed him so I guess that was ok too.
Now that I look at it, maybe those gathering clouds should have given me a hint.
Edward, like the Thomas Haynes Bayly hero hurried from sport to sport, momentarily putting a brave face on his grief.