Montréal - 45° 51' 34" N 73° 33' 54" W

An uneventful half-day of travel has brought us here to Le Plateau, an upscale neighborhood in Montréal.  The whole purpose of this trip is to improve on our baseline spoken french.  We have signed up for an intensive, three-and-a-half-hour-a-day immersion class here in la belle provence.

After arriving at the airport, we bought a monthly transit pass and made our way (via the airport bus) to our rented apartment on Papineau Avenue.  It is in a tired, 1960's era building on the 24th floor, with a stunning view east towards the Olympic Stadium and the St. Lawrence Seaway.  Patrick, our host, met us at the building and gave us a walk-through and the door keys.  We don't expect to see him again unless something goes terribly wrong.  There is a full kitchen, dishwasher, clothes washer/dryer.  We feel as though we've relocated here instead of being through-travelers.  There is a large park across the street; local grocer, many depanneurs, an ATM and two metro stops nearby.  We've realized that this four weeks is going to be the longest we've slept in one place since September of last year.

the view from our balcony

In two days we start the language classes.  Having french all around us will help us (hopefully) to soak in the new pronouns and verb conjugations, forcing us to adapt it into regular use.

After we had unpacked, a quick walk to the local market for breakfast supplies revealed row upon row of three-story walkups.  Sean loves the look of the iron staircases curving up to the first-above-ground-level floor.  There is a grittiness about this city famed for its crumbling concrete and deteriorating infrastructure.  Potholes are obvious.  Patches upon patches dot the sidewalk. A slight residue of litter tucked into the edges and corners of buildings gives the whole place a mature, non-nonchalant feel.  The fact that the skies are grey right now and the warmish spring days are about to give way to a colder week will add to the bleak ambiance of our surroundings.  This doesn't make Montreal a bad place to be - it just makes you want to be able break through its cold facade and discover the warm, jovial Quebecois party that *must* be happening behind doors that you haven't learned to open yet.

Ok, Montréal, we are here.  Show us what you've got.

By the way, this is our hundreth blog post.  We're not quite a year into our adventures.  Wonder what is next?


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