All the things I don’t know about Montreal

Before I had even realized it, I had landed in a place I had not given not much though to ever before. Out of all places, I would not have imagined myself to be here. But here I am. So, how do you familiarize yourself with a place you know nothing about? Not even from movies, because frankly, I’m not sure I’ve ever even heard of a Canadian movie, or book, the only exception being Douglas Coupland.
Now, considering I really don’t know where to start, I will do a stupid thing and list all the little details that do not really matter, until I shall be able to figure out what this place and its people are all about. Perhaps from the little details something else may emerge.

– Québec is a bit like France, but in America.
– However, cheese and wine are very expensive. Meat and fish are not.
– People seem very cheerful and informal most of the time. They also are nice to me.
– Their métro runs on rubber wheels, not steel. It does not have air conditioning.
– Immigration policies are very strict, but there is little bureaucracy for many other things.
– Bread only seems to be available pre-cut, unless it is a baguette.
– Their ambulances and police cars have silly sounding sirens. They are also coloured in bright colours. This does not confer them a very sombre image.
– They are the only people in the world to have the red ‘Arrêt’ sign. Even the French use ‘STOP’.
– Their national unofficial fast food dish is Poutine, essentially a heart damaging monolith composed of fries, cheese and gravy, to which custom additions may be made.
– The streets are clean, and despite Montreal having 1.5 million inhabitants, it seems very peaceful and not chaotic at all.
– They love automatic doors. I learned this at my expense,  looking like an idiot two or three times by trying to close doors that would have done so without my help.

And this is what I know so far.


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