Monday, May 07, 2007

Back from Montreal...

...and home in Sleepytown. As I was waiting for the bus to Boston at the Gare Centrale, I watched a middle-aged man making pizzas in a restaurant that occupied a small corner of the terminal. It took him 12 minutes just to put the sauce and cheese on three pies, making sure that both ingredients were distributed evenly. This attention to detail couldn't have made a big difference in his sales; there's not much room between minimum and maximum profits when you're selling food in a bus station. But Montrealers almost never take the easy way out when it comes to food. When I got to Boston on Sunday night, most of the food sellers in South Station, as well as the main dining area, were closed. After all, it was the ungodly hour of 7:30! I did get an edible bowl of chicken, broccoli, and rice from a Chinese place (about one part chicken, three parts broccoli, and 18 parts rice), and wondered why I had come back so soon. The highlights of the trip included buckwheat crepes, sushi rolls with tempura (nice and crunchy!), red currant ice cream, french fries with bernaise sauce, cheese made from raw milk (illegal in the U.S.!), and chocolate-and-cranberry croissants. I discovered that the Metro (subway) is a lot cleaner and more efficient than the one in Boston, but that the Metro (newspaper) is littered all over the subway cars just like here. I saw that Montreal has hundreds, probably thousands, of blocks with three- or four-story rowhouses or apartments that are within walking distance of nice cafes and shops, and (unlike in Boston) you don't have to be rich to live in such neighborhoods. (And the city is blessedly free of double- and triple-deckers.) I also had my first argument with a salesperson in French. More details to come, but I couldn't blog until now because last night my Bluetooth mouse came apart in my hands as I was trying to change the batteries. Thanks, Apple!

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