Couch Surfing Capers – Montreal, Quebec, Canada

I have come upon this website called Couchsurfing.com and decided to give it a try. The idea is that network of people around the world use the program to meet then go and surf other members` couches. Their mission statement is “To internationally network people and places, create educational exchanges, raise collective consciousness, spread tolerance, and facilitate cultural understanding.” I like the premise so I contacted a few people who were Couchsurfer members in Montreal. The first guy said he was renovating so he couldn`t host me but he would be happy to pick me up from the airport, saving me the 30 dollars in shuttle and taxi.

Just a note: The Montreal airport has the longest moving sidewalks I have ever seen in my life. I literally flew off the end when I had forgotten I was on it, it had lasted so long.

Martin (not to be confused with Martin my boss who had just dropped me off in Ottawa) showed up just as I walked through the gates and he whisked me into downtown Montreal. We touched on our vital statistics and then got into the fun stuff. Our travel experiences. It was great to share stories and even tho it was only a 20 minute drive, Martin seems like the type of guy I would get along with.

He walked me right up to Francois doorstep and made sure everything was ok before exchanging niceties. They were speaking in French and I just kinda stood there in awe of the whole situation. I made plans with to meet Martin for lunch the next day before bidding him adieu.

(Here is where I am missing some paragraphs because they are written on my laptop. I am waiting for an adaptor to recharge the battery so in the meantime…Mind the Gap)

Missing bit now added: Francois gave me a tour of his house while we chatted about the life basics, where we`ve been, what we do and who we are. Its interesting how quickly you peel away the layers when there is only a limited time to spend with someone. Francois is a filmmaker and artist who just came back from making a film in Brazil. We set out for a walking tour and to track down a pint or two. We talked about our dreams, our values and what makes us tick. I listened to the people passing by chattering away in French as I gazed up at the tall European architecture. The streets were quieter than normal, Francois remarked, as it is a Monday which happens to be the worst night to go out.

But as we wandered up this street and down the next, I got a very good idea of the richness of culture. Couples whispering over coffee and friends guffawing between pints. Distinguished types who were just sitting down to a fancy late dinner and penniless types soliciting spare change. We walked for a very long time and finally ended up at a small bar in the Latin sector. If it weren`t for Francois, I would have never even known existed.

Just a door down an unassuming backstreet opened up unto a buzz of jovial locals. We navigated through the wooden bar and passed through a door into a wonderful secret garden. So this was where all the action was happening I thought to myself as we parked ourselves at the most prime people watching table. The tall cement walls of the square were covered in vines cascading down from who knows where. The tall trees held in the cozy yet vibrant atmosphere of this charming little gem. It was such a treat to discover such a lovely secret watering hole, obviously held dear to the locals. The quaintness battled with the cool factor in my head until I decided they could live there together.

Francois decided that he found me interesting enough to interview for the newspaper of which he happens to be president. So we sat there in the midst of all the merrymaking taking turns speaking into his palmsize recorder. He would ask me a question and I would ramble on and on and on. I think that he has a lot of chopping end editing to do but overall I think I painted a pretty accurate picture of what TravelPod is for me. We got further into philosophy, psychology and sociology to round off the night.

Next, we aimed our steps to experience the “best poutine ever” at Francois` favourite local haunt. Luckily, it is open 24 hours, seeing that we didn`t make our entrance until past 3am. When our order arrived, I had to wonder how I was going to eat it all. The fries were drowning in gravy with chunks of peppers, mushrooms and melty cheese. Yum. I did my best and only had to leave a few stray fries behind. They weren`t soaked in gravy so they were too crunchy for my palate anyway.

Beginning to feel the long walk in my sore feet and legs, my pace slowed as we made our way home. Exhaustion was creeping up on me quickly and I was struggling to hold myself up long enough to brush my teeth. I fell asleep cuddled and snuggled in a mountain of blankets.

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