Welp, I decided to bite the bullet and take a vacation of sorts. Call it a holdover from living in a country that was a day’s travel from almost anywhere else, but if I have time off work I feel guilty spending it at home. There’s so much world to explore out there and it’s considerably closer than a day away. In fact, one of the most appealing things about coming to live in Toronto was its proximity to other big, exciting cities. Boston, Chicago and New York are a mere hour’s flight from home. It’s silly that I don’t take more advantage of it.
Big American cities aren’t the only things that’re close by either. It’s easy to forget when you’re nestled in the extensive boundaries of the GTA, but there are a bunch of places not too far from Toronto. Cottage Country is only a couple of hours away. I’ve been meaning to check out Ottawa for some time. Also who can forget that we’re a hop, skip, jump and a small car ride away from one of the natural wonders of the world: Niagara Falls. So why do I keep going back to Montréal?
Montréal has an allure I find hard to resist. It’s effortlessly cool, incredibly pretty and unflinchingly debaucherous. The fact that most denizens speak French makes it feel like you’re in a different country (I’m sure that was the point). That’s an adventure in itself, considering how abysmal my French is. Then there’s the food. A fascinating combination of haute cuisine and lowbrow fare. I can’t think of a better way to describe my tastes. I can get decent coffee, fancy brunches and buy 11% Four Loko from a depanneur. Paradise.
Why this weekend? There’s a Python programming conference (coding, but not of the genetic kind) going on and I’ve got a bunch of friends attending. Hell, I think one of them might be helping to organise the whole thing. When I suggested that I could come to Montréal for the weekend they immediately offered lodgings. I’m crashing with a friend in his hotel room tonight and tomorrow a bunch of friends have space in their Air BnB. I’m pretty lucky and can’t wait to see them. They’ll all be busy during the day, so I’ll use the time to explore the city. Maybe I’ll check in with my family who live there. Then once they’re finished we can all hang out and get messy. Oddly enough, one of the things I’m most excited about is introduce my hotel friend to the others. I think they’ll click immediately.
Now all that’s standing between me and a weekend of urban exploration is getting there. Canada has this rideshare system called Kangaride. You basically book a seat in a stranger’s car. It’s costing me $80 total for a return trip, which seems pretty reasonable. I’ll also acknowledge that it’s a total roulette spin. I could be trapped in a car full of blood obsessed cultists or Big Bang Theory fanatics. It could also be a really enjoyable, fulfilling experience spending time with friendly strangers. The last time my girlfriend and I used the service we had a fantastic time having all manner of discussions with lovely talkative and intelligent passengers. So let’s spin that wheel. What’s the worst that could happen?
If you never hear from me again, tell my girlfriend I loved Her. The Spike Jonze film, that is.