It appears that my dad has discovered one of the many features of the internet. That is, to record inane thoughts about topics insignificant to almost every person in existence but the author in question and put them up for all to see. Of course, I am not exempt to recording inane thoughts, so here are some of mine.
I’m writing this from a ten hour train ride from Montreal to New York City. A ten hour train ride I have done already once this week. To give you an idea of how draining this train ride can be, the drive from Montreal to New York only takes about 6 hours, this gives it about four hours of stopping and starting. Although in reality, this train takes you through some great upstate New York country side that is great to get lost in.
Before Montreal, I spent a couple of days staying with a friend in the Bronx, New York, where I probably did more stuff than in the whole week in Montreal. This is really just a testament to the way the two cities operate. Montreal, being incredibly relaxed and New York being just about anything and everything but. The Bronx is reasonably ghetto and my friend’s place is right next to the projects. I slept on a yoga mat on the ground and every time a truck went past (which was a lot), the whole building would vibrate and the content of each truck would shake around. This is due to some large pot holes in the middle of the street. There is also a local gang called ‘The Wheelie Boys’. The Wheelie Boys live in the projects and ride dirt motorbikes everywhere. They are called that because instead of riding on two wheels, the mostly ride on one. Wheelieing everywhere. I didn’t think Manhattan was still ghetto at all, but going through Harlem at 7 in the morning to get to the train station proved otherwise. The streets were literally littered with crack heads and bums, awakened by sun rise but still in various states of drug stupor. Although for all I know, they may have been filming a B grade zombie film that morning in Harlem.
Montreal can only be described as mellow. Canadians seem genuinely laid back and this city is no exception. Although, it is hard to put a finger exactly on what the city reminds me of. Of course it has some pretty heavy French influences, but is in no way similar to Paris. Perhaps because the city is under snow for half the year, people are happy to make the most of the warmer months. It’s reasonably trendy, but not contrived, which is probably one of the highest compliments a city can receive (from me). I wouldn’t describe the city as boring, but a lot of the time it doesn’t feel like there is much happening. Then again, I imagine there is probably a lot of cool stuff going on behind closed doors. The main park in Montreal is absolutely amazing with plenty of green grass and trees. It is pretty much a small national park that goes up a mountain with a huge cross on top. The city has some pretty amazing architecture from the mid 1960’s, when they discovered they would be host to the World Fair in 1967. Olympic Park is one such structure which is an incredibly outdated stadium which appears exactly as you would imagine a ‘forward thinking’ project of 1965 would. The stadium was built to host the 1968 Olympics, and was so out there that they didn’t actually end up finishing it until the eighties. Apparently the city is still paying off debt caused by the stadium, which is now a largely unused space. Although, it has been one of Montreal’s most significant skate spots since the early 90’s. The structure itself can be seen from most places around the city thanks to a 100 metre high phallic observation deck towering over the top of the stadium.
Another building designed in the strange creative outburst that 1967 World Fair brought to the city, is the aptly named ‘Habitat 67’. Habitat 67 is probably one of strangest looking block of apartments that exist in the western world (I’m sure Japan has something more interesting to offer). It was designed by a young student at Montreal’s McGill University as his thesis. Then they built it in real life. I’m not going to bother describing Habitat 67, as there is little point. Please see the attached picture. An interesting fact about Habitat 67 is that it was designed with high density living in mind, almost along the lines of public housing complexes, and it was intended to be extended into multiple complexes. However, in reality, each apartment ended up costing around $140 000 to build, and therefore the building is only occupied by very wealthy individuals.
Since I was staying with Amy and her parents, some tourist activities were necessary. The main one being an ultra cool tour of the city on little electric mopeds. Our tour guide was Dave, an ultra outgoing me me me kind of guy. When he wasn’t telling us jokes about marijuana, or telling us about the guys over the other side of the mountain partying and ‘pouring one out for the homies’, he was telling us off for going too fast and leaving him in the dust. He also insisted on blocking traffic to let eight middle aged men and women (the intended age of the target audience of the tour) riding mopeds through. He also insisted on taking as many pictures possible of one couple who owned a quality digital SLR. Dave also took us to some of the best street art in the city (see attached photo). All the embarrassment aside, and the fact that we didn’t actually see anything new, or interesting on the tour, it was great fun. Riding very weak mopeds through traffic on a tour of a city with a bunch of old people was hilarious and definitely a great experience. Dave kept on asking everyone if they didn’t think it was too dangerous. Classic Dave.
So now I am once again headed to New York have, where I am looking forward to almost a month of getting up to mischief and photographing the many freaks that a city that big seems to endlessly churn out.
Until Next Time.
NOTE: I will post the pictures separately from my phone.
Note: you can look at some other pictures here if you care about me enough