Re - Discovering "apporter votre vin" in the heart of old Montreal

Parched.  Dry as dust.  Cotton-mouthed.  Dehydrated.  At this point most anything will suffice, whether sugar-laden pop, warm tap water or even a lukewarm coffee will do the trick, as long as it’s a liquid beverage of the soothingly refreshing kind.  Heck.  It doesn’t even have to have a smidgen of alcohol in it, though, that would most definitely be an added benefit.   Let me tell you, in no uncertain terms, that traipsing around for miles on end requires gallons of sustenance, whether libations of the intoxicatingly numbing kind or aqua of the splish splashing satisfying kind.

Meandering along cobble stone rues and avenues, schlepping truckloads of souvenirs, as well as carting a library of maps and travel journals requires not only strength, but bucket-loads of fortitude as well.  I was in dire straits, beyond exhausted, my weary pink-sneaker clad feet aching and throbbing from having ambled aimlessly since early morn, my raw and bleeding blisters an oozing testament to the dozens of kilometers traversed.

On a mission of “pretend tourist” in my hometown of Montreal, I had embarked on an adventure like none other, determined to experience the flavour and feel of the city exclusively from a foreigner’s perspective.  Camera in one hand, pen and paper in the other, I strove to document anything and everything that caught my eye, as if appreciating this unique metropolis for the very first time.  Having re-located to another province some dozens of years ago, I have always viewed myself first and foremost as a Montrealer, a displaced French Canadian gal at heart - so it was quite a lot of fun to sport the tourist hat and immerse myself into the heart and soul of the city and become just another inquisitive visitor.

Yet, here I was, scampering about the well-trodden paths of old Montreal, desperate to bandage my calloused tootsies and languish the afternoon away sipping on bubbly and munching on crudités, on a never-ending hunt for a patio with a view.  And so it was either by chance, perchance or sheer luck that the first bistro I spied turned out to be a curiosity of sorts, a BYOB (bring your own booze) type of restaurant.  Could it be?  How could I possibly have forgotten that such establishments even existed?  Had I really been away from la belle province for that long?

Failing to notice the prominently placed “apporter votre vin” (bring your own wine) sign, I hobbled on in, imploring the waiter to fetch me, lickety-split, a large glass of aqua, as well as a humongous light ale.  On that note, better make it two.

 “Madame” (what? No Mademoiselle?), “we don’t serve alcoholic beverages, but you can go across the street to the déppaneur, where you can purchase your own wine or beer to bring back”.  Say whaaaaaaaat?  Good thing that I was practically a “local”, as I knew the drill, having made that same mad dash to the convenience store way back in the day.  Blistered swollen feet be damned, my marathon jaunt across the cobble stone avenue took all of three minutes and my pink-sneaker clad tootsies were back in a flash, contentedly nestled snug as a bug in a rug on the quaintest of patios in record time!  Olympics, here I come!!  Bronze medal or Gold, you decide!!

My neatly lined up cans of Bud Light Lime drew quite the appreciative stare from prospective dining patrons, tourists from all sorts of far-away locales, who were dumb-founded beyond belief when informed by Monsieur Waiter that alcoholic beverages are not sold at the restaurant but at the grocery store down the street.  Provided that one orders a meal from the dining establishment, one is free to consume one’s own wine or beer, a win-win scenario for both parties, if I must say!  Plus, no corkage fee and they even recycle your empties!

Needless to say, I had the most entertaining of afternoons, observing human puzzlement in progress, where my impromptu survey yielded the most interesting of results.  My keen powers of analysis thus concluded that most people who traipsed into the bistro were tourists of the clue-less kind, thrown into a conundrum of “what to do” when confronted with the choice of either staying put and sipping on lemonade or making that mad dash down the street for that oh so soothing liquid libation of the inebriating kind.  Giggling hysterically at the serious tete-a-tetes, the confused paralysis of an entire tour group and the shrieking hoopla’s of a pack of twenty-some-things, I was front-row center to indecision in action. 

Snickering along with the best of them, I devised quite the interesting game of “will they or won’t they hightail it across the street?” and nine times out of ten, I had pegged my subjects with a 99% percent degree of accuracy.  And, what does that tell you?  Don’t know, except that, if ever questioned, I’ve got a wealth of information to share for a future study on decision making for tourists of the unsuspecting kind.

And, on that note, hold that thought, while I excuse myself for a couple of minutes as I skedaddle on over to the store for a tetra pack of vino and then some more….

Come hang out with me in Montreal as I devote the rest of my week-long trip to scouting out “bring your own wine” restaurants as I tour museums, historic sights and partake in a multitude of tourist activities in my quest to be just another clued-out wanderer on the hunt for a patio with a view.

Side note – my entire meal came out to less than $15.00 for my Pizza Margherita, while my six-pack of brewskies set me back a whopping $10.00 bucks!  You do the math.  Where do you think that I wined and dined for the remainder of my stay in culturally historic and oh so French Montreal?

Service was impeccable at Giorgio’s and I was able to languish the afternoon away indulging in my favourite pastime of people watching, observing and imbibing, as only a pink-sneaker clad ol’ Auntie can do.  With age comes privilege. 

Stay tuned for more adventures of the wacky old Bag (who, moi??).

Next post – Wed August 13th – I will be on a summertime schedule and will be posting every second Wednesday for the months of July and August only.  I will be back to regular Wednesday posting September onwards.  

No worries – will be scribbling about The Kid’s hilarious escapades in Portugal soon.  Preview:  Airline lost her luggage on Day One!!  Yikes!!  Stay tuned!!

You know that you're somewhat of an annoyingly irritating houseguest when....

You know that you’re somewhat of an annoyingly irritating houseguest, when an unexpected and unfortunate series of events devilishly conspire against you, automatically labelling you the dreaded “visitor from hell”.  So how did I find myself in such an unsavoury predicament, a wacky but lovable ol’ Auntie, once gleefully greeted with open arms, now mere seconds away from being kicked to the curb, over-packed luggage in tow?  And, this was just less than 24 hours into my long anticipated weeklong vaycay, with six more nights of disruption looming ahead for my sister’s family, all of whom had unwittingly agreed to put me up for the duration of my sojourn to my hometown of la belle province.  La ville de Montreal, to be exact, as culturally close to Paris as I can possibly get, without having to traverse the Atlantic.

 Yikes!!  How did it all spiral downhill from the get-go?

Well, it all started when I accidentally flooded the bathroom, unleashing a torrent of gushing water, bucket-loads of H20 raining a tsunami of tidal-wave proportions on the floor below, inadvertently creating an indoor waterfall of quite the unsightly stained ceiling kind.  The splatter of splotches rapidly formed a free-flowing motif of varying hues of not quite golden blotches, a visual reminder of you know who permanently etched into the ceiling below.  Yikes!!  Not the kind of lasting impression that I had originally set out to make.

And well, you get the bucket…picture, I mean.

Who knew that there were specific rules and regulations to be strictly adhered to?  Such as, must stand directly underneath the showerhead, movements restricted to not fiddling with the hand held nozzle - which inadvertently somehow ended up slithering out from my sudsy grip, twisting, lurching and contorting into a fountain of gushing aqua, consequently hosing down the premises along the way. 

Well, on the bright side, the floor did need a good scrub.

Slipping and sliding as if on sheets of ice, playing cat and mouse with that ever so elusive bar of soap, I came perilously close to an unanticipated hospital stay as I splish-splashed and almost gashed open my noggin in the tub of “bathe at your own risk”.  To add insult to injury, my treacherous slippery tumble fell on deaf ears, replaced instead with hostile shrieks of the most unpleasant kind, none of which I remember (thankfully) due to an excruciatingly blinding headache, visions of twinkling stars vividly dancing in my head.

Did I mention the near-electrocution part?  Who knew that I’d be risking life and limb, let alone come dangerously close to frazzling my blonde box dyed grey locks, just by blow-drying my hair?  Who knew that the bathroom wall socket was quite the temperamental thing-a-ma-jig, unable to support the voltage of anything but an electric razor?  Feel like I’m back in Europe, a handful of converters in hand, frying the bejezus out of any electrical appliance in sight, haphazardly causing several power outages along the way.  Yikes!!  What next??

And almost last but not least, thought I’d atone for my “erroneous ways” and treat the family to a scrumptious home-made breakfast and scramble up a couple of eggs, cheese and diced veggies for an omelet like none other, a killer five star Michelin worthy repast.  And the key word is?  Who knew that the microwave, on the other hand, was an out of this world force to be reckoned with, a supersonic wattage crazed monstrosity, zapping the life out of anything and everything in sight?  Let’s just say, a quick zap for the eggies turned into a clean up like none other as oodles of oozy, gooey, sticky, dripping splatters of mess had gone kablooey, detonating to smithereens in the microwave.  You can just imagine the hoopla that unceremoniously followed.

Somehow my eggies didn't quite measure up to this delectable repast...

Clean up was going great until I un-elegantly hit the dirt and tripped over the cocker spaniel, which was salivating and ravenously sniffing underfoot, scavenging for leftover crumbs and scraps. 

Could it get any worse?

I won’t even go into details about unsuspectingly corking open the one and only bottle of red, an aged vintage collectable, valued at quite the impressive coin at auction.  Oops.  Hic.

I guess replacing it with an $11.00 supermarket boxed vino just wouldn’t be quite the same.

And so it goes…. six more days in the house of calamity, with a cornucopia of mis-adventures to follow….

Come hang out in la belle province as I re-discover my hometown, all the while pretending to be a tourist traipsing about foreign lands, camera in one hand, guide book in the other, continuously on the hunt for a patio with a view…. after all, one wholeheartedly deserves a vino or two after all of that aimless traipsing around!!

New summertime posting schedule - Pink Sneakers on the Go will be posting every other Wednesday during the months of July and August only and will resume regular weekly Wednesday posting September onwards.

Next post – Wednesday July 30th - Stay tuned for the continuation of cuckoo ol’ Auntie Nora’s hilarious escapades in la ville de Montreal.  And, of course, we can’t forget about Le Kid, who has adventures of her own to share in upcoming posts.