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A Journey to Start All Journeys

Looking back I don’t have many posts outlining my early international trips this was my 2010 trip to New York City.

This trip starts like any other trip a random bus ride to Montreal to see the Canadiens in their playoffs bid in Montreal. However, it took a bit of a turn. I instead ended up going to the Forum cinema and catching a movie and then went to PearlVision to fix my glasses that broke. It had been a very long bus ride to Montreal overnight on the Acadian Lines bus. Feeling down from the long trip that I only took because I sold people I was going to the game that I had no way of getting tickets to, and no booked hotel in Montreal I had a “great idea”. I was going to take the bus to New York City and then take the Greyhound up to Bangor and catch the Acadian Lines service home.

After a day in Montreal, I went to the old bus station and got my tickets. I was really tired and quickly after leaving fell asleep on the bus. Only to be woken by the overzealous US Border Service Officer getting on the bus with his hat and telling the bus that we were to go inside, not to talk on phones, not to take phones, form a line and answer questions. The crowd shuffled out of the bus and into the office. Inside it was not too out of the ordinary and most everyone made it back to the bus and on the way back to New York City. I dozed off again.

As we stopped in Albany NY the bus became more full and there was this black man that sat beside me and had a really bad and strong-smelling deodorant who really had me nervous and I remained awake until arriving at the Port Authority bus terminal. From here I got onto an NYC subway train E to Canal Street. From here I walked to the construction site at the World Trade Center site and had breakfast at Burger King, at 6 am.

I then ventured around the construction site and made it to the coast of the Hudson and followed the river looking for my first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. The funny story is I was going the wrong way and ended up near the old Pier 48 before changing direction and ending up at Battery Park. It was a hazy day and was a spectacular sight when I saw it but was more infatuated with “The Eyes” public artwork. After looking at the size of the line to go over to the island, I decided to walk up Broadway.

One of the things that I didn’t expect was how narrow Wall Street was, and the at the Bull was not actually on Wall Street. I also was fascinated by all the plaques for all the different reasons they celebrated with ticker-tape parades. I actually wonder if confetti was actually a thing pre-ticker tape.

From there I followed Broadway up to Bleeker St then took the B train up to 86th street as I was excused and journeyed into Central Park and to was as glorious as I hoped it would be. I found a grassy knoll and rested and got about an hour sleep and then continued south to see the park.

By this time it was late afternoon and I found the Ghostbusters Spook Central building and Columbus Circle and made my way down Broadway buying nuts and oranges from a street vendor. I got to see the outside of Ed Sullivan theatre and Times Square.

Times Square was really interesting and packed with people. I remember going to TGIFridays for dinner and then really stopped exploring and spent several hours in Times Square. ABC was having the Lost series finale by chance that night so I joined the hoards of fans and watched my only ever episode of Lost with captions on a side of a building. To be honest, I’m not really sure what happened on the show but will never forget sitting on the street.

After I explored some of the streets and then caught the 11 pm bus to Bangor. It was rather uneventful and even switching busses in Boston was uneventful. Where this story gets interesting was crossing the border. I was held in this room while the two border agents were certain I was bringing something back on my netbook. They even went through all my emails and started asking me about all the drugs mentioned in my spam folder. It seemed like it was forever and my biggest fear was that the bus was going to leave me there.

As it turned out I had an Apple sticker on my Windows 7 netbook and they thought it was a Mac. I eventually returned to the bus and returned home.

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WordCamp Montreal and Other Things Montréal

Subway Graffiti

Subway Graffiti

Getting here to Montreal, I had decided to get the bus. (Orleans Express/Acadian Lines) Thus it presents this opportunity to write this long detailed encounter as I have the remainder of the 13 hour bus trip to finish.

After arriving here in Montreal I took a nice stroll down Ste-Catherine to the train station. It was on this trip through the eerily quite streets of the jazz festival site that I ran across the first image. Although to is common to think of those in the financial services industry as “wanks” someone thought it would be a great idea to draw one on the two sided of the corner of the building.

After the fist day of sessions at word camp there was this crazy man that started yelling at me in french, I think he though I took a picture or something. The funny part that is so not like me is the fact that I started yelling back at him in English and he did not seem to understand me at all. That make id kind of funny then he ran off and I went off to catch the subway to the hotel.

The subway in Montreal seemed to be quite different than Toronto. Especially the automated stalls after paying the guy handed me a little card, and I did not get originally how the doors opened, then he started yelling the what I think are the instruction in French. After looking further at the stalls I give the yelling guy the “I have no clue what you are saying look. Then he explains the put the card in the slot in English. I then proceeded to the hotel.

On the way in one of the Subway stations there was a sign in French only that part of the platform was closed for constriction bit it was graffitied with “Montreal is supposed to be Bilingual” to which some one wrote; “We wish!”

Me at the after party. Eva Blue Photo.

Me at the after party. Eva Blue Photo.

I thought it was amusing. One can tell mush about a society by the appearance of the graffiti. Especially, considering the prior instance of “art.”

One great thing about my iPhone is the fact that it really saved me from the being lost. Well kind of. The Google walking and transit directions are really good for Montreal. It was still a difficult city to find things in. I missed the first subway stop without realizing, thankfully my GPS on the iPhone found me the next one just in time.

The last tale before I finish is the tale of the pigeon. After the final sessions of WordCamp we went to an outdoor patio bar that had some of the most amazing natural and architectural design of any patio bar. While standing outside talking to some some interesting people like KimValee.com this word pigeon was doing a very weird dance on the windowsill across the street and everyone mentioned the crazy pidgin was about to top itself as the guy pass is the bird flies into bar right behind them and everyone starts chasing after the bird. Classic comedy movie scene.