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A Day of Culture (All Tidy Like)

I found out the night before that Irene had blown up to 90 kmph (56 mph). The plan was to avoid any foul weather, which wasn’t really anticipated. It did cloud up a bit, but the forecast was clearly sunny and warm.

Latin Quarter

UQAM (Université de Québec à Montreal) was the city like college campus not far from the Village and bordering the Latin Quarter as well as the Place des Arts. There weren’t too many students around, but as the week pressed on, I saw more and more of them. I swung around the campus streets to head up to the Latin Quarter where there were many a shop. The array of restaurants was astounding. Some of the more unique shops were the “capoterie” (or condom shop, so to speak). They actually had condoms rolled out on special condom “manequins” with a well defined rounded end, so shoppers could see texture and color of any brand of condom. They had much more than just that, but I found the display fairly novel.

In terms of food, there was also Juliette & Chocolat, whose menu looked amazingly good. Of course, any restaurant whose every dish has chocolate is going to look very good, period. Other things I noticed were that most restaurants had names in French, including le goût de Corée (Taste of Korea), and le goût de Vietnam. However, there was a Mexican and Cajun restaurant called the Three Amigos (in English) and the Italian restaurants I saw kept their names Italian. I ended up eating a smaller restaurant where I had another kind of poutine, this time with gnocchi as the potato base instead of fries. It was decently done, but not my favorite.

Archambault Musique: The Borders of Montreal

I spent a little time in the Archambault music, videos and games store to see if I could find some good French entertainment, but it was more difficult than I had hoped. I had a very specific set of criteria and sifted through disc after disc checking each one as best I could. The two things that stood out for me were a gay flick called Leather Jacket Love Story and a TV series called Les Invincibles, which seemed interesting on the DVD covers. I also found out that red wine is best around 60 F while white wine is best about 50 F (or so the wine accessories gift kit seemed to suggest).

China Town

China town was a lot like other china towns, except it had a slightly more European feel, with cobblestone streets in several areas and a courtyard area that felt like a marketplace setup, although there weren’t a lot of vendors at kiosks or carts. Just outside of China town there were a few other kinds of restaurants, some Japanese, some Korean, but still mostly Chinese. I was surprised that there were more Vietnames or Laotian restuarants, since the French heavily influenced those areas of Southeast Asia.

La Place des Arts: Museums, etc

I made it to the first museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Montreal, which was very nice. I wasn’t allowed to take pictures so much, although I did sneak in a few before being told not to. In the pictures for today, there is snapshot of what looks like a black screen with blurry white writing. It was cool, because the writing would rearrange itself in small phrases or single words. It was kind of like Mad Libs. I also liked the photos taken through a kind of reverse fisheye panorama like reflective surface thing (see the pictures).

While I was at the museum, I had an epiphany about art. I now think of art as something that should reach an audience through conceptual originality, emotional impact or asthetic display. Perhaps art should have all three, but after looking at the pieces there, I felt like many of them were about one of these three things. There were two simple pieces, only one of which impacted me. The first was a large square shaped brown canvas. As far as I could tell, that was all there was, and I saw nothing in it nor felt anything from it. I feel like it didn’t reach me at all. In contrast, there were two large circles, one with a black center and gray border and the other with a grayish center and black broder. There was a little more “shape” to the gray centered circle, but ultimately they were mostly just opposites, which I felt. The black centered circle felt magnetically seductive yet more frightening, while the gray centered circle felt more hopeful and comforting. It was so simple yet the feelings were noticeable. That was art for me.

Around Downtown

I didn’t go very far past the museums, but I did wander a little into the downtown area. There were many cathedrals, restaurants, a few sex shops, clothing stores and on and on. I found a lot of murals in different parts of the town over the last couple of days, but in downtown they tended to take on a more grafitti type of look. All in all, downtown was a lot like any other downtown of any other big city, although with a lot more French speakers walking around. Also, drivers were typically respectful, but not always patient.

Who’s That Guy?

After returning to the Village area for dinner, I refreshed myself and then headed to a new restaurant called the Saloon. Right as I approached the constructed patio that was partially out in the street, I realized I recognized someone. It was a pretty nice looking guy, about 5’8″ or 5’9″ high, pretty nicely shaped with brown hair and eyes who wore glasses and a cap. I also noticed the tatto on the left side of his neck (his left side). Instantly I realized who it was. Fucking shit, it’s Pierre Fitch, the gay pornstar! I stared right at him as I walked past him. I think he realized I was staring, but he was on the phone with someone, so it was easy to ignore me.

After I took a table at the Saloon, Pierre and the guy he was with came trotting in and sat down only a few feet away. It was so awesome. Pierre isn’t just any pornstar. If I could have ever picked just one to run into, he would definitely be the one. However, after enough eavesdropping and observation, I realized he’s not my type personality wise. I would probably think he’s a total dick after thirty minutes. He just seemed like he could be dismissive about things, but I can’t be sure. It’s not like I stood over his shoulder. I did try to surreptitiously take some photos with my phone, but they are so blurry I didn’t include them in my photo gallery. It was cool to have dinner so close to him.

Read more about Leather Jacket Love Story on IMDB
See the Archambault Musique site
See the Les Invincibles TV series site
Visit the Pierre Fitch online site
Visit the Saloon Restaurant site

Sift through photos of the day

Les mots du jour: canneberge (cranberry), arôme naturel (natural flavor), livraison (delivery),  plateau de jeu (game board), urbain (with regard to music, it’s club music), pour boire ou pour manger (are you here to drink or eat?), illimitée (unlimited), serveur/serveuse, vente en gros (wholesale), congres (convention), requins (sharks).

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