Off the cuff, my roommate from last year mentioned that he had an extra ticket to a hockey game in Montreal; he had planned a trip to Tremblant with his dad and brother but the bro had dropped out. I accepted and, within 24 hours of being home, I was watching the Habs beat the Caps 4-1 and talked about everything Montreal. Youppi, the mascot of our not-too-long-ago departed Expos, surprisngly appeared at the Bell Centre and, as I learned, had been adopted by the Habs. The big fuzzy orange creature holds a special place in my Montreal heart, moreso than any baseball team...
Something about the community you find at a hockey game, the sense of solidarity, that makes me so happy. You yell and cheer, and gesture and jeer for the home team (Greg and his dad were cheering for their home team, the Caps). You do the wave, you get up and dance, you drink beer. All of it is such a great time.
Afterwards we headed to L'entrecote St-Jean on Peel, a little quick yet old-time elegant steak place that serves two choices: steak et pommes allumette or more courses still centered around steak and french fries. I had a great time learning about Greg's Dad, what he does, what he loves to talk about (sports and numbers). I also really loved talking about Montreal, francophone-anglophone differences, the city itself. It's so awesome: the food, fashion, people, life, multiculturalism.
Greg was curious to see Mile End, hearing that it has turned into a funky part of town, so we hopped on the Metro, said goodnight to his dad and headed to take the 55 bus up St. Laurent, a street filled with nightlife and coolness. The busride itself was fun, showcasing the beautiful the old, the crazy the hard-working. We saw these two dancers, not lean tall creatures but a guy and a girl infused with plenty of attitude and visible grace. A bunch of us smiled as they went through dance moves and as others spilled off the bus to head to the clubs.
We finally made it to Mile End, way up St. Laurent further from downtown and more in my neck of the woods. Boa bar is where we ended up, a chill and hopping place owned by T'cha Dunlevy, the Gazette music critic, and a nice place to show Greg Montreal cool. I had never been, but had always been curious, a thick St Amboise beer full of character later and Greg had to get home, but not before trying his first Montreal Bagel from Fairmount. Nothing like a 60 cent warm sesame bagel, sweeter, softer, and less bready than any other bagel, with a bigger hole. And off I walked home, to lightly falling snow, and a nightscape dusted with white. I am indeed returned to my native Montreal, a city I will never stop appreciating.