We arrived in Montreal beneath an unforgiving grey sky. The city stretched away into a smoky horizon, bringing home to us once more that we had well and truly left the wilderness of the mountains and prairies behind us.
Up at the viewpoint, we witnessed an engagement (before swiftly reenacting one of our own) before quickly hurrying back down the hill to picnic beneath the trees before the rain broke. Luckily for us, it never did.
And instead, the sun reigned in the sky - which was bloody fortunate considering that the activity of the day was jet boating in the freezing Lachine rapids!!
I'd been imagining a speedboat like the ones seen from the clifftops at home, lithely jumping between waves and skimming the water. I pictured vests and sunglasses and possibly life jackets.
Instead, we were instructed to change into our swimming gear and handed wet-suit booties, life jackets and ponchos. Urm... what? Needless to say my camera stayed safely in the van so I didn't get any pictures of the trip.
However, I believe this Youtube video sums it up quite nicely:
After we'd dried off again, we had time for a little wander around Vieux Montreal which had a very European feel to it. I got over excited by the Ben & Jerry's ice cream parlour before being steered away by an exasperated Michele who insisted there'd be time for that when we got to Vermont.
The waterfront was dotted with activities, from zip-wiring to zombie mazes. We didn't have time for that though as we had a hostel to check into (hallelujah, finally) and a dinner reservation to make..
So what better way to celebrate than to have a very uncivilised night out?
I mean, it didn't start that way... we pulled our dressiest clothes from our luggage and tried to shake the creases out, slipped into dresses, heels and shirts and made our way to the subway. A few stops later and we were walking through pretty streets in the twilight, admiring the typical Montreal architecture (which in my terms = haunted house chic).
Residential roads poured into streets alive with cafe culture. We quickly found our spot and began to peruse the menu.
Now, when the menu says surprise, it really means surprise. Because we were dining at O.Noir, the restaurant that's shrouded in utter pitch darkness and served by blind waiters. When it says surprise, you won't have a clue what's on your plate until you put it in your mouth.
Naturally Michele went for a full on surprise dinner! I played it safe and only chose a surprise dessert, going for the fish of the day instead.
It was a rather boozy night from start to finish (more on that in a little while) and it's no secret amongst our friends that neither Michele nor I can take our drinks well. We tried to get a nice photo together and failed magnificently...
The day dimmed away and after another round of drinks, we were ready to head inside.
We formed a chain, each with our hands placed on the shoulders of the person in front. Then we were led through a series of doors that ensured not a single ray of light contaminated the darkness inside.
It was completely and utterly disorientating. The darkness was such a rich and velvety black, it felt as though we had our eyes squeezed shut. I experimented by opening and closing my own a few times, trying to adjust to the sensation that there was absolutely no light at all. Whilst we waited for our food (which was incredibly delicious, even if we didn't have a bloody clue what it was), we stole each other's drinks, prodded, poked and squeezed, thrashed around blindly searching for cutlery...
We discovered that if you brought your hand to your face, your brain would trick you into thinking you could see its faint outline in the black and if you rubbed your napkin against the table cloth, the little sparks of static could be seen.
I didn't get a photo of the restaurant but this is what it looks like:
An incredible experience that was made all the more fun by the copious amounts of alcohol consumed beforehand and during.
Some people were pretty tired afterwards and headed back to the hostel to make use of the proper beds. Others went out for another beer before calling it a night. A few us made it into an incredibly dodgy little bar that smelt of nothing but weed and earnt us glares from the regular patrons. Eager not to go home just yet, our evening of fun took us a little further away from the hostel.
"Don't worry, I'll take you guys to a straight up club." Chad said knowingly.
And those were the last photos I took before we ended up in the gay strip club (turns out, I really can't hear what people say most of the time).
That was an interesting experience for sure. I mean, I even got bought a drink by the barman, whatever that means when you're in a strip club for gay men. Perhaps I look like a man in drag? Who knows and who cares, I got a free negroni out of it!
But anyway, yes, lots of willies being waved around, I'm sure you can imagine what it was like! We didn't get back to the hostel until 4am at which point we had to creep into our respective dorms, trying not to wake up our roommates. Who were ever so amused at 8am the next day when they found me grey and fluffy-mouthed in my bunk.
A night to remember for sure.