Most times when I travel I like to have an agenda to follow, a plan, a mapping out of the trip so I know that I have at least something going on while I'm there. The worst kind of trip is showing up somewhere and missing out on things because I didn't do any homework ahead of time. The "If only I had known" mantra is sad because especially in the internet age, it can be so easily avoided.
But my recent Montreal trip had four simple objectives: a relaxing train ride up, spend time with my new friends Chris and Paul, experience a strip club and enjoy Montreal's gay pride.
On the day I left I got flustered by many things: I had a big bingo night before and got home late so I didn't get much sleep, having a blog posting to do which I'd promised someone I'd write hadn't been done (in part because they got the material to me late but still) and, worst, a long long long line to board the train at Penn Station when I arrived to board the train.
This last one threw me the most.
I'd planned and planned and planned for the trip but hadn't planned on other people planning and planning and planning too. Last November when I took the train to Montreal, I simply waited until they called the train (like every other train I've ever taken in my life) and boarded. I got a window seat and spent the journey enjoying the scenery and the movies I'd brought along with me.
But with a line so long I couldn't see the start of it from the end where I stood, I worried that I might not get any seat at all much less a window seat. I couldn't imagine standing for 12 hours! By the time I boarded I was in such a state of panic that I'd started to consider ditching the trip and doing a staycation in my apartment. Can you imagine? I just send out little emails to various friends once in a while saying "I'm having a great time here!" when in fact I was still on the upper west side?
But it was all for nothing as it was a large train and although the Montreal-bound passengers were confined to two cars for most of the journey, I got a decent seat (albeit in a semi-unairconditioned car for much of the trip). And although I had a seat mate and there were two girls behind me saying "bitch stole my boyfriend" and "bitch needs to stay away from me when we get home" and many other various 'bitch' comments (I think "bitch" is the new "like"... as in rather than "like, I am SO sure!" it's "BITCH, I am SO sure"). I never knew I'd miss similes.
Anyway, the girls fell asleep and the guy next to me dozed off and I started to chill out with my "Sex in the City" dvd, my "Designing Women Season 1" dvds and yes, my "Harold and Kumar" movies all of which I figured would put me in exactly the right frame of mind for my Montreal stay.
And they did.
But what really knocked the New York stress out of me was a beautiful sight just over the Canadian border, the sky filled with dozens of hot air balloons. The whole train sort of came alive as people started seeing them and it was even better when it turned out that we slowed down at a station where we could get a better look at them. Here are two short videos of what I saw (look for the balloon shaped like a mushroom towards the bottom of the sky in the first vid):
It was a short time afterwards that we arrived in Montreal and I took this video of the sunset over the city.
So, while the trip started off all stressy and anxious, the universe did it's best to ensure that eventually I ended up relaxed to the point of being ready to have some fun on a summer weekend in Montreal.
TO BE CONTINUED.