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I am sitting in a library right now while N takes a Spanish test. I think it is actually a theology library :) Montreal is a lovely place - essentially, it is very relaxed, which is nice.

Some things that I have noticed, but are too silly to really talk about:
* The vast majority of cars here only have number plates on the back, but still have the space for a number plate on the front, just it's left as a blank space. Which looks odd - kinda like seeing a face where instead of a mouth, there was just smooth skin o.O
* All the toilets here have the flush handle on the left, (whereas in the UK they are always on the right) so I feel like an idiot each time I instinctively reach for the wrong side
* Montreal is on a grid system, with blocks. This is very strange to me.
* Because of the grid system, people walk and drive in straight lines an awful lot, and cars turning actually hardly seems to happen. People just keep going in a straight line for ages. And pedestrians are constantly crossing these square intersections, which is a weird thing to think is noticeabe I guess, but yeah. All the time.
* They have bendy buses here. I'm not entirely sure why, since they hardly ever go round corners. Also, they don't use the space on them very eficiently in the number of seats:space on the bus. Plus, the bus fares are about as much as they are in London, which surprised me because everything else here is quite cheap generally. I wonder whether the taxes are very low or something.
* There is a big and very liberal drugs culture here, which I knew before I came but is different to witness in person, but there is far less of a drinking culture. Essentially, most of the students I have met have at least tried weed, if they don't use weed and shrooms and painkillers regularly, but when I explained that I didn't really like wine or beer much and instead mainly drunk vodka and gin (and tequila, and sambuca, and... :P) I got a slightly weird look. That they use the word "liquor" here is in itself kinda odd to me.

One of the things I think is really lovely about Montreal is the vibrant diversity and the complete lack of tension between people (that I have noticed, anyway.) Racially and culturally, with Jews and Chinatown and the Greek quarter and the different types of Muslims and Italians around and so many other ethnicities and types of people, and there are people that only speak French as well as people that speak French and English, and there are so many students because there are four universities. And there is such an amazing gay culture here. I have met so many skinny hipster gay boys since I got here, it's crazy. And there is just a complete and utter lack of any kind of tension or intolerance or irritation or anything negative toward anyone, and it's wonderful, and somehow, kinda hopeful to me, because it really demonstrates that it is so totally possible for people to really happily and comfortably live together as just people, seemingly not just without hatred but without any kind of resentment or . OK, I'm probably seeing this slightly rose tintedly, and it's very possible that there could be tension beneath the surface or whatever, and maybe people get more irritable when the whether isn't as nice as it is right now or whatever. But this is one of the major things I have noticed about Montreal. Everyone is super relaxed and comfortable in a way I didn't really realise the UK wasn't.

Having said t his, I have been warned that the police here can be horrible. Though, come to think of it, I don't think I've even seen a police officer since getting here.

Also, there a lot of good quality thrift stores that are like looking for treasure.

I'm having a really nice time, I'm so glad I came here :)

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the camelion Poet

July 2013

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