Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting There Part 2!

When we left off yesterday, I was in Chicago for the night on my way to Montreal!

My first flight was at 8:30 am, so I got to the airport around 7. (OUCH)

My early morning flight woes were totally canceled out by breakfast on the plane. I'm sad that Porter doesn't really do flights in the US, because you guys, breakfast: they're doin' it right!

Mini blueberry muffin loaf & peach yogurt. SO FREAKING GOOD. And free!

When you ask for coffee on an American airline, you get a styrofoam cup of crap. I got an actual MUG of Starbucks coffee with REAL sugar and dairy creamer! Freakin' heaven.

My first layover was in Toronto, which was kind of cool since I knew I'd be returning to Toronto in about 4 days for the show there! Our hotel is right next to the CN tower, so it was cool to be able to see it from the airport!! (I flew into the smaller Toronto airport, Billy Budd, which is on the Toronto Islands. If you get the chance, GO THERE!)

Ohai, Toronto! BRB!

I had 3 hours to kill in the Toronto airport. At first I was like "WTF am I going to do for that long?" because it is a VERY small airport- no shops or restaurants or anything. But then I found heaven. In the small waiting area, there is a little cafe with an espresso machine that makes coffee, espresso, cappuccinos, etc, a fridge full of soda, water and juice, and tons of shortbread cookies and biscotti. And it is all FREE FREE FREE. To a coffee addict, this is as good as it gets.

Canada welcomes me with espresso and cookies. I'll be moving here now, thanks! (Yes, I put cream in my espresso, bite me.)

I sat at a little table sipping my coffee and wondering how many free refreshments I could suck down while I was there (answer: 3 packages of cookies, 2 espressos, a few sips of icky cappuccino, part of a bottle of water and some apple juice) before I went to check out the "business center" which turned out to be a room with about 30 computers with FREE INTERNETS. If I hadn't been on my way to see U2, I may have just lived in this airport FOR-EVER.

In the words of Darren Criss, "Apple juice, man. Fucking delicious."

Outside of the cafe, the waiting area was divided into little pods with walls between them, instead of the long stretches of open seating I'm used to in airports. It was nice to have that little sense of privacy while I stretched out with my juice and book!

I was almost sad to leave, but "and then I lived in the Toronto airport happily ever after!" doesn't make for a very good blog post. Plus, while I was online I learned that the line for the first Montreal show had ALREADY STARTED and was up to almost 150. WTF? I totally get lining up early for shows. (General Admission at U2 is, as the name implies, first come first serve, so ending up right in front of the stage or way at the back of the field comes down to when you show up.) I'd been planning to go get in line somewhere between 4 and 6 AM (yes, for the 9 PM show), but here it was noon on the day BEFORE the show, and the line had already been going for quite a while. It sounded like total crazyness. (This is that stuff your English teacher called foreshadowing, kids!)

My next flight took me to Mont Tremblant. I was really hesitant to book this one, because who has ever actually heard of Mont Tremblant?? And there was only about half an hour between my arriving there and my departing flight, so I was terrified I would be forever trapped in a tiny Quebec ski resort where nobody speaks English. Once my plans were sealed, though, I kind of got into it, because when else am I ever going to go there?

This is apparently what Mont Tremblant (French for "Trembling Mountain") looks like in the winter. Skiing: They're into it!

I'm a little sad I didn't get to see the actual town/ski resort, because it is reportedly sort of Disneyesque in its perfection and cuteness. Here's what I did see:

This is the Mont Tremblant airport. All of it. I hopped off the plane, went through that door on the right, went through "security" (they made me throw away my apple juice & water from Toronto- boooo!), waited in a sitting room behind that door on the left for about 10 minutes, and then hopped back on the same plane. Shortest visit to MT ever?

After the one last flight, I finally made it to Montreal! I got a bus/metro pass ($8 CAD) and as soon as I sat down on the bus, a man with a Dublin accent next to me looked at me and asked, "You here for U2?" I had found my people.

Montreal is kind of huge, but pretty easy to navigate with public transport. A taxi from the airport to my hotel would have been around $30, but instead I took the bus from the airport to Station Lionel Groulx, and the metro from there to the station about half a mile from my hotel. I'd written out directions from the metro to the hotel, but they now made NO SENSE, so I turned the half mile walk into about 1.5 miles (in the heat, dragging luggage.) By the time I actually made it to the hotel, I was DEAD. I stopped by a desk and asked the women sitting there where I could get water. I was NOT expecting one of them to jump up and yell "ARE YOU CRYSTAL?" and grab me in a big bear hug. HI, AMY!! Turns out the desk was the hotel's business center, and Amy & Laura were there soaking up the free internet. After some hugs and a "I love you and am so happy to see you, but I seriously need water or I am going to die", I met up with the rest of our group, found my room, dropped off my stuff and got changed for our 7pm meetup at a downtown Montreal Irish pub. (I got to the hotel at 6, and was WAY too tired to go out, but I can't say no to that kind of thing!!)

After a couple of hours of drinks, conversations and flirting with a hot bartender (who we convinced to put U2 on as background music) several of us decided to go see the U2 3D movie which was playing at the Science Center. We had to split between 2 cabs, and the driver of ours didn't know where he was going, so I actually got to say "Follow that car!" while pointing at the other taxi. WIN!

If I owned a giant TV with 3D technology, I'd probably watch U2 3D every night, because Vertigo Tour Edge is super hot. Amy and I were so giggly at the beginning that some random rude Montreal dude told us to shut up. The movie hadn't even STARTED yet, it was the opening credits, and dude, it is a CONCERT FILM, you are going to be able to hear. FOAD, Montreal dude! Still, the movie was awesome, and we were all dancing in our seats. PERFECT way to start the trip! It was like a warm-up concert before the real thing!

(You will just have to kind of pretend you're seeing this in 3D. It was pretty kickass, felt like being on the stage!)

Up next: We hit the first Montreal show with 80,000 of our dearest friends!

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