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C'est meilleur dans l'obscurité

I'm back from Montréal, and I thought I'd share a description of the rest of my trip (after the Botanical Gardens). I had a chance to catch up with sfllaw over some wonderful food at la Montée de Lait in his part of town. The city of Montréal should probably pay him for his public relations services, as he makes a convincing argument that it's a great place to live, and by extension that I should move there. :) For the past few days I've been spending a lot of time reflecting on my degree of geographical inertia and my career prospects. I can't say I've come to any conclusions—indeed, contemplating such big changes is unsettling to me, but I hope it'll lead to happiness in the long run.

at the Square-Victoria stationAnyway, we walked around the city and eventually found the location of a party to celebrate the wedding earlier that day of a couple of sfllaw and his sweetheart Aleece's friends. The party was in an awesome loft space downtown. Arriving significantly earlier than the other guests, who were being shuttled over by bus from elsewhere in the city, we chatted with fellow partygoer Xavier, a nice guy who'd just gotten off his shift working at a Portuguese restaurant. Really, everyone I met in Montréal was nice and genuinely friendly. Once the party got going, I got dragged onto the dance floor a few times, but I had a hard time not feeling self-conscious and lonely.

On Sunday morning I met sfllaw, Aleece, dcoombs, diluvienne, and Paul from Toronto for dim sum, beginning a languorous day of dining that would take us to la Brûlerie St-Denis and of course to Camellia Sinensis. All that caffeine was not enough to keep everyone from needing a nap—it's too bad Montréal doesn't have a napping salon. :)

Dinner was quite the experience, as I joined dcoombs at O Noir, one of these "dark" restaurants you may have heard about where you eat in total darkness, served by blind waitstaff. I ordered a "surprise" main dish, just to heighten the excitement. :) At this restaurant, you order (and pay the bill afterwards) out in the lobby, which also houses a bank of lockers to stow your belongings so they don't get in the way in the dark dining room. My main dish turned out to be veal with smothered mushrooms, steamed potatoes, and asparagus. The menu choices and table settings—aside from the lack of table centerpiece—weren't different from what you'd expect in a normal restaurant. Wine in regular stemware, the routine complement of flatware, et cetera. Less difficult than I expected was identifying my food; more difficult than I expected was getting an appropriate amount onto my fork and getting it from there to my mouth. I resorted to eating with my fingers for the most part. If one is trying to simulate the experience of dining out as a blind person, this would certainly be cheating. I was going more for the sensory experiment, or at least that's what I'm telling myself to justify the gravy under my fingernails at the end of the meal. :) On a side note, I find that I enjoy conversing in the dark, which I suspect has to do with the loss of self-consciousness.

The next morning, I spend my last few hours in the city in the Quartier Latin, picking up some newly-arrived Yu Shan tea and enjoying a lemon-and-sugar crêpe on the terrace of La Brioche Lyonnaise.

My return flights were uneventful with the exception of the Canadian authorities' confiscation of my small embroidery scissors. The TSA allows scissors with blades shorter than four inches, and I'd unconsciously assumed that the U.S. would have the most restrictive list of prohibited items of any nation in this hemisphere, but it seems I'm wrong, as CATSA prohibits all scissors. Something to note for next time.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
aitai
May. 27th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
that sounds like such a nice trip. your food descriptions were making me drool!
sfllaw
May. 28th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
First-aid scissors are permissible in Canada. They have to have blunt ends.
radhardened
May. 28th, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
Oh, I see.
sfllaw
May. 28th, 2008 12:10 am (UTC)
Also, you are a great dancer! You should dance with us more often! We had a blast.
dcoombs
May. 28th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
Ooh, sorry about your scissors. Actually dilu lost a pair of knitting-related scissors when we flew back from Thunder Bay after Christmas last year. I didn't know that CATSA treated them differently than the TSA, though.

Yes, O Noir was indeed fascinating. I have to agree that conversing in the dark was an interesting twist. It's not the same as regular talking in person, and it's not the same as talking on the phone for example either. I enjoyed it, lots of fun. Thanks for suggesting it.
elwing2000
May. 28th, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
I carry one of these with me when I travel, and I've never been stopped or had it confiscated yet. Most people don't even realize what it is. (And they also make one big enough for yarn if that's more your style)
radhardened
May. 28th, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
That's so cute and clever!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )