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Markus' Travel and International Living Blog

Markus is an enthusiastic traveler, who lives in Houston, TX (USA) most of the time, but also spends some time in Saalfelden, near Salzburg (Austria). He is fascinated by travel and also by his experiences gathered by living in two different countries and continents.

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Sunday, June 19, 2005
Bonsoir, Montréal!

After our brief 2-day stay in New York City, we are off to Montreal. I really like Montreal! In many ways, it represents the best of Europe and America: A bustling modern city, mixed with (relatively) old buildings. The city is very high-energy. It is less serious and less business than most US cities, and it is much more about enjoying yourself. Even on a Monday or Tuesday night you can go out to eat or to a bar and meet a lot of people you are actually excited to meet. And then there is the multi-cultural mixture with both French and English influences (among others). In short: It's a blast!

The flight from New York to Montreal is just over an hour. Once again, the departure out of La Guardia airport in New York is rough. In fact, the plane never really "settles in". I think there must have been a problem with the trim of the airplane, because it kind of "hangs in the air crooked" the entire flight. At first I thought it was just my broken seat, but as it turns out, other people notice the "hanging forward and to the left" effect as well. It all works out well though, and I am annoyed at my self for having gotten concerned once again for no real reason. For some reason I had developed a dislike for flights that are just slightly unusual. I guess the fact that I fly constantly makes me pay attention to little unexpected noises or other unusual factors way too much. In the end, it always turns out to be nothing and I ended up spending a few hours uncomfortable for no reason.

As we get to Montreal (Friday night), it is too late to do much (and we are too tired anyway), so it is room service one more time, and then we finally get a good nights sleep. (Rick was wrong: Sleep is a pretty good invention after all!). Saturday is a pretty easy day. A little bit of business and preparation for the conference we are here for, and then we are off to the speaker dinner. Many of the conferences I go too (although viewer than in past years) have a dinner for all the involved speakers. This is a good way to network, get to know people, and arrange for business deals. In this case, the speaker dinner is particularly nice since they are taking us on a tour of Montreal. Very cool. A few times, I couldn't help but giggle a bit. "Montreal has some very old buildings", the tour guide says, "this one here for instance is over 200 years old...". 200 years?!? That's not old! In Austria, old buildings begin at... OK, we move on. "Montreal is also known for being build around a mountain", the tour guide continues as we go up the "Montagne Royale". Mountain?!? In Austria, mountains start at... well, never mind.

The tour is great though, and I enjoy myself very much. It ends at a restaurant that is meant to be all prepared for our roudy group of "business visitors". However, it turns out they kind of forgot about us, so they put us in the regular dining area. This works out OK for us, although I do feel that the people who were already there (some couples there obviously tried to have a romantic evening together) got the dirty end of the stick. Most of them leave pretty much right away as they realize the noise level our group produces.

As it turns out, Montreal has an annual fireworks festival over the course of several weeks (some thought it was 8 weeks, others maintained it was 6 weeks). On different evenings, different countries put on fireworks for 30 to 45 minutes. I was very much looking forward to that, but unfortunately, the extremely poor service at the restaurant, we ended up missing the fireworks altogether. Bummer. Well, maybe next year. The night finally comes to an end at Hurley's Irish Pub.



Posted @ 7:35 PM by Egger, Markus (megger@eps-software.com) -
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