Trip to ABR - Day 2
April 30, 2008 | Updates
Day 2 of our trip - Saturday, April 19th.
This morning, we began our drive to Montreal. We were able to make a quick stop at one of our business vendor’s facilities in New York, which was nice. The Canadian border patrol didn’t give us any hassle about passing through. And all went well. We had discovered just a few days before leaving home that we wouldn’t be able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, so I had spent several days trying to find other options. We found that apartments rented for the week were much less expensive than getting a hotel room, so we had reserved an apartment online.
When we got to Montreal, our GPS would not take the apartment address as it did not recognize it. So, I contacted the woman renting us the apartment to get directions. It was then that I discovered why so many parents had suggested we would absolutely need a GPS. Although the woman I was speaking to spoke English, her native tongue was French and everytime she said a French street name, I had NO IDEA what she had just said. And no matter how many times she repeated it, I couldn’t possibly write the directions down because I couldn’t even understand the words! It was frustrating.
Amazingly enough, we were able to find the apartment. However, its condition was a big surprise. Montreal is pretty run down in many areas and there is graffiti everywhere. In addition, everyone lives in townhouses - only these are 3 story townhouses with an apartment on each floor, making the apartments very small. They don’t list things as 1 bedroom or 2 bedrooms. They list them as 1 ½ or 2 ½ rooms total! It’s very strange to see so many people living right on top of one another with literally no space between the buildings.
Anyway, our apartment was very small and very run down in a very run down part of Montreal. It was on the second floor with winding steps to the door. There were no doors on the bedroom and hardly room to set up Samuel’s portable crib. The towels, mattresses and sheets were old. There was only 1 window in the entire apartment and it was hot being upstairs. I was NOT happy and I was SO GLAD Tom was with us! I spoke with the woman renting the place and told her we only wanted to stay one night and would find a new place. She agreed, but charged me an extra cleaning fee which I happily paid as there was no way this was going to work for a week.
Finding a place for dinner was a whole different thing. Everything was in French! We used the GPS and found several places, but it was now so late, that nearly everything was closed. We finally found a small diner called Nickels and ate there. The food was OK, but the waitress didn’t always understand what we were saying as her English was limited. When we went to pay, our credit cards wouldn’t work. We tried 3 of them! We had no Canadian money and eventually they took our American money. I paid the poor waitress her tip in American change because the only other option was to leave her $20 because I had no change and they couldn’t give me any. She probably would’ve preferred nothing over the change. I’m not sure it’s worth the trip to the bank to change in $5 of American change!
When we got back to the apartment, I decided to use the one good thing there - the washer and dryer. So, I threw everything I could find that needed washing into the old washer. An hour later, I discovered that all the washing machine did was fill up with water. It wouldn’t wash, it wouldn’t rinse, it wouldn’t spin or drain the water. So, we pulled the now soaking wet, still dirty clothes out one at a time and tried to squeeze the water out of them. I then ran them through 2 cycles in the dryer and they were STILL wet. Ugh! The internet there also wouldn’t work. I messed with it for over an hour and nothing. Things were not going well and by now it was REALLY late and I was extra unhappy!
That night, Samuel slept well. I didn’t. The mattress was 99% springs and 1% cover. Don’t worry though, things started looking up later on.