Sunday, October 29, 2006

Greetings, dear readers, from Montreal

After a very rough day of flying--our plane could not take off because of the weather in our initial destination, Philadelphia; our flight from Philadelphia was delayed an hour (that worked in our favor), our luggage was not put on our flight, and someone at Louis Armstrong International failed to re-lock my luggage--we arrived, much later than anticipated, in Montreal last night.

During the flight, I came down with a cold. Despite bombarding my body with a variety of substances designed to halt the illness in its early stages, the cold just kept escalating. By the time we landed, I had a sore throat and annoying sinuses. This morning, we awoke to low temperatures, harsh wind and rain. The snow flurries came later. I suppose I would have gotten a cold, anyway. I now have some body aches and sneezing, and am taking it easy and ingesting a lot of cold medicine. Getting sick on a vacation is one of my worst fears, and here I am.

We are staying in a lovely little hotel in the Latin Quarter; here is our street. Since the weather was so bad, we thought today would be a good day to visit Montreal's underground city. Here is a tip: If you go to Montreal, skip the underground city. Yes, it is the world's larget underground shopping area, but it is totally boring. The food court is small and undistinguished, almost all of the shops are clothing shops, and they are almost all standard American mall stores. The one bright spot was an upper level restroom, done in a wonderful contemporary design with gleaming stainless steel and beautiful tile designs.

And speaking of restrooms, it had been a long time since I had flown out of Louis Armstrong (we usually fly out of the Biloxi/Gulfport airport), and it was enjoyable to have the Louis Armstrong International Airport restroom experience. The restrooms there are lovely-smelling, shiny clean, and--best of all--have constant New Orleans r&b piped in.

After we emerged from Montreal's experiment in underground tackiness, we visited the lovely Musee des Beaux-Arts, where we saw a lot of Canandian art, including Inuit art, some contemporary art, some French paintings--mostly Impressionist--and a fascinating exhibit of Germaine Krull's photography. Krull, born in Germany, lived in many places, including Thailand and India. The Montreal exhibit showcases several periods of her photograhpy, but most of the silver gelatin prints are of artists, dancers and actors in Monte Carlo, where Krull was the official photojournalist for the casino for several years. Her photographs, many of which are engagingly dreamy in tone, fall into the photojournalism-as-art category.

There is a museum of contemporary art in Montreal, and--here is a strange fact--it is the only major contemporary art museum in all of Canada.

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