Goodbye New York!
Hello Frite Alors!
Okay, I admit, I didn't actually eat in the Frite Alors! yet. (I was too hungry after arriving at my hotel and just ran to the closest frites joint I could find, which sadly, was not Frite Alors!. But never you worry, the poutine is coming, promise!)
Aside from its obvious appeal as Land of Frites, Montreal is the Land of Confounding Signs. While I'm sure it would help if I spoke French, some of the signage here just defies explanation. So, okay, I suppose a potato distributor is straightforward enough:
But what the hell is this? Perhaps it is just "street art" of some sort...but based on its placement, I imagined that 1837 is the house number, and assume that the residents are arty-types...but what is that vaguely struwwelpeter-esque figure lurking above it?
And this one?
Sure, sure, you are saying: it's a country-western dance club. However, consider the evidence: this sign was hanging outside a totally industrial space, had no discernable entryway, and no evidence of a space big enough for dancing. Plus...it's Montreal! In case you can't tell, the lettering underneath the peeling tape actually reads "club privat," which makes the Club Bolo even more mysterious. What is going on in there that is so private, eh? I'm thinking some kind of line dancing/fetish club.
My favorite two signs, however, went unphotographed: the first, which read "lesbian haircuts, $15" had an actual lesbian standing in front of it, so photographing seemed inappropriate. The second, which stood in an abandoned lot I was investigating, pictured an open tin can, lid aloft, with a big red slash through it. Honest to God, the first thought that ran through my befuddled American head was "No baked beans?" before I realized that the Quebecois municipal leaders do not want their citizens to dump garbage in there. But by then I was laughing so hard I couldn't take a picture anyway.
After all this excitement, I needed more food, so hunkered down in a streetside noodleshop on Saint-Denis. Here I captured these two ghostly laughers who passed by my camera (which was conveniently set for a long exposure):
before absentmindedly playing with the candle on my table:
The word "breakfast" floating there in the background is surely a sign--my breakfast is included in the price of the hotel...and I bet it's gonna rock.