helen-louise (baratron) wrote,

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Things I have learned since arriving in Montréal

-4 deg C with no wind is a perfectly reasonable temperature if you are wearing the appropriate gear.

-11 deg C with windchill is UNIMAGINABLY cold, so much so that I thought my eyeballs were going to freeze (even though I know it takes a much lower temperature for that to happen).

I thought the name "Montréal" was pronounced Mon - tré - al (with appropriate French syllables), but the people here pronounce it in French as "Mor - ré - al". The "t", and most of the "n", are entirely missing.

In English, it's pronounced the way you'd expect. So the same person talking about their city in two different languages pronounces the name of it differently. I suppose that's not particularly unusual - Paris springs to mind, but I'm used to cities where the name is actually different in the two languages, e.g. London / Londres.

The other oddity is that although you might think the city name comes from Mont Réal and therefore there's a mountain somewhere called that, it's actually called Mont Royal. Obviously, Réal is a corruption of Royal, but why did the city name change and the mountain name not? I need to look this up because it's bothering me!

There is a great abundance of vegan food. I have 23 restaurants on my list (printed out from HappyCow) and have been to 3 of them, but also the hotel is right next to Chinatown and anywhere that can do fried tofu with mixed vegetables and steamed rice is fine for me. I'm not a Level 5 vegan!

There is a low abundance of accessibility. I can go hardly anywhere by myself. A lot of shops have one big step outside - which does make sense in a city with large amounts of snowfall for several months of the year. Some others are arranged in an "upstairs/downstairs" manner, with five steps down to the basement shop and a flight of stairs up to the second floor shop. I found what looked like an awesome game shop, but the only way I could get into it would be if I was having a really energetic day and got Richard to wait outside with the wheelchair while I limped up the stairs.

For further inaccessibility, the official Montréal journey planner only includes metro and train, not bus. WTF? I suppose this is what you can expect of a city which only has 2 fully-accessible metro stations (plus a further 5 which are accessible with help), but WTF?! Many buses are accessible (e.g. every other bus on a route, or 2 out of 3), but that's no use if I can't figure out how to catch them! I found an unofficial journey planner, but it wouldn't recognise any address I entered, not even the examples given! Bah. I'll work it out myself with a bus map :(
Tags: canada, travel, vegan, wheelchair rambling

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