A DAY IN MONTREAL, A CHARMING CITY OF OLD AND NEW
Me and gigantic pumpkins (real ones)
Eugene, Chris and I had a day in Montreal on 1st November 2016. In the morning we went to the Mantreal Open Market.
"But the market is not really open. It's indoors," I said.
"It's because of winter coming. In summer, the doors are all open," Eugene replied.
"Do you mean that the doors and walls are collapsible, and that in summer there are no doors and no walls?" I asked.
"Yes, that's why it's an open market!"
The stalls were filled with a great variety of vegetables and fruits. We bought some nice fruits.
Then we went outside the "indoor" market, and found some stalls with gigantic pumpkins. I thought the pumpkins in Sarotoga a few days ago were gigantic, but here they were even more gigantic, some measuring about five feet in diameter.
"When I went with Simu to Barcelona many years ago, she took a photo with a large pumpkin," I told Eugene and Chris. That pumplin was about three feet in diameter, and we thought it was very big. "I must show Simu these gigantic pumpkins," I added, "At least show her the pictures."
"How much is one pumpkin?" I asked a hawker while pointing to a pumpkin about three feet in diameter.
"That's very reasonable," I said. "How much is that gigantic pumpkin over there?" I pointed to the largest pumpkin I had ever seen, which was more than five feet in diameter."
"Six hundred dollars," he said.
Anyway, I could neither bring the six-dollar pumpkin nor the six hundred-dollar pumpkin up a plane when I fly home.
Then we went to a stall selling a lot of chilies. "Chun Nga will love this stall," I told Eugene and Chris. Chun Nga is my eldest son who loves very spicy food,
"Surely he'll love the chilies," Eugene commented.
As we went down the lane, we came to another stall with a lot of chilis on a rack. "I must take some pictures of chilies for Chun Nga," I said.
Then Eugene led us to a shop selling a great variety of cheese. You could find cheese of all types here, ranging in color from white to yellow to red.
"How many types of cheese are there in the shop?" I asked a shop assistant.
"More than 600," he replied.
"The pate here is very delicious. It's made from pheasant meat," Eugene commented, with his mouth almost watering. Eugene bought some pate, some cheese and a long piece of bread.
Then we went downtown. We passed a policeman and a policewoman on horses. I recalled someone telling me that the mounted police on horses were very fast in traffic jams.
We then saw the beautiful Montreal Cathedral besides a lovely public park. As an interesting contrast with the classical architecture of the cathedral, there were two large modern buildings opposite.
We then drove along the waterfront of St Lawrence River before returning to my hotel suite to have a delicious lunch, which consisted of cheese, pate, jarmon and bread as well as many fruits bought by Eugene at the market.
We had siesta, or a short rest, after lunch. Then we walked out of our hotel to explore the old town of Montreal. The old town was not very old, and much unlike those in Europe. The buildings in Montreal old town were solid and tall, and the streets very wide.
Situated in the centre of old town, and just next to our new but romantic hotel, was Notre Dame Cathedral. The cathedral was majestic, with colorful glass pictures inside, a grandiose fontage and a gigantic organ at the back.
We then went to an indoor market, which was probably a former courthouse. There were many souvenirs and other goods for both locals and tourists. I bought a large toy giraffe for my grandson.
At night we went to have dinner at a restaurant in a city square. Eugene and Chris had some red wine to go with their steak. I, too, had a tasty steak and not to be left out also drank some red wine. After dinner we toured Montreal by night.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit,
1st November 2016
Horse cart and Cathedral in Montreal