Departing for Montreal

Trip Start Apr 10, 2007
Trip End Apr 15, 2007

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Flag of United States  , Georgia
Wednesday, April 11, 2007

We're off again... bright and early. This time, the Globetrotters are on our way to Montreal Quebec, Canada to celebrate Michael's birthday. Last year this time we were in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Wow, that year went by fast. Well, it's time for yet another birthday celebration in another country. Michael decided quite a few years ago that he wanted to spend his birthday in a different country each year, and it seems that he's holding true to his dream.

With an early flight, we head off to Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport for our flight, with a stopover in Washington, DC. In total the flight to Montreal will take us about five hours--just enough time to catch up on the sleep I've sacrificed for the last few days. What a surprise we found after checking in and getting our boarding passes--the TSA line was extremely long. We have always found that traveling on Tuesdays and Wednesdays was best to avoid the crowds at the airport, but not today. According to an airport agent, this is pretty normal for the world's busiest airport. But in no time we made it through the line and were off to board our flight. Both legs of our trip were quite uneventful, which is good in this day of weather delays, security checks and airplane malfunctions.

Once on the ground in Montreal we were quite impressed with the lovely modern looking airport and how easy it was to find our way to the customs area. We breezed through customs, grabbed our luggage, exchanged some cash ($.93 US for $1 Canadian) and headed outside to locate transportation to the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Centerville (downtown) Montreal.

The weather reports indicated that it would be around 35F degrees and rainy this week. But what a pleasant surprise to find clear, blue skies and a lovely crisp afternoon. Not too bad, thank goodness. But what could ruin a lovely day quicker than the offensive smell of cigarette smoke? It seems that smoking is still en vogue here and these Canadians are sucking up the carcinogens big time. But we have no right to complain. After all, this is their country and their culture and we're only visiting for a short time. So all we can say is, "C'est la vie (that's life)!" and go on with our trip.

"Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais (Boh-zhur, pahr-lay voo ahn-gleh -- Hello, do you speak English)?" Michael asked the redhead at the transportation booth. "Yeah, sure, what do you need?" was her dry response in the familiar American accent, which didn't sound like an accent at all to us. Girlfriend must be from Jersey, I thought to myself. With a laugh, Michael inquired which bus we should take to our hotel, how much it would cost and how long it would take to get there. "We were told to look for Le Quebecois," Michael said. She pointed to her chest and replied, "Here I am!", then quickly rattled off instructions, took the 48$ (Canadian) that Michael handed her, and jokingly remarked, "I'll just give the tickets to the boss because you'll only lose them."

After about 30 minutes, we arrived at the bus terminal downtown, where met up with the shuttle van driver, who delivered us to the Hyatt in less than 10 minutes. A 12-story downtown property, the Hyatt looks pretty inconspicuous on the outside at first glance, but once inside the lobby, we were impressed with the swanky contemporary decor. Very hip, very cool, very French. It reminded me of what you might find at the W Hotel in San Diego, or The 12 in downtown Atlanta.

As expected, everything was in order upon check in. I would definitely recommend to anyone staying at a Hyatt anwhere to upgrade to the Business Plan, which offers breakfast (for each guest in the room), Internet access, plush robes and your choice of newspaper each day of your stay. We discovered this little treat on a trip to Denver, CO last month and found it to be a fantastic deal.

Our 12th-floor room definitely met with our approval. So much so that we opted to dine in for the evening on a delicious meal of rosemary chicken with mushrooms, steamed veggies, garden salad and, of course, creme brulee. After our early morning and long day of travel, the Globetrotters are definitely pooped. We'll hit the streets of Montreal in the morning. Bonne nuit.

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