Neurocritical Care Society Symposium, Montreal, CA. 9/21-24/2011.
Montreal was easier to get into than I thought it would be (judging from past experiences getting and out of Canada). Minimal hassle, but did require my passport. Absolutely full of French as a first language, but most are happy to switch to English very easily. However, I don’t translate heavily inflected French accents well. Sounds to me like they’re either gargling or choking.
The French have an established reputation of being obnoxious to Americans. I didn’t see any of that, probably because they have figured out they are a service industry and they have to at least pay lip service to customer satisfaction. However, some of the hotel interfaces when faced with “irregularities” tended to be what I would call “short”. Almost like they were trying hard to be accommodating but they didn’t really feel that much accommodating off camera.
The hotel said they offered “WiFi”, but like many other hotels that doesn’t mean in the rooms. It means in the bars where while you’re there, you might like to have a drink or snack. They never miss the smallest chance to extract money from tourists or conventioneers.
The hotel was nice but nothing out of the ordinary for a major city. Usual price- expensive. Food was good but not as good as that in Paris I don’t think. Hotel food always tastes the same. Prices for everything was the International-usual, jacked up anywhere from 50% to 100% over what might be considered reasonable in a non-touristy city elsewhere.
The big draw I think was that most of the “old” section of the city was within walking distance from the hotel, so that’s what I did. Most of the city I saw was clean and seemingly prosperous. The huge church was incredible. Said to be where Celine Dion got married. There were more street beggars and panhandlers than I see in most American cities I think, excluding San Francisco, which leads the list in that regard. I think the Canadians have much more of a sense of “Country” than most Americans who have degenerated to much more of a sense of “Political Affiliation”. I could see myself living here.
Here’s the photos I took, easiest to make a movie of it.
I like the architecture, old and new. Lots of motorcycle parking on the street as you can see. Also bicycles for rent. You put coins in, ride the bicycle somewhere and drop it off when done at another site around the city.
CODES played in an enormous ballroom with all the amenities and all went well. Didn’t get any photos. Maybe some will be forthcoming. Next gig for the CODES is in Cleveland Oct 21, followed by New Orleans I think first few days in Feb and I’m told we may possibly have the House of Blues there again which is a nice venue. Then the big one……Houston for SCCM.