Montreal Hates Me. (The Feeling is Mutual.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Due to the events of last week, I'm way behind in posting a recap of our weekend trip to Montreal. But I still wanted to make note of it, so here we go...

Michael, my mom, and I all took half days at work on Friday, June 3. We left town around 1:30-2:00 and drove up to Montreal. The weather was pretty good and we made good time, even though we had to stop like three times to let the pregnant lady pee. :) We arrived at our hotel in Montreal between 7:00-7:30.

Michael and my mom had been hoping to do the night ride (The Tour la Nuit), but we were running short on time, as it was supposed to start around 8:30. After unloading all of our stuff, the suggestion was made that since I wasn't riding, I could drive them up to the starting line (instead of them riding their bikes). Since we hadn't eaten dinner and I was starving, the plan was for Michael and my mom to ride only part of the route, then meet me back at the hotel so we could still get dinner at a "decent" hour (like 9:30-10:00).

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

We made our way to the starting area without incident, and I dropped them off around 8:00, telling them I'd see them back at the hotel. I turned around the way I had come, with the intention of following the directions (given to us by the concierge) in reverse and getting back to the hotel. It wasn't long before I found myself stuck in traffic gridlock, and had to abandon my return route because the road I had come up was--thanks to the bike ride going on--suddenly closed. I had a city map with me, and I'm perfectly capable of reading one, so I wasn't too concerned at first.

Oh, man. I had no freaking idea what I was in for.

To try to make a long story short... every route I tried to get going back in the direction of our hotel resulted in failure. I'd sit in horrible, barely moving traffic for blocks, only to get to an intersection where the road was closed and I was being diverted back in the opposite direction. This happened countless times. COUNTLESS TIMES. It was like taking one step forward, then being forced to take two steps back. After being stuck in this ridiculousness for an hour and a half and finding myself at yet another roadblock, I actually started sobbing. Here I was, alone, stuck in this foreign, French-speaking city that I've never been in before, and I could not possibly get where I needed to go.

And wouldn't you know... soon, I got a text message from my mom saying they were back at the hotel waiting for me. This was at 9:30. They wanted to know where the hell I was, as it shouldn't have taken me longer than 15-20 minutes to get back to the hotel.

The fact of the matter was that I was trapped. I couldn't get back to the hotel. I couldn't park. I could do nothing but sit in the car, in traffic, being constantly diverted back in the opposite direction from which I needed to go. Minutes turned into hours.

I was starving.

I had to pee. (And my baby was helping out by kicking me in my bladder.)

I was stuck.

I was losing my freaking mind.

I would go from being alright one minute to sobbing and screaming during another. (Pregnancy hormones, for the win!) At one point, when I was (once again!) faced with a closed street and was forced to turn up another street going in the WRONG DIRECTION, I actually ripped my map in a fit of rage. Looking back on it, it's hilarious, but at the time, I was more miserable than ever.

Crying, I tried to ask directions/advice from one of the volunteers who was stationed at a roadblock. He spoke virtually no English and we could not understand each other. Fabulous. A while later, I found myself at another closed street with a police officer stationed there. By this time, it was 10:45, I had been driving around the same area of Montreal for three hours, and I was in rough shape. I rolled down my window and was thankful to discover that she spoke English. Hysterically, I told her what I had been through and she said, "I believe it. There are like two days a year you don't want to drive in Montreal, and this is one of them." WELL, WOULDN'T THAT HAVE BEEN NICE TO KNOW. Damn.

The police officer then told me, "Worst case scenario, the roads will all open back up at midnight so you can get back to your hotel then." Again, this was at 10:45. I had already been sitting in the car on the streets of Montreal for three hours. And she was telling me to wait it out until midnight. I started sobbing again and it was then that she noticed I'm pregnant. I was in such hysterics that she actually asked me if I needed an ambulance. (I was so tempted to say yes, just to get me the hell out of there!)

It seems kind of pathetic how upset I was, but I had been in the car since 1:30. We had driven 5 1/2 hours just to get to Montreal, and now I had been stuck, less than three miles from our hotel, for more than three hours, with seemingly no end in sight. And again, I was freaking HUNGRY. And tired. With a full freaking bladder.

MISERY, I tell you.

The police officer gave me a route to follow that would take me way up and out of my way, cut over, then take me down an open street back to our hotel. With no other choice, I began making my way through the route she mapped out. I was stuck in barely moving traffic the entire time.

I did eventually make it back to the hotel, though. At 12:15 a.m.

I gotta tell you: Montreal made a lovely first impression on me. (NOT.)

The way the roads were blocked off and the detours were set up was the most ass-backwards operation I've ever seen run by a city. The detours did not get you where you needed to go, they merely redirected you in circles within a 1-mile radius. I was never more than 3-4 miles from our hotel, yet I spent more than four hours trying to make my way back there. RIDICULOUS.

When I had finally started making progress toward the hotel, my mom and Michael ran out to get takeout food for us at one of the only still-open restaurants in the area. So, when I got back to the hotel, they were still at the restaurant waiting for the food. We finally ate dinner sometime between 12:30 and 1:00 a.m. SAD.

Exhausted, I crashed into bed.

I was determined to not let this night ruin my time in Montreal, but I knew that the city would have to pull out all of the stops to make up for the hell I had been through.

Would it? Only time would tell...

(I planned to combine all of Montreal in one blog post, but this is too long. Part 2 to come tomorrow!)

6 comments:

Molly June 15, 2010 at 10:26 PM  

OMG, that sounds like absolute hell. I get into fits of rage in traffic jams just in my own city! Props to you for keeping any level of sanity. I hope the rest of the trip was much better!

Gaynor June 16, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

That sounds awful!

Hope you enjoyed the rest of your trip!

Wishing on stars June 16, 2010 at 3:19 PM  

lol I'm so sorry but this made me laugh. It's not nice of me and I feel horrible that you were in such misery. But reading about the map tearing made me giggle.
I actually know how you feel (aside from the pregnancy part) I get lost ALL the time and I've actually broken down and started crying before.

I'm sorry you were stuck in your car for so long!

Life of a Doctor's Wife June 16, 2010 at 3:34 PM  

Oh Heather that sounds awful! Even for a non-pregnant person! You poor girl. Glad you made it okay.

Krystie June 16, 2010 at 5:22 PM  

I've cried while waiting in traffic. It gets SO frustrating when you need to be somewhere and can't be there.

Sorry your first night was hell! I'm glad you finally got that baby bean some food and were able to pee!

Heather June 16, 2010 at 10:02 PM  

Thanks for the sympathy, guys. :)

Wishing on stars--Believe me, I can laugh about it now, too. I ripped that map like I was the Incredible Hulk! HA!

Krystie--Glad I'm not alone! It was SO FRUSTRATING!

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