Saturday, August 29, 2009

Montreal - Kaleidoscope From La Belle France to North American Metropolis

Montreal is just like this picture! -- A harmonious orchestra with the old key but the fassionable tone. This photo was taken on McGill Avenue, the right is from the archives of McCord Museum while the left is advertisement for Mexx, a fashion brand. Indeed, you can always find steepletops constrasting to modern glassic skyscrapers, wherever in the downtown and old town area.


Saint Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal. This is a Roman Catholic basilica. No doubt this Oratory is famous for its architechture and religious status. But here what I really want to mention is a man, who ever said: "I am a man just like you". His name is Brother Andre. I was so impressed by his stories. One comment he ever made concerning the numberous requests for healings is,

"It is surprising that I am frequently asked for cures, but rarely for humility and the spirit of faith. Yet they are so important..."
Love, Faith, Confidence and Humility. -- This is my feeling after the visit to St. Joseph's Oratory.


Inner views of the Oratory. The door has quite fashions with those colorful glasses. The window actually depicts bible stories in a cartoon style. Very funny!

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Another famous chapel! Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal. This building's history dates back to the origins of Montreal, which was founded in 1643. If you ever get chance there, pay attention to those gorgeous stained-glass windows, which depit scenes from Montreal's social and religious history.


A quiet morning. I starts off my wandering from this trail.


Old railway station. Montreal has many stone houses like this one, because of the famous fire in the history, just like Chicago. Also, Mark Twain ever said,

"This is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breaking a church window."


Now let's see some modern world. Love it or hate it, Raymond Masson's 1986 statement on the human condition is one of Montreal's most talked-about sculptures. The inscription reads in part:

`A crowd has gathered... the strong light casts shadows, and as light moves toward the back and diminishes, the mood degenerates; rowdiness, disorder and violence occur, showing the fragile nature of man'.

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This sculpture work is called La Joute (The Joust), designed by Jean Paul Riopelle. It is by far his most important and prodigious work, noted for the diversity of its thematic elements.


The same building, two views. We often judge people and things with colorful glasses. Here is a vivid example. Be Careful!


Inner side of the colorful building, (sorry, I forgot its name!).


A flower store at the corner of one subway station. Halloween is coming!


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Views from the Old Port. Montreal is still in the peak of color, while Chicago is already winter.


Montreal's Subway Stations are really worth going, not only for its convenient transportation, but also for creative station art! Have you ever heard the title "Underground City"? That is the name for Montreal's subway network. -- You can walk through the whole downtown area without coming out of the ground!

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My last meal was enjoyed in this restaurant. Its name is Usine De Spaghetti Parisienne. Why I have to tell your the name? Surely, I had a luxious lunch and were very happy. More coincidently, this is the place where Charles Dickens wrote the novel, A Tale of Two Cities .


When you're travelling, the culinary experience in each country helps set the mood of your stay. You almost eat every meal out. Much of the enjoyment of a vacation is finding a cute little place to sit in and watch the world go by while eating a whole new array of foods. :)


Waiting in the airport. The night I were supposed to fly back home witnessed the heaviest thunderstorm of this year in Chicago. The flight was almost cancelled in Montreal. But the airline service said there was little chance that we might still take this flight in the late evening. Many passengers chose to leave on the early morning of the next day, but I stayed, with uncertain hope. Only 7 persons including me were waiting at the gate C75.

A young couple, looked like just married, sweetly whispered to each other. A businessman, anxiously talked on the phone. A middle-aged woman, was watching cartoon. An old couple, seriously sat there without a word. And me, a student, reading papers. I still found something interesting, -- the toy you saw in the following. Montreal airport was somewhat unexpected!


This trip unavoidably reminded me of another three-year-ago trip to Canada. That time, I was also hampered in the airport and had to stay one night on the chair. That time, I just struggled through a relationship, with an empty wounded heart. During these days in Montreal, I made a hard decision to close the current relationship. We are still very good friends, but my heart is already on her new journey. Without knowing the path, I do know my goal. In these hard moments, all I can do is to bravely face the truth and trust in what I believe, for better and for worst.

Photographed by Jennie Bai.

Copyright ©Jennie Bai. All Rights Reserved.

(Note: this article was originally written in the fall of 2005.)

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