Montreal Hits Back Again

I accepted the proposition of a friend of mind to go to Montreal. Yes, the town once spitted on my face, hit me many times, put me down several months, the immigrant town by excellency…I returned once again after 1 year…Last time was when I had to do my oath in October.

The part of town I used to live changed not so drastically but quite a lot. More condominiums, more restaurants closed and others took their places. The sensation of compression was overwhelming. Crowd of people walking all together, going all together to the metro, to the supermarket, the market, several generations together, families traveling, but the sensation of individual loneliness was present everywhere.

When you arrive downtown, when you are near the main metro station, when you cross the gate, Montreal gives a weed blown on your face. As all down towns I’ve been, poor people, small drug dealers, punkies are around. Berri station is not the exception. Just in the entrance of Gay Village, Berri is the Montreal’s core, the most colourful and dark side unveils before your eyes. I went to the bank to take out money, I saw many people under medication, another symptom of a big metropolis developed and surrounded by personal and social problems. People walk fast as if they will arrive late to an important appointment…in fact, they invent their own imaginary appointments…they need to keep the speed mood. That’s the essence of this town, in general all big towns.

One main important thing about Montreal I’ve already forgotten is its horrible health care service. You could be dying, bleeding in the emergency room. My friend was sick, a problem on her stomach. In the third world, I mean, Peru, when you’re sick you got to a clinic or hospital, you wait, you pay, you got service, most of the time you go to see a specialist easily, you got to the pharmacy, you buy your medicines, most of the time without prescription. Here, in Quebec side, you go to ER, see a nurse who decides you need to see a doctor or not, wait around 5 or 6 or more than 8 hours, crawling in pain and you won’t see a doctor. It was just horrible an unfair see what I had to see. Even with my ex bitch, going to the hospital was a real nightmare. On the contrary, I went to hospital twice and I was very lucky to have a bed and be served. Of course, I saw a doctor after 3 hours, at least I was lying on bed.

After that medical hiatus, we went home. My friend still in pain decided to go to a private clinic next day, she left before 11 am and probably will be back at 5 pm. if she is lucky. This morning I wanted to go with her but she pushed me to do other activities like shopping. No good luck, well, my cat is lucky, she’ll have her favourite gay ball for playing.

It’s impossible not to think in my past, my ex relationship, the neighbour where I used to live, all sacrifices I had to do to survive, my budget was so narrow, I grabbed a coffee, I sat looking through the window. Memories came back, tears came by, my father’s words also, despite I want to cheer every time I come here I cannot help the fact of that burden…impossible not to talk about roommates, lost jobs, lost love, lost friends. I was thinking to contact my ex best friend, then I realized he’s so brainless than after saying “how are you?” we won’t have anything much to say to each other, so, I decided to buy some food for tomorrow, wait for my friend and write to feel less pain.

The typical Montrealer apartment, with division for this century are difficult to understand, the spiral stairs, not practical when you move but fashion, the ID of Montreal.  The roof is high, the floor is not at the right level, there’s always an inclination, old apartments, sharing doors, long interior stairs, just like my first apartment I lived with my ex bitch. In Gatineau more apartments and house are new, so, the contrast after living one year there are big. It’s funny, for Montrealers, Ottawa and Gatineau are boring cities, dead towns, nothing to do, here I feel everybody is neurotic, aggressive, can be violent, my sensation to be in total alert state of mind was obvious. I just smiled, I’m happy to have moved, the sensation to miss home is huge also.

I lived in Lima, the 3rd most violent city in Latin America, I can say when a town is dangerous or not, Montreal isn’t not at all one of them, but soon the neurosis will take control, people under medication, talking alone, without medical services, I won’t give an opinion about housing system here, condominiums unreachable to pay for most normal people…lack of jobs….this town of fashion, pleasure, colours and intercultural is getting to my nerves…I feel good at the apartment, I didn’t realize how much antisocial I became, how important a computer can be in my life, how much I miss my cat, how difficult will be to live with another person, if I meet somebody nice to share my life. I should do more activities to contact reality outside my window.

I’m happy to know I got a home waiting for me.


Fat Fitness Business

After checking myself in front of my mirror, and verify my little belly was growing and not due to the Holy Spirit (of the beer spirit) I went to a gym to find out about the membership and more stuff.

I called the gym which is literally just around the corner. When I asked how much the membership cost the girl avoided the question saying they got personalize programs, when I insisted for at least an approximation she said I had to take an appointment with them. Ok, I did the bloody thing she asked me to do. So, I arrived at 6 pm but the appointment was at 6.30 pm, of course, nobody was available to give information. The funny thing about the front desk was a latino girl was there. Her name was written in a little plate: Karla….ordinary name, at must say very latino. She was shorter and skinner than me. Black eyes, black hair…my God, so ordinary, so normal, it was watching a mirror. She had a little accent and of course she recognized my accent too but we didn’t dare to talk about background. So, she told me to wait till 6.30pm which I did and I did some anthropology as well.

The stereotype of a gym is, basically, young people, with tattoos on their arms, low education, working in couples, or, old people fatty and chubby where the gym becomes a meeting point more than an exercise centre. One of them spent the 30 minutes I was there to talk, do little time on 1 machine and asked another girl for a milkshake.

I was standing behind the stairs when that girl told me to sit and wait. I was on the desk and I could play a bit with the computer. I saw several “personalized programs” for loosing weight, transformation, fitness all with a personal trainer. I checked the prices…there were several “levels” or “types” like cooper, silver, golden and more stupid names. The cheapest cost 250$ for 90 days….I found it very expensive.

When Karla arrived after her introduction about the gym, the levels , about the trainers…I wasn’t looking at her, I just wanted to know the price for a normal membership, I mean, you pay, you use the machine, you leave. She was talking about the nutritionist, the program A, B, C, in which one I was interested blah, blah, blah.  I asked directly the price for the normal thing, she pushed me to do a tour of the gym. After seeing futuristic machines I chose just to spaces I was interested. She told, finally, after 30 minutes of chit chat, and even not the real thing, it would cost 20$ every 2 weeks. I asked for 1 month, well, the double she said, after that, she told the price for using all the gym, a bit more expensive, but the membership was for 1 year, just available in that place (because if you wanted other the price raises). She said to bring a check and they take out the money directly from your bank account. Inside of my little head I was freaking out….nobody touches my money, not even my cat.

When I said thanks for the information she said if I wanted to be a member, I said no. I was feeling forced to take the membership, I didn’t feel the programs were personalized, I’d say more like, giving you options that probably they’re trying to sell you as something you really need and is tailored based on your needs.

I left the gym thinking ….probably I should grab a beer…but not, I didn’t I went to shop for wine glasses thinking doing abdominal and push-ups at home would be very helpful. They tried to sell me a false need, tried to impress me with the machines…I went to the same gym in Montreal and the stupid guide said….:”This is the only gym in Montreal with wooden floor and brick walls”…so what? You not need a fashion place to be fitness….you fat moron.