Or for those philistines who are not fluent in French “I have arrived”. At least, that is what I am hoping it says. It is entirely possible that it translates to “I have arriving” or “I am arrive”, I am not altogether sure, my grip on tenses were* tenuous at best.


However, the message I am attempting to convey is that I here now, here being Montreal, and I must say I am having an incredible time settling in. The welcome I have received has only been surpassed by the help offered. At every turn I am met with warm people offering their time and assistance. To say I am touched, would be a criminal understatement. Yet I doubt you have came here for sentimentality, there are plenty of sites for that this one is definitely not among them. So I shall stuff the happy feelings into a small hemp sack and allow them to drown in a small, lonely canal.


Now that I have arrived, there is something I do wish to talk about, something I never noticed on my first trip but has now become painfully obvious. Crime. Or, to be more exact, the absence of such. I didn’t come to this observation alone. I was instead helped by none other than a local. Whilst I casually ambled along a street, filled with bars, clubs and especially stripper joints, (for any Glaswegian readers think Sauchiehall Street, but instead of kebab shops it’s Seventh Heaven) I was “accosted” by a stranger. Now I add the quotation marks because unlike almost all confrontations on the aforementioned Sauchiehall Street, there was a distinct lack of violence, threats or even swearing. Instead the gentleman offered me chicken. Quite insistently, but still with an air of grace and politeness that would put a British diner party to shame. In fact, upon my refusal I was submerged into a world of guilt for wasting food.


Needless to say, I found this a rather odd occurrence. The main reason being that I left the conversation completely unperforated, at no point was a glass bottle smashed against my face or as we say in Scotland “bottled.” That’s right, it happens so often we needed a verb for it.


I made me realise though, with that small incident being the closest I had to any trouble, that in all the time I have been here I had never seen a single crime. Not one fight, not a single bit of vandalism, not so much as a fag butt (apologies, cigarette butt) dropped careless on the ground. Once I had realised this, a whole manner of new things caught my attention.


Queuing: Now it is well known that the Brits love a good queue, we’ll line up for days just to get the chance to, but it’s the montrealers that have taken this practice and turned it into an art form. There was a queue for a bus, possibly 50 or 60 people long, in perfect single file. Furthermore, when the bus arrived, there was not a single push, shove or complaint. Mind. Blown.


Politeness: Okay so I think I may have talked about this previously, but I finally realised something else. Not only is everyone polite and friendly, but they are polite and friendly whilst being completely and apologetically sober.


Tea: By posting this, the British Home Office will probably revoke my passport before issuing a warrant for my immediate detention without trial under section 60 of the Anti-Terrorism Code, but, Britain has nothing on Canada when it comes to tea. Whilst growing up, what tea meant to me was a lukewarm, brownish drink that had all the flavour and charm of Stephen Harper. Here though, it is a carnival of merriment and joy exploding in a crescendo of colour upon my tongue.


Basically Montreal does everything Britain can do, only better. Plus they have maple syrup. Yes I’m still mentioning it, deal with it.

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