We Are the Champions (Sort Of) Part III

Now a delicious pre-concert drink is a chocolate martini and so as we began preparing ourselves for the highlight of our trip to Montreal, the Queen and Adam Lambert concert, I pulled out my jigger, shaker, Grey Goose, Creme de Cocoa and cream and began whipping up some drinks for the team.  Because I was so busy shake shake shaking, I only got to actually drink one which was good for me but not so great for one member of our party who along with a few martinis, also indulged in a few glasses of wine.  As we have traveled together before, I knew that this was not going to bode well so gently suggested she slow down, but she paid about as much attention to me as my husband does when there is hockey on the television.

Anyway, we left our hotel in good spirits (some better than others) and made our way to the Bell Centre for the concert.  We, of course, fell prey to the ridiculously expensive souvenir shop dropping a couple of hundred dollars combined on t-shirts ($45), souvenir books ($30) and key chains ($25).  They saw us coming and we were ripe for the picking.  I read an article last week that claimed woman over fifty should not be wearing t-shirts with logos or quotes on them; I am not sure who writes these things but they surely weren’t talking about a very cute and very cool Queen and Adam Lambert commemorative t-shirt!  It was probably fake news anyway, so why even heed the unwanted advice.

With our shopping done and another drink purchased at the concessions stand, we settled into our well-placed seats and proceeded to enjoy what was a stand-out performance by Queen and Adam Lambert.  Being a die-hard Queen fan, I was not sure what to expect with Adam Lambert taking on the lead vocals, but he handled the gig really well.  He was humble about his role, did not try to emulate Freddie Mercury, did not go over the top in his performance and was extremely hot in his tight leather pants.  Brian May and Roger Taylor are also such talented musicians and they brought the music of my youth alive. The concert was phenomenal and we all enjoyed it immensely. I was pretty much riveted to the stage for most of the concert but about midway through when I took a glance at my multiple chocolate martini drinking friend, I noticed that she was wearing one of those frozen smiles that indicates a possible high level of intoxication.  She seemed to be enjoying herself though and was relatively well behaved, so I didn’t think to worry about it.

Sadly, the concert had to end at some point and as we made our way out of our seats, it became apparent that our friend was pretty much blitzed.  We helped her out of the seat and guided her to the exit and began our trek back to the hotel.  She was having a great time practicing her limited French out on a anyone who would listen. A lovely gentleman, who had obviously attended the concert, joined up with us and was talking about how good the concert was.  Because I was helping my friend walk, we were a little slow so he continued on and joined up with the rest of our party who were a distance ahead.  This is when she really dug deep for those French lessons from school and began yelling “Arrêt monsieur!  Allons-ze!” several hundred times (okay, I exaggerated, it was only about 50 times).  When we reached our hotel the gentleman continued on his way.  We looked like the guys from the movie Weekend at Bernie’s as we made our way up to our room, two of us holding up our friend.  The only difference was she was drunk and not dead.

Once we reached the room, it became very obvious that we were going to need Gravol for our friend who was now not feeling very well.  I volunteered to see if I could find a store that was open.  I called down to the concierge who when I explained what I needed, told me the only place open at that time of night was Dunn’s.  Now I have been to Montreal enough times to know that Dunn’s is a smoked meat place so I was a bit confused but thought maybe they had a little store on the side.  Cinder volunteered to accompany me since it was late, we were in a big city and it was probably not safe to be out running the roads on my own.  When we got down to the lobby, the concierge met us and said he had misunderstood what I was looking for and directed us to a 24-hour Jean Coutu on Sherbrooke Street.

We had to walk about five blocks up a very dark and very deserted street – well, it was almost deserted except for the homeless people sleeping in doorways of businesses along the way.  Once we reached Sherbrooke Street, however, there were many people out and about.  There is a whole other world that comes alive after 11:00.  Who knew?  Obviously not Cinder, for she proceeded to ruminate about it at length, over and over again which I think was a result of the chocolate martinis and wine, both of which can make you repeat yourself… a lot!  We found the Jean Coutu Pharmacy about four blocks up Sherbrooke Street and went in to get the Gravol.

Now I have not purchased Gravol in some time and did not realize that you can no longer get it off the shelf.  It is kept in the pharmacy because apparently it has some interesting uses beyond easing nausea.  I approached the pharmacist and asked for a small box and he required my name, my date of birth, my address and my phone number so he could put it in the computer to track if I was going from pharmacy to pharmacy, collecting boxes of Gravol.  It is one of those situations where you try to explain why you are buying Gravol so late at night, but then you actually look like you are making up a lame excuse.  The pharmacist did not look convinced and shooed me off to pay at the front of the store.  There was a long line-up, overseen by a security guard who was watching everyone suspiciously, including me.  I was feeling pretty sketchy and ended up having a major hot flash, right then and there but could do nothing about it for fear they would think I was having some kind of drug withdrawal.  That guilty Catholic conscience gets me every time, even when I am not guilty!  There was a man who was obviously down on his luck who really caught the attention of the security guard.  He hovered behind a set of shelves holding candy and really seemed quite out of it.  The security guard kept walking over to watch him but he didn’t seem to catch him doing anything illegal.  At one point, the man decided that it was as good a time as any to get his photo taken – not sure if it was for a passport photo or some other reason but the line ended up going even slower because one of the cashiers had to take the photo.  Needless to say, I was glad to get outside into the cool air.

Cinder and I made our way back to the hotel with no major incidents – well other than Cinder almost knocking herself out by banging head first into a box hanging on one of the poles.  It was when she was talking about how she could not believe how there was a whole world that came alive after 11:00 (which really was the gist of the conversation the whole way home) but she avoided a collision at the last minute and we made it back to our hotel in one piece.  By the time we got to our room, our friend had fallen asleep but we woke her up and fed her some Gravel, ensuring that she would be able to function the next day.  We could hardly wait to wake her up and share with her the story of how we risked life and limb to ensure she was looked after.  It was going to be so much fun razing her!  After Cinder explained at least five or six times to the other girls about how she could not believe there was a whole other world that came to life after 11:00 I knew it was time for bed.  Another day awaited us – we might not be night hawks but in the daylight hours we had shops to hit and money to spend!

(To Be Continued)

We Are the Champions (Sort Of) Part I

What do you get when five fifty-plus women, whose nicknames range from The Woman to Peppermint Patty to Cinder to SuperQueen to Mon Shin, travel on a epic journey to see the one, the only Queen, minus Freddie Mercury (RIP), plus Adam Lambert (awesome replacement)?  Well, you get a little bit of rock and roll with some mayhem and madness thrown in for good measure, a lot of laughs and some wonderful memories that will last a lifetime (or at least as long as we remember them).

We had many crazy adventures that began in the small rural community of St. Hilaire, NB where were met up and loaded all of our gear into The Woman’s truck. Now no one can accuse us of traveling lightly (calorie wise or other) as Peppermint Patty, the cook of the bunch, had concocted a cheese cake, maple cones, and ginger cookies and we all had brought along assorted survival foods like M and Ms, jujubes, licorice and chips (assorted flavours) and dip.  Also included were several bottles of wine, some chocolate liquor and a large bottle of Grey Goose – you know, all the necessities needed for a grand adventure! With our suitcase bulging with enough clothes to ensure we were prepared for any wardrobe malfunction or clothing emergency, we hit the road to Quebec and our final destination, Montreal.

It wasn’t long before our decision to pack survival foods seemed like a pretty good one.  Stuck in a long line of traffic between Edmunston and Riviere du Loup due to an accident several miles up the road, we soon found ourselves following some other very smart drivers down a side road believing it would lead us away from what was promising to be a very long wait.  Shortly after, we left a roughly paved country lane and found ourselves traveling on a narrow dirt road, dust swirling around us, visibility limited.  With heavy shrubs and trees lining each side of the road, there was nothing to do but keep moving forward.  Suddenly the cars and transport truck ahead of us stopped and when the dust cleared we realized that we had not made it to the road, but were now stuck on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere with no idea how long we would be there.

No worries for us though because we had our survival food and set about laying out a feast that would have made a lumberjack cry.  I decided to offer some ginger cookies to the people in the car in front of us as they had been nice enough to take a picture of us to memorialize this part of our trip (thank goodness we have cameras on our phones as the pictures will help when our memories get fuzzy as well as provide plenty of jealous moments for our Facebook friends who had to work).  I had just re-zipped up the ziplock bag, when drivers began running to their cars and we heard that the line was moving.  Hurrying back to the truck, we threw the feast back into the bags and ran for our seats.  When Peppermint Patty hopped back into the front seat, she expressed concerned about the dip and questioned whether or not she had put it back into the cooler.  As a food safety advocate, she knows her food safety rules and was very concerned that we would be poisoned because of her carelessness.  We reassured her that if indeed the dip had not been placed in the cooler, we would be able to get new dip, free from salmonella poisoning, when we reached Montreal, so all was good.

The remainder of the trip was rather uneventful – well except for the little stop at the rest area.  We all had to use the bathroom and so pulled into one of Quebec’s best features, a road side rest area.  Of course, it was busy and there was a line up for the women’s bathroom.  This is a world wide problem that I don’t understand.  They can spend millions to put a man on the moon, but they can’t spring a few extra dollars to put some more toilets in women’s washrooms.  Boggles the mind!  Anyway, one of team (whose identity shall be protected) had to really go to the bathroom and so we suggested that she use the separate disabled one that was free.  When she came out a few minutes later, we still had not moved too far and the line up had grown.  A couple of older ladies, seeing our friend come out of the disabled washroom, decided they would use it too.  Unfortunately, when they opened the door, they fell back and exclaimed that it smelled really bad and that they couldn’t use it.  This was all done in French and so our teammate, who also has a limited French vocabulary didn’t understand what they said but our gal Cinder, who is bilingual did understand and she translated for us.  Well of course, we fell into hysterics while our friend who was standing a few feet away and could not hear what was said, stood there with a blank look on her face.  Too funny!

We got back on the highway and texted Mon Shin, who had flown to Montreal from Saskatchewan to assure her we would be in Montreal before nightfall.  With two GPS devices guiding the way, we made it to our hotel with only a few wrong turns and checked in.  The poor concierge loaded up all of our gear onto a cart and holding onto his back for some reason, limped to the elevators.  Since we couldn’t fit into one with him, we took our own and finally met up with Mon Shin.  As you can imagine it was an extremely loud and boisterous reunion and I am surprised we weren’t put out on the street then and there!  Our bags arrived, the concierge wisely giving us enough time to greet each other so that we would then remember to tip him. As he walked back to the elevator, I was pleased to see that the limp had been replaced with a little skip – it is amazing how a good tip can put a spring into your step!

Well, because it was well after seven o’clock and we had eaten virtually nothing except for some licorice because we had thrown all of the the rest of the food into the back of the truck and didn’t want to stop to get it out, we decided we needed to head out for supper.  When you go to Montreal, Reuben’s is kind of an obvious choice and so that is where we went.  With great food, a tall, dark, handsome and very funny waiter named Tolis and an opportunity to catch up, we had a great evening.  Tolis was kind of cool when he first began waiting on our table, but certainly warmed up to the crazy ladies that he had the great opportunity to serve!  He joked with us and teased us and even gave us the good napkins (usually reserved for dining) for the desserts which are usually served with small flimsy napkins.  We were obviously very special customers.  It was an enjoyable evening and I hope Tolis got to keep his job after we left because his manager didn’t really seem to appreciate that Tolis had supplied us with the expensive napkins when the cheap ones would have done the job.  We assured the manager on the way out that Tolis was a gem and he should keep him on staff even though he ignored his other customers because we were so much fun.  If the waiting stint doesn’t work out, Tolis told us that he is also a stand up comedian so with his good looks and acerbic wit, we know he will be successful in that career and we can say we knew him when!  It is safe to say, we also provided him with some new material for his routine!

We made our way back to our hotel for some more reminiscing and a good nights sleep in preparation for what promised would be a big day on Monday!  We had a king sized suite which included a bedroom with a king sized bed, a bedroom with a queen sized bed, a living room with a pull out couch, and a good sized kitchen so there was plenty of room for our survival food and drink and assorted clothing and footwear.  We did have to share one bathroom and The Woman wisely brought some deodorizing spray with her so that we could ensure we left the bathroom smelling lavendery fresh when we used it. By midnight, we were all snoring away, resting our bodies for our next adventure in Montreal.

(To Be Continued)