Monks and Saturday Mass
A few minutes into my walk I turned the corner onto Petit Parc and noticed parishioners from the Seventh Day Adventist Church leaving in swarms after the Saturday afternoon service. This Church is right next to a Buddhist Temple (like, five yards away) where that morning I spotted a monk eating his breakfast outside on the lawn. I miss temples. I used to get lost in them in China. I hiked up to them in Korea. I'm used to them being everywhere. It's hard to get back to life without a golden Buddha statue starring you down with that perfect amount of glee sculpted on it's face. Now, almost every morning before work I get to gaze in awe at the temple and know that one of these days I'll knock on their door and ask, "May I come in?"
On my walk down Decarie from Cote Vertu metro station, I noticed a group of people barbequeing in Hartenstein Park. It was 6:40 a.m. I saw the smoke and at first I was worried, but when I realized what it was I thanked God that people can be so awesome as to start a Saturday BBQ park party so soon after sunrise.
In St-Laurent there's parks everywhere. On a 1/2 kilometre walk I pass about four. It's like I'm walking around Lower Manhattan in Nyc. Isn't that the absolute best way to build community in a city? Swings, slides, and barbeque?
To say that St-Laurent is a random but eclectic place would be an understatement. Giant Asian grocer down the street from a mosque? Yes please. Walking into a Tim Hortons and hearing over five different languages being spoken? Why not?! A block where an over-priced sushi shop is empty and a brasserie is packed? Of course! It's a place where old men sit on the patio of brunch restaurants with their shirts off. It has an Arahovas, one of the best/cheapest Greek restaurants in the city. It's the only place on the island of Montreal where you can stil snag a pita with it's generous servings of Tzaziki. And you know what? You can get even better Greek food at a little place on Poirier Street that seats about a dozen and it's nestled between a Depanneur and an Arabic restaurant. The only place with that much diversity over such a small area that I can think of is Brooklyn (do you know any others?). And there are so many movies about that place. It's iconic. When's the award-winning documentary on Ville St-Laurent coming out?
Sometimes during the week when I finish at 5:30, on my walk to the bus stop on Grenet Street I pass numerous Muslims (women with their children, men walking two by two, people walking alone), heading to the Mosque around the corner for prayer time. Then a crazy guy who looks like Santa Claus will sit with me at the bus stop, talking about being a dinosaur in this modern era of technology, then bid me adieu saying "God bless you."
Get Over It
Yes, there's construction on Cote-Vertu. Yes, there's enormous and expensive condo projects that boldly stand where humble housing once did. But you know what? In one of those condos I know a dude who makes weekly trips to the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa and who can get me a visa for cheap and stress-free, so I don't care! #badperson
I'm Still Not Done Being Excited Over the Food
Driving to the grocery store while living in the suburbs is an absolute failure and a waste of time. Now that I am blessed to spend time in St-Laurent, I get my Fenugreek seeds and mango juice for dirt cheap (how it should be) at the Tunisian and Indian grocers around the corner from my work. I pay $1.99 for double the amount of spices I would get at Loblaws for $4. It's like I'm back to my city dwelling lifestyle where I can live freely without superstores. Hooray!
So, is this delightful borough the perfect place for someone like myself to set up camp? I don't know, I'm still looking :)