Monday 15 August 2011 — On my way



Good morning all.  You know I had to try this out.  Yes, I am on-board a Greyhound Bus and just departed the Burlington Vermont Airport where the bus leaves from for Montreal.  Next stop is the border which involves all 43 passengers and luggage getting off to clear customs.  The only down-side of travelling this way to Canada.  The internet connection is slow but works, and it is a challenge typing over bumps.  I may try uploading images too while on the bus, will see.  At any rate, have a great day, and I will be adding through the day before I send an email advising you of today’s post.

It is now Monday night, 8:46 PM, and I am working on this off-line even though I have great internet speed in the hotel.  The connection between my computer and the “router” on the Greyhound bus was very strong, but shortly after I got the first paragraph posted I could no longer get the internet.  Fortunately the young fellow next to me had the same problem.  It always is validating when you realize you are not doing something wrong yourself.  So, I do not know how the bus connects to the internet, but once we got away from the “big city” Burlington it just vanished.

I arrived in Montreal shortly after 3 PM – think the bus finally left Burlington about 12:15 or so (remember I do not wear a watch).  The elapsed travel time is a tad longer than driving yourself because of the delay emptying the bus and trudging through customs with your bag as you watch private cars breeze right across the border.  Guess it is profiling – bad guys are more likely to use a bus I guess.  Hotel was under a four block walk from the bus terminal, and I dropped my bag and headed another 4-5 blocks to the old section of Montreal to retrace past steps.

Now, remember when I arrived in Ireland and wanted to use my ATM card to get some Euros, but the ATM system was down in the Dublin environs?   I only have used my card overseas – got some Euros in Cortona, Italy with no problem last month.  Well I passed a bank as I walked out of the bus terminal and tried their machine.  The response I got was that I entered an incorrect amount to withdraw. “All right,” I said to myself, “I will try the second machine there and enter $200 since that usually works.”  Second machine said – denied, problem, call your bank.  Deja Vu !!!  Concerned, yes, but remembered the frustration I built not being able to get a Roma Pass in Rome because they were supposedly sold out, I decided not to think about it further.  But, I of course did try 5 more machines all on different systems. “Denied, Denied, Denied, ditto.”  “Call your bank,” the machines all told me.  Frustration level setting in, and with only $25 Canadian in my pocket left from my trip to Quebec City in December (I now keep 4 currencies on hand like son, David) I went back to my hotel to go on line to get my bank’s phone number and my Tracfone – have over 400 minutes built up.  “Rick, what have I done wrong, or did the lady I talked with last week to flag I would be in Canada not do it?”  “Sorry, Ray,” Rick replied, “I just got an email that our ATM system is down, try again later.”  “Well, at least it is not me,” I said.  But in retrospect, maybe my entering a different dollar amount the first time triggered a bug that “blew their system.”  Please don’t tell them.  As of 8:30 tonight I still got, “Call your bank.”  Rick gets in at 8:15 AM tomorrow!   You can use a credit card for just about everything, of course, but I would like to be able to tip the staff on the train.

One of the street performers this evening in Vieux Montreal

I headed back out, wandered through China Town and back over to the Saint Lawrence River and then walked through the old section with the shops and restaurants.  At the east end there is a broad pedestrian walking area with street performers and then sidewalk cafes lining both sides.  I selected one and had dinner.  Nothing special, but a nice eggplant meal.  All menus are posted, and I selected mid-range price wise.  Most restaurants here make Burdick’s a bargain, and Mike’s portions and quality at Rowell’s Inn an exceptional value – road-trip when I return for sure.  After dinner with the sun set I wandered some more playing with my new Canon S95 camera.  Remember I got this since I found it hard to walk with my new Nikon D3100 SLR in Rome.  I wanted a case, and on my big trip to Keene on Friday I found an ideal case for a point and shoot with two pockets, detachable strap, and a strap to put it on a belt.  I attached it to my belt, and wow, absolutely perfect and not in the way, and then easy to open the zipper and pull out the camera and shoot away.  In the second pocket I could even keep some money – if I had some!

So tonight was playing with settings on the camera since I prefer available light and do not like

Available light experiment - Hotel Place d'Armes

to use flash, and there are many different settings to learn.  I have the full manual in my computer, and that is part of the plan for the train trip – to study and learn this camera too, come to think of it I also have the full manual for my Nikon downloaded into the computer too – I am all set.

In front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame Montreal

I had checked before I left home if the Cathedral of Notre Dame would have a service tonight for The Assumption of  Mary, but they did not.  I walked over twice checking anyway, but no special service.  The square in front of the Cathedral is still under construction.  On my first visit with Cathy 7 years ago the construction was just beginning, and it appears as though it could be another several months.  Well, there are a couple images I want to play with and upload, catch some sleep and in the morning I will walk over to the Via Rail Central Train station for my noon train to Toronto.  Supposedly internet on the train, guess I will see.  Worst is I will post while in the Toronto

Mary high up on the Cathedral -- I am sure that the stars are not lit, but they appear so in my images !!!!

Mary high up on the Cathedral -- I am sure that the stars are not lit, but they appear so in my images !!!!

station before The Canadian leaves at 10 PM – remember tomorrow the adventure begins – today was just positioning myself for the beginning.  Good night, RAY

This entry was posted in 2011-c - The Canadian - By Rail Toronto to Vancouver - (Aug) and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Monday 15 August 2011 — On my way

  1. Marian says:

    Yahoo Ray. Have a wonderful trip and be safe.


  2. tara sad says:

    Ray, the photos are gorgeous! (Especially the Place d’Armes – fantastic!) Bon voyage!


  3. Chris Burchstead says:

    Hi Ray! I enjoyed reading about Montral, since that is my birthplave. Peter and I are headed up there in September; sure hope the ATM’s are working by then! Great photos! Have fun.


  4. Juanita says:

    Love the pics – hope you got everything worked out with money. When we went up on the pilgrimage the first week of August we just had to get off and show our passports. Must be because we were on a pilgrimage. Also, my Tracfone didn’t work up there – how did you get yours to work? Have a great time!!!~

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