So freaking grateful for this opportunity. I never thought a day like this would ever come. It was such an amazing experience, one I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It made me so grateful that I’m studying in Ottawa. Argh. Too thankful. I thought I’d share this memorable experience with you all. I don’t have a lot of pictures because Yanis was really against that because he “looked like shit.” He said that, not me. He’s always fabulously great looking to me. :3
It was a really intense class. His choreos were all meant to be advanced level but it was still amazing. I also like to point out that the room we were in was too small for all of us and there were no mirrors. It was a struggle but it was still so much fun learning there.
Nevertheless I thought I’d share some things I learned from him.
1. Yanis’s expectations are very specific
Yanis Marshall is very specific in his dance style and execution. There are things that he wants to see in the choreo other than you perfecting the choreography. He wants you to really feel the music and dance to it. Show energy but show more emotions. He wants you to feel the mood of the song. He really emphasized that.
2. Yanis uses the word “bitch” a lot.
He’s so downright sassy and just divalicious. It was ridiculous everytime he’s describing something, he’ll mention the word “bitch” endlessly.
3. Point Your Feet
Yanis lives for pointed feet. He mentioned that he wouldn’t want to “f*ck anyone” if they don’t point their feet. It was really funny because he was showing us the huge difference between pointed feet and flexed feet. He even said that even when he’s dead, he wants to be pointing his feet and look fabulous as he proceeds to show us his “I’m dying” pose.
Honestly, it was such an indescribable experience. I’m so bummed we didn’t get to finish the choreos. Ahmaigad. I want to go for another workshop of his. T_T
As you can probably tell, I used the Via Rail Train instead of the Greyhound bus. I chose to take the train this time around because I wanted to use a different form of transportation. In all honesty, I’m glad I took the train. The seats were more comfortable, spacious with more legroom and you get to choose your seats. I, of course, picked the window seat. Oh, the ride was half-an-hour shorter than if you took the bus, so WIN! 😀 I couldn’t wait to see Montreal so got to pick the second earliest train to make sure I’d get my three full days in Montreal.
Do note that it might a bit pricey if you picked a peak time to go. But if you buy your tickets on a Tuesday, it supposedly cheaper.
Upon my arrival, I noticed the differences of my surrounding between Ottawa and Montreal immediately. Montreal was awe-inspiring. The buildings had more history, character and style. There were rusty abandoned buildings, colonial-style terraces and so on. Since Montreal is a French-speaking city, one can’t help notice the Francophones conversing. The whole vibe I was getting was distinct compared to the rest of the Anglophone speaking places I’ve visited in Canada.
After dumping my luggage and stuff at Caryn and Yunyi’s place, we went to Jardin Nelson (Nelson Garden) to have some lunch.
Honestly, the interior of this restaurant is beautiful. It seriously felt like I was in Paris with the whole fancy French garden experience. There was also live Jazz music playing which added to the Parisian feel. I swear this is the closest to France I’m going to get. The ambience was great and the Francophone waiters/waitresses greeted us well.
Since Caryn and I can’t speak French, we allowed Yunyi to do most of the talking after we decided what we wanted to eat.
We ordered Parnier de Bruschetta Maison, Patae Chinois Au Canard and Cannolli au Four Maison to share.
I would say the Bruschetta and the Cannolli were decent but the Patae was not to my taste. Honestly, the food was alright and a bit hyped. Sure, the ambience was amazing but the food lacked flavour.
It started raining after lunch as we left and so exploring Old Port was kicked off the itinerary while we tried to find refuge somewhere. We sought shelter at Montreal’s famous Basilica Notre Dame. You have to pay $5 per entry and I was like “Who pays to go to church?” Apparently, tourists because my, oh my… The interior was majestic.
I hope the photo gives you an idea of how magnificent the interior is. It’s Gothic Revival craftsmanship was complex and splendidly presented with lights shining from below giving this church a grandeur feel. It really made me want to say… “Take me to church.”
Although it was truly a magnificent sight, I couldn’t stay inside the church admiring it for too long because it was too crowded inside. Hence, we left and head to C’Chocolat for dessert.
We tried the Matcha Matcha Man, C’Wow and their Chocolate Souffle. Matcha Matcha Man was too sweet for me and if it was less sweet, it’d be more enjoyable. The souffle wasn’t anything special to shout about. The C’Wow however… Impressive.
We stayed there for about two hours to chat, hoping the rain would stop but it didn’t and we just went back home to prepare dinner.
This time around, Caryn and I woke up early to head to Macdonald campus of McGill University. It was a two-hour journey via the subway and the bus. It’s on the western end of the Island of Montreal.
Thankfully, it was sunny out today and so we managed to stroll around the area. It was very much spacious compared to the downtown campus and I just used the WiFi to play some Pokemon Go while Caryn settled her stuff.
We head to lunch at Schwartz’s Deli. It’s a famous 80-year-old deli that has served the likes of numerous celebrities including Celine Dion. I must say, it is really famous.
They’re extremely famous for their Jewish Montreal-style smoked meat and is usually served as a sandwich. Of course, you can order it to-go as well.
I dare say, this is worth the hype. It’s definitely worth lining up under the hot sun for. Oh my gosh, it was delicious. The blend of the smoked meat with the mustard tastes amazing. I wished I could’ve tapao some and bring back to Ottawa. This was so far one of the best food I’ve had in Canada.
We later walked around the area in hopes of finding a dessert store but that didn’t happen as the one we wanted to go to was closed. 😦
Because we didn’t manage to tour around Old Port yesterday, we’d thought today was the day and yes, it was.
We went back to Notre Dame to just view the architecture of it from the outside. I wasn’t going to pay 5$ this time to go inside because I went yesterday but when I come back, I’ll pay the 5$. 😛
We continued walking towards Old Port and enjoyed the views along the St. Lawrence River. Unlike most people, we took out our umbrellas as it was too hot to walk without a cap.
For dinner, we went to Sammi & Soupe Dumpling along Rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest. The Xiao Long Bao’s skin was thicker than usual but it was still good. We also ordered the Fried Pork and Green Onion dumplings. That was too oily and greasy, it made me feel so guilty eating it.
Once we were done with dinner, we head and fulfilled my long-awaited visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for the Pompeii exhibition.
If you don’t know, Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city in Italy that was buried by the ash and pumice of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The exhibition presents artifacts and an simulation of the situation from the event.
Since it was a Wednesday night, admission price was only 10$ unlike the usual admission fee which is 12$-20$. Needless to say, the museum was packed! Packed, packed, paaaaaaaaaaaaaaacked.
The exhibition was still pretty fascinating—they had sculptures, frescoes and mosaics from the Archaic period and so on.
But the artifacts that I most wanted to see were the Pompeii plaster casts of the volcano eruption victims.
It was pretty eerie looking at it but it definitely gave us a sense of how helpless these people were from the volcano eruption.
On my last day, we began with a rough tour of McGill University in downtown. The buildings here are older and preserved well.
I really liked the library here. It was huge and was nicely arranged with different places specifically for different uses. The library also has a lot of resources including newspaper from different provinces and different countries which is rather impressive.
We later hiked up Mont Royal. The hike was rather easy but because I was in the wrong attire, it was slightly difficult.
For the longest time, I was imagining this chalet hosted numerous of fancy dinner parties in the olden days until I found out that this chalet was recently built. -_- #dreamscrushed
After descending Mont Royal, we went to Yokato Yobai Ramen for lunch. I was very excited for this lunch because… RAMEN.
The ambience was pretty cozy, artsy and Izakaya-ish. I believe this restaurant is also part-Izakaya which would make sense. I explored around the area and was really fascinated by the large space they have.
The ordering system here is a bit different. They provide you with a paper to fill up your order individually. So one person, gets one paper and you can add however many extra stuff you want with the cost.
Overall, my ramen broth had a milky texture but it wasn’t a heavy broth. Thankfully, it was not salty although it was normal saltiness which is great. In my opinion, the flavor was a bit mild compared to the other ramen I’ve tried in other places. Chasiew was fatty and tasty too. I also ordered the salad and well, it’s a salad. Yunyi ordered the karaage and it was tasty. Oily but tasty!
After lunch, we needed to walk it off and so we went to Habitat 67. It took us 20 minutes to get there from the closest bus stop and what a walk it was…
Habitat 67 is basically a collection of condo cubes. It’s an alright place to visit, really nothing much. I wouldn’t go there to just admire the architecture, it’s just not my cup of tea. It’s just really cool to look at the interior of people’s living area. I was thinking it’d be inconvenient to live there if you don’t have your own car as it’s so far from everywhere and there are no bus stops close by.
Once we were done with that, we head back for me to do some last minute packing and showering before I left this gorgeous city and Caryn. -sobs-
The ride back home was rather melancholic because the sunset happened. Look at it. 😦 So gorgeous that it makes you think deeply about life.
Yeap, basically that was it from my Montreal. Rather short trip BUT I WILL SURELY RETURN. It’s only two hours away. 😀 That is all from me now~ Bai bai!
It’s been a while since I last updated you guys but I think it’s been known that I went back home for two months. I honestly would’ve loved to stay a tad bit longer but I had plans of what I’ll be doing once I was back in Canada.
The whole plan didn’t fall through but I made do. See, I was supposed to visit Temagami once I arrived back in Canada, then Montreal and finally pack my stuff to move out. I didn’t manage to visit Temagami because my friend who lives there, suddenly had a full schedule.
On the bright side, I went to St. John’s in Newfoundland instead! You must be thinking, “how in the world are you travelling so much?” Well… One thing I always do before travelling is asking myself… “Do I have a friend there who is willing to take me around?” or “Can I crash at someone’s place while I’m there?”
Because I hate travelling alone so I’ll need someone to accompany me.
Thankfully, I had Simon who is my secondary school senior and fellow school chorister. Funny thing is… We didn’t really talk much in school but were always on good terms. ❤ Upon discussing my plans with Simon, he was super excited and so I booked my flight ticket the next week.
I arrived in the evening but because Simon had worked that day, he only came back at around 10pm. We were finally reunited and it was a crazy night reconnecting.
So on the very first day, we woke up bright and early (4.30AM) to catch the sunrise (5.50AM) at Signal Hill. It was such a groggy morning for us so we took a taxi up to Signal Hill and walked down.
At the top, you can see most of St. John’s and the Atlantic Ocean. The scenery was stunning! Ah… I miss looking at the sunrise. The sky was in all sorts of colours, it was so surreal. Needless to say, I took too many pictures. Thankfully, I picked the best and sorted them down below.
Walking around Signal Hill, we were also Pokemon hunting. I don’t know why but there were so many Vulpix and Evees. 😀
Walking down, we were enchanted by the beautiful rock formations. Simon told me that most of the rocks that look vertical were once horizontal millions of years ago. #funfact
Walk, walk, walk… We walked all the way to downtown. Yes, we did… It was tiring walking session but thankfully, the view was amazing and the weather was pleasant. Oh yeah, it was pretty cold in the morning but it warmed up as the sun was rising.
So apparently these colourful houses are called the Jellybean Houses. There’s a reason why they’re all so colourful. Back in the olden days, each ship had a different coloured sail to signify different families or something. So when a ship returns, the sailor’s wives would be able to identify their husband’s ships easily and wave their specific colour of their husband’s sails to guide their husbands ashore.
We ended up being too early for any shops to be opened so Simon and I just sat at the Harbourside Park to have a long chat. We spent two hours, just chatting and taking in the warm sun.
P.S.: This is also a hot Pokestop area
Later on, we just walked around Downtown browsing the shops and looking at some knick-knacks.
We had lunch at Asa Sushi at Water Street. We ordered three rolls—the Godzilla Roll, Mango Roll, and Spider Roll. Overall, it wasn’t too bad and it was a nice change from the usual sushi buffets Canada usually has. 🙂 Sorry not pictures as we were quite hungry and devoured them all. What was really nice about this restaurant was that it’s run by a Japanese chef so you know that the chef knows what’s he doing with sushi.
Walking towards Bannerman Park, we had an ice cream stop at Moo Moo’s Ice Cream.
We thought it was funny to put the phone in her hands to look like she’s playing Pokemon Go.
We continued our journey walking up towards The Rooms, a museum but first had a stop at this beautiful Basilica of St. John the Baptist.
Unfortunately, my photos don’t do the spectacular interior design any justice. 😦
History lesson time: The City of St. John’s was named when the Genoese explorer, sailing under the British flag, John Cabot (aka Giovani Cabotto) became the first European to sail into the city’s harbour on June 24, 1497 which is coincidentally the feast day of Saint John the Baptist. Tada, that’s why you’ll see lots of churches named after St. John. 😀
We ended our day by visiting The Rooms, the provincial museum. The museum houses an array of artefacts. Do note, they just unveiled a new permanent exhibition on World War I (WWI). It’s worth checking it out as you get to understand the Newfie pride through it. They also have replicas of wartime attire that you can try on. Needless to say, I did.
Other than that, they’re currently having an art exhibition by Jinny Yu on migration. It’s a three-dimensional painting exploring the emotional responses and attitudes towards mass migration. (creds: The Rooms) Honestly, I thought this exhibition was really trippy as you’re immersed in this installation with voices releasing their frustrations.
Another exhibition worth checking out if you’re more in to the interactive art is the Free Play. This has got to be my favourite exhibit as they have interesting twists on your typical games such as chess (where you and your rival have the same coloured pieces which means you both have to move at the same time and remember whose pieces are whose) and light-switch piano.
Started the day bright and early again! Thankfully not as early because we were so drained yesterday…
The day I had hope that’d we see whales because we were going whale and puffin watching! We went with Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch which picked us up at Sheraton Hotel to go to Bay Bulls.
Do note that you can request for them to pick you up with an extra charge but they usually pick people up somewhere in downtown.
Upon arriving, Simon and I were greeted by such beautiful weather and landscape. I took so many photos, it’s so shameless. I also made Simon take millions of photos of me with the landscape.
On route to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve to see some puffins and whales, we saw some dolphins! SO COOL. OMG! WILD DOLPHINS LIKE WTF. Ok, calm.. Basically, we caught sight of about 70 Atlantic white-sided dolphins.
Again, my phone camera doesn’t do justice as to how amazing seeing the dolphins were.
To my dismay, we did not see any whales and a puffin shat on my head. T_T Yes, one of them pooped on my head. Naaaasty. Thankfully, we had tissues with us and managed to wipe the poof my head.
On another bright note, seeing wild dolphins was also a rare experience so I can’t complain about that.
After our cruising adventure, Simon and I walked to Quidi Vidi village.
It’s a really cute village but the only thing I’ll need to complain about is the lack of public transport. We had to walk from downtown to it. Not such a pleasant walk because it took like 30 minutes. 😦
So our initial plans were to have lunch at Mallard Cottage but we arrived just in time for them to close for the afternoon and we ended up going to the Quidi Vidi Brewery instead where we bought two bottles of Iceberg Beer made from 25,000 year old iceberg water harvested from Newfoundland’s icebergs.
The beer tasted like soda water with alcohol. It was very easy to drink but I didn’t like it all (I also don’t drink alcohol) Just when I thought Simon was going to help me finish this bottle of beer as he said he would, Simon purposely opened the second bottle to drink which meant that I couldn’t waste it. Ugh.
Because of our sad attempt to have lunch failed, we decided to head back to Downtown to have Fish N’ Chips!
I ordered (Chicken) Fingers & Chips while Simon got Fish & Poutine.
Lunch was so good! Also, I had some of the fish Simon ordered and it was tasted delicious! I DON’T EVEN LIKE FISH. The batter was perfectly crusty and the freaking cod, oh-my-codness… FREAKING FRESH. It didn’t have the super pungent fish taste which was A-MA-ZING. So happy with my money spent there. I’d 100% go there again and order Fish & Chips with chicken fingers. 😀
Final agenda of the day, we went to Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN).
I must say, it’s a large and spacious campus.
We walked around the campus and caught some Pokemons cause free WiFi. 😉
Near this residence, there is a pond. That pond is filled with ducks. Ducks that are so savage. Unfortunately, I did not take photos of these savage ducks. I’m just informing you guys, don’t feed these savage ducks.
Final day doing touristy stuff in St. John’s, we attempted again to have brunch at Mallard Cottage.
Managed to get a seat at the bar because the whole place was BOOKED. Walao.
As you can probably see, the ambience projected a feeling of warmth and fuzzines. Like duh, it’s a cottage. I enjoyed the whole interior design and thought it was presented tastefully. As for the food… I don’t think it’s worth the hype.
The dish I ordered was was not my cup of tea but worth a try if you like separated different flavours onto one cold dish. I liked the St. John’s Fog but I wouldn’t order it again for the price I paid.
Overall, it was a lovely place with homey ambience to have a nice dinner/brunch. I’d love to come again but I’d probably order something cooked.
Right after that, we went back to downtown.
This time around, we went to another church. It was the Anglican Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.
After we were done admiring the church, we decided to check out Bowring Park. Most of it is to waste time and do some Pokemon hunting.
After taking a break at the park, we went to Rocket Cafe for some tea.
We ordered the Pulled pork Turnover, Lemon Tart and Cream Puff that tasted like eclair
We stayed there for quite a bit to rejuvenate our phones and ourselves as well as enjoyed the free WiFi!
When it was dinner time, we decided we’d try to find Moose Meat Burger. The closest option for us that was on our way back to home was The Guv’Nor Inn Restaurant.
Sadly for us again, there was no Moose Burger and so I settled for a Bison burger instead.
With that, it concluded all the touristy things that I could do without a car. 😦 I still need to go to L’Anse Aux Meadows and Cape Spear (the easternmost point in North America!) and actually see whales!