Jo Walton (papersky) wrote in farthingparty,
Jo Walton
papersky
farthingparty

Getting here

While the address of the Hotel des Gouvernurs is 1415 St Hubert, it's essentially on the corner of Ste Catherine and St Hubert, 2 blocks south of Sherbrooke and the Plaza. What it's actually on is Place Dupuis, a square.

For inexplicable reasons, the underground passage that connects the hotel to Berri metro is undergoing work and is closed right now. (Oh well, it was confusing anyway.) To get to the hotel from Berri metro, therefore, come out onto Ste Catherine and walk one block east. Or come out through the library onto Maisonneuve and walk one block east. Not a big deal.



Airport and Greyhound

If you're coming from the airport the 747 bus will take you to Berri. It costs $9, which includes 24 hours of free transport anywhere on the island. Stay on the bus until Berri, the terminus, then come out of the bus station and cross Maisonneuve, then walk across the square to the hotel. You'll be able to see the square and the hotel from the exit to the bus station. This is also what you do if you've come by Greyhound: long distance buses and the 747 airport bus take you to the same place.

There's no real advantage in getting a taxi from the airport now. The 747 runs every ten minutes and is clearly labelled. But if you want to get a taxi, just tell the taxi the address -- it's well within whatever they're charging this year for downtown.

Amtrak

Amtrak won a court case in the US and now have priority over freight trains. Since this happened all my trains have been pretty much on time, and if they get delayed they make the time up instead of getting worse and worse, as before. This makes Amtrak way more reliable. They remain phenomenally good value for money and amazingly comfortable, especially compared to European trains.

Anyway, if you come by Amtrak you will come into Central Station, which connects to Bonaventure metro. Follow signs for Bonaventure metro, and when you get to it go in Direction Montmorencey four stops as far as Berri-UQAM and then walk to the hotel as above.

Driving

I know nothing, I'm from the village.

Note on Language (Unchanged from last year)

Montreal is in Quebec. Quebec is a French-speaking province of Canada. Most people living here naturally and normally speak French in their everyday lives. Many of them also speak English as a second language, some of them near-perfectly and some of them less well. English is Canada's other official language, so most people who went to school in Canada will have learned at least some. There are people here who came here as adults from French speaking places like Haiti, Mali, Vietnam, Algeria and France, who speak no English. But most people speak some.

People are very nice.

There is a rule that conversations will take place in whatever language everyone is most comfortable in. This means that if you try to speak French, people will switch to English because they notice at once that their English is better than your French. (This is why my French still sucks.) If they really don't speak English, they'll try hard to help figure out what you're saying in French.

However, if you try to speak English right away automatically to everyone, as if English were the only language in the world and you assume everyone naturally understands it, people might understandably become irritated with this assumption, and insist on speaking French.

Therefore, what you want to do is to start conversations with strangers with: "Bonjour hi". "Bonjour hi" is a Montreal greeting that means "Hello! I am a well-meaning person who accepts that I am in a French-speaking place -- but could we speak English?"

"Bonjour" is pronounced Bon, as in "bonny" and "jour" as in "azure". You should also know "merci", which means "thank you". Sil vous plait, pronounced "Seev'play" means please. Beyond that, English will do. The best way to think of it is that French is always correct, but English is usually OK. If you speak English with the attitude that you know French would be more correct in the circumstances, everyone will happily speak English. In tourist places, you can get away with just English from word one, but it costs nothing to be polite.
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