Following a rather pleasant drive from Toronto (permeated by an okay lunch in Kingston and a stop for tea at the home of a dear friend in Cornwall), we rolled into Montreal and were greeted by the following non-awesome circumstances:
- Freezing rain and black slush lining the roads.
- Crater-riddled roads that Riccardo declared are the worst in North America.
- Chock-a-block traffic.
- Inconsiderate drivers and cyclists (yes – cyclists).
At a standstill on the 20, Riccardo and I carried on a sarcastic conversation along the lines of:
“Oh, look! Rain. How delightful. I’m so looking forward to trudging through piles of slush.”
“Maybe it will turn to ice!”
“Ooh. That would be splendid. And then, joy of joys – we’ll get salt! Which is wonderful, because I didn’t like these boots that much anyway.”
The above-mentioned non-awesome things were countered by several entirely awesome ones:
- The gruff-looking Russian fellows we encountered in the hallway of our building turned out to be just movers, and not mobsters turning the vacant apartment across the hall into a brothel.
- We received two cool things in the mail (how often does that happen?): Riccardo got a birthday book from our dear friend, the lovely and talented Toronto make-up artist/hairstylist, Maya Goldenberg; and we received the Blurb book of photos Riccardo took in India. (It’s beautiful, and he’s considering selling an iPad version of it.)
- We had a birthday dinner for Riccardo at his parents’, featuring his dad’s gnocchi and no fewer than four different sauces made by his mum, like they do in Italy.
Our impromptu 12-day odyssey to the Gulf of Mexico and back took us through two provinces and 15 states. As we headed to Riccardo’s parents’ this evening, our odometre clicked to 7,000 kilometres. Of those, I was behind the wheel for about 125 (or, for any math geeks out there, slightly under 2% of the total distance covered). (Riccardo loves driving. Okay?)
It was a tremendous trip. We heard jazz in New Orleans, blues in Memphis, and bluegrass in Kentucky. We checked in with family and friends, and met many lovely new folks. We visited historically significant places, from the site of the Louisiana Purchase to the spot Elvis stood on during his first recording. Virtually every single meal we had was delicious and interesting. And most importantly, we managed to avoid being injured, arrested, robbed, or otherwise inconvenienced.
The entire trek was rather economical, given that gas in the US costs about a third as much as at home and that we lucked out with ridiculous deals on Hotwire for the nights we stayed in hotels (not to mention that January is, for good reason, probably the least popular time of year to visit every one of the cities we went to).
Now we’re home, and hanging out on the couch, and it sort of feels like we never went anywhere at all… until I look up and lay eyes on the large quantity of hot sauce I bought in New Orleans and it all comes rushing back.
Tomorrow I’ll be back at work, and this weekend, we’ll be celebrating Riccardo’s birthday properly (and attending our first mandatory marriage prep course). However, I’ll still try to write what I can, when I can, because it’s kinda fun.
And with that: