Wonderin’ Underground

Some of the signs I saw while riding the Montreal metro made me wonder just how safe the system is:


Beware of gigantic creepy tickle monsters! 


And also freaky parasitic alien pregnancies!

At least they’ve painted the parts of the platform that align with the train doors with a diagram of a suggested passenger flow system, a concept that sadly eludes most Vancouver commuters:


(Many Vancouver commuters also don’t seem to be able to grasp the “stand right, walk left” concept. The thought “you’d get lynched for this in London” crosses my mind on a regular basis while using the SkyTrain).

However, the above welcome platform feature was cancelled out by this confusing element of Mr E Man’s hotel room:


No doubt this is some fancy-pants French cooking concept I’m too unsophisticated to understand

Luckily the rest of the trip was fantastic, if too short (and too hot). We walked all over the city, ate fantastic food (including the obligatory smoked meat, some outstanding bagels, and the best Greek food I’ve ever had), visited the beautiful cathedral, and swam in the St. Lawrence. Mr E Man is going to be in Montreal for another 3-4 weeks, so saying goodbye to him was pretty tough, but time will pass in that way it always does and he’ll be home soon(ish)…

…assuming the gigantic creepy tickle monsters don’t get him first.

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in freakishness, photos, silliness, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Wonderin’ Underground

  1. You swam in the St. Lawrence River? Forget creepy tickle monsters… *that’s* brave.

    That salt shaker is hilarious. And what the heck is that tickle monster sign supposed to be, anyway?

    Final point – if you want some fun, find someone from Montreal and someone from New York, put them in a room together, and say the word “bagel”. Instant argument.

  2. Beth Snow says:


    Also, aren’t Montreal smoked meat sandwiches the best thing ever? Also – did you try spruce beer? (It’s pop, not beer, but it’s freaking delicious). I’m going to Montreal for a workshop in October and I will be bringing back a 12 pack. Mmmm, sprucey.

  3. cromercrox says:

    It’s simple. If you sit next to a man with a big, stiff… er … walking stick, you’ll get pregnant.

  4. x_ine says:

    Despite having a sign for the ideal passenger flow getting on and off the metro, many people fail to respect it. So I have taken to bulldozing my way off the metro, elbows flying, if someone tries to push on before I can get off.

    Also: Fairmount or Saint-Viateur?

  5. chall says:

    aww… Greek food… *dreaming away*

    Anyway, I second the questions about the tickle monter, what is it?? Although, to me it looked like “beware of evil person knocking you on the head” ^^

    Hope the next couple of weeks go by quicker and then happy times when you see eachother again! 🙂

  6. Alyssa says:

    Ah, Good ol’ Montreal and they’re fun photos. I was there a few years back for a conference, and we saw this poster: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=7511790276&set=t.613379121&type=3&theater

    Obviously and ad, but funny nonetheless!

    Glad you had a great time, and hope the next few weeks go by quickly!

  7. Bob O'H says:

    That is bizarre. Why would anyone put salt in a pepper pot?

  8. Nina says:

    well, indeed, how did they store the pepper? I envision little bags with whole peppercorns inside a see-through pepper-mill.

  9. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Richard, it was at this park. which is upstream of Montreal. It was very nice, but the swimming area was tiny and they yelled at you through megaphones and sent a boat to intercept you if you went even a few inches past the rope that marked its boundary. It’s weird – in some ways the regulations in Quebec seem much laxer than in BC (e.g. liquor licensing, people jay-walking right in front of a big group of cops), but outdoor activities seem much, much more regulated than we’re used to. Mr E Man had already been to this park, and had tried to find an alternative by asking pretty much every local he met if they could recommend somewhere else to go swimming outside – but every single person suggested a pool rather than the river or lake we were looking for, and most appeared extremely confused when we said we wanted to swim somewhere more natural. We swim in the ocean, lakes and rivers all the time in BC and even the rare places that do employ lifeguards don’t care where you swim unless you’re actively drowning. It’s all very strange.

    I had proper New York bagels precisely once, in 1994. Both cities make outstanding bagels, but the time in between samplings was far too long to make a direct comparison.

    I’ve heard that all bread baked west of the Rockies is inferior because of the water pH (or some other quality of the water), but don’t know how true that is. I do know that we can’t get bagels anywhere near that good in Vancouver, though!

    Beth, the sandwich was indeed EPIC. I didn’t know this was A Thing last time I was in Montreal (when I was as grad student), so I hadn’t tried them before – this time, it was top of my list (it being far too hot and humid to be eating poutine). I’ve never heard of spruce beer though – sounds intriguing!

    Cromercrox, that doesn’t make me any less scared of the Metro…

    X-ine, oh, that’s disappointing. I thought the properly socialist Quebecois would be better at that kind of thing. (On a related note, the waitress in the Greek restaurant absolutely refused to put both sets of leftovers into one container to take home, even when we explained that I was leaving the next day and Mr E Man was going to eat ALL the leftovers for dinner that night. No no no, my leftovers had to go in the container she handed to me, and Mr E Man’s had to go in a container she handed to him. We decided this must be a socialist mechanism to ensure equal distribution of lamb-based wealth).

    Chall, it was grilled octopus salad followed by roast lamb with roast potatoes, Greek salad, and orzo in tomato sauce. OUTSTANDING. I resisted the octopus salad because I (thought I) don’t like octopus, but it turns out I just don’t like all the other octopus I’ve ever had and that the non-rubbery stuff is phenomenal.

    I’m not sure if the sign is telling you to be aware of ticklers, knocks on the head, abduction, or possibly advertising free shoulder massages?

    Thanks, Alyssa! I hope they fly by!

    Bob, the only answer I can give you is a Gallic shrug.

    Bob and Nina, the little paper pepper packets were loose in a basket with the tea bags, sugar, and coffee, if that helps.


    little paper pepper packets, little paper pepper packets, little paper pepper packets, little paper pepper packets

    OK, my jet lag plus 6am teleconference is catching up with me. I think it’s time to go home.

    • Bob O'H says:

      Bob and Nina, the little paper pepper packets were loose in a basket with the tea bags, sugar, and coffee, if that helps

      I’m not even going to think about what coffee or tea tastes like with pepper in it.

  10. Cath, you reminded me that another outdoor activity, fishing, is regulated up the wazoo in la belle Province. It’s covered in lakes you’re just not allowed to fish in, because they’re privately owned, or something. I can remember being called to across one such lake once, and told I couldn’t fish there. I was about 8 years old I think, and might possibly have caught a sunfish or something.

    I’ve never been back since.*


  11. Grant says:

    Richard Wintle,

    You’d catch a sun fish in a lake?

    (Incidentally, one was caught within the Otago Harbour, which is pretty remarkable given it’s mostly mud flat at low tide. It used to feature in the Otago Museum entrance area.)

  12. Mike says:

    I’m pretty sure the tickle monster sign is actually a warning: “Danger! Canadians aren’t quite as good at the Gay Gordons as they think they are.”

    And the next one is a warning for French breast implants.

  13. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Having been to a couple of Canadian ceilidhs, I think we have a winner here…

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