halloween weekend in montreal

Oct 31, 2012

I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge sports fan.  Sure, I like to go to the odd hockey game and cheer on my team... but that's mostly due to the fact that my husband cheers on the rival team.  Given this fact, it would seem rather unfair that I have had my share of good luck when it comes to working flights that are somehow sports related.   There was the time a couple of years ago when I was called on standby to work a flight to Capetown during FIFA.  Other crew members had spent the month trying to bid and swap for that very flight, and there I was, oblivious to the sport and off to participate in the fun.  
This time around, I was headed to Montreal to bring the city's football team for a big game.  I'd had many people offer to take the flight off of my hands, but I was looking forward to it and refused to let it go.  It was an early morning, but with coffee in hand I headed to work. I was lucky enough to have my husband drop me off at the airport, getting my day off to a great start. 
We boarded the plane and headed east. It was quite a different flight than usual, with lots of food to serve to hungry football players.  It was busy, but I know that there were many other flight attendants (primarily female) that would have loved to have been in my shoes.  
Once we'd landed in Montreal, the rest of the crew went to their rooms to nap, while I chose to shower and relax instead. I sipped coffee and stared out the window at the beautiful autumn colours that have long departed Alberta.  

We'd agreed to meet up later in the day for dinner.  By this point, I was starving. We returned to one of my local favourites, the Fireside Grill. I ordered my usual French onion soup, warming me up and satisfying my endless craving for soup.  Once we'd finished eating it was time to head downtown, seeing as how we had more time in the city than a typical layover.  We caught the metro, following swarms of people dressed in costumes as it was the Saturday prior to Halloween.  Though I wasn't dressed in costume, I'd borrowed a pair of high heels adorned with pink skulls from another flight attendant, making me feel a bit more in the Halloween spirit.  

Rule number one when planning a night out on a busy evening: Have a plan.  We learnt this lesson as we wandered the streets aimlessly in search of a venue that didn't have an outrageous cover charge. The girls in the group wanted to dance, and while there were few things that I wanted to do less, I tagged along because I didn't want to be the only member of the crew that was anti-social and alone in the hotel.  Besides, I'd read my horoscope on the plane and it had told me to go out of my comfort zone and have fun this evening. I couldn't argue that. My feet were throbbing as we continued walking, forcing me to trade shoes with the girl that I'd borrowed from in the first place.  Despite the other's frustrations at finding nowhere to go, I was happy to wander the city and take in the sights at night.  

Eventually, we came across an Irish pub that happened to play music that I was embarrassed to love. The high school student in me sang along and even briefly joined in the dancing, despite my blistered feet.  We were among the few that were not dressed in costume, but we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.  
Eventually it got late and we agreed to call it a night. By this point, the metro was no longer running, so we took a taxi back to our hotel.  We left at just the right time, as the streets were filled with party animals and things were getting rather crazy in downtown Montreal.  
I showered before bed to cleanse my dirty, sore feet after spending some time barefoot in the pub and wash my legs from the drinks that had been spilled on me.  I was so happy to finally crawl into bed, having been awake for nearly 21 long hours.  
The next morning I attempted to wake up for the free hotel breakfast, but sleep won the battle and I stayed in bed instead. The time difference meant that sleeping in until 11 was only really 9 am my time. 
I met up with a couple of the girls for lunch, at the food court of the mall. I'd been trying my best to keep up with my healthy eating, but that afternoon nothing looked more appealing than greasy Chinese food.

 The other girls returned to the hotel to nap and nurse hangovers, while I continued to wander the mall followed by a brisk walk through the autumn leaves. We had tickets to the football game, but given the distance from the stadium and the fact that we had to be to the plane much earlier than the players, we would have only been able to watch the first half of the game... and even that would have left us with barely enough time.  Instead, I watched the game from my hotel room.  At first there was little hope, but our home team worked a few miracles in the second half of the game.  With 2 seconds to spare, they had a chance to tie the game... but unfortunately were unable to do so.   It was a disappointment, but it also meant that we wouldn't have to stay late due to overtime.  As soon as the game ended, I had to head to the lobby to check out of my room and meet the rest of the crew.  It was time to get out of Montreal before a certain hurricane made its way up north.
We headed to the plane, got everything set up, and waited for the team. As I'd anticipated, there were few if any smiles during boarding.  They'd come straight from a losing game to the plane, and they weren't feeling too happy with themselves. I made it my mission the cheer them up, given the few resources that I had.  Trust me, extra cheese and crackers goes a long way.  
It was a long journey home, but we finally began our descent into Edmonton. In a brief terrifying moment, I was almost punched. You want to do something dangerous? Wake up a 250 pound football player from his slumber. His automatic defence reaction nearly kicked in before opening his eyes to realize that I was not someone invading his home and trying to kill him, but rather a flight attendant asking him to put on his seatbelt. 
Home sweet home at last, I said goodbye to my crew and hello to my husband who was patiently waiting for my arrival in a nice warm car!  


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