The White Shit's Back!
Well, snow finally got here, only one month late! Despite my appreciation of nature trying to follow its natural course, it pissed me a little when my car didn't start yesterday after the very cold night we had (About -35 celsius). Happily, I was not going to work or school, but it still cost me 20 bucks to get a taxi to boost my battery, as I needed the car to start the process to get a Class-2 driver's license, necessary for my tree-delivery job.
Anyway, here's a few pictures taken in front of my home.
One interesting note about my neighbourhood: It used to be a working-class section of town, mostly specialized in food processing, tobacco factories and seaport-related industries. After most of the factories closed down, a lot of people ended up on welfare., in the 1970-80s. So Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, as it is called (It's an amalgam of an old neighbouring town, Maisonneuve, and of a bourough of Montréal, Hochelaga), became a poor and rough section of town where the white trash was concentrated. It became a hive for criminal business in the 70's and its here that the Hell's Angels grew (Until about 3 years ago, when the police hit them hard, they were a major criminal force in Québec with the Italian Mafia, who was itself hit pretty bad last fall) and recruited. It has been settling down in the last years, and there was revitalization of some streets, but it remains poor and tough.
So, to help you fit in as if you were a local, here's a few introductory tips to Hochelaga:
-When you go buy stuff (ie: Beer, chips and pop) at the corner store (called "dépanneur" in Québec), you have to pay with change, dimes and nickels preferably. You'll be fashionable if there's a cent or two missing.
-Yell at your kids from the window or the balcony.
-The sports card store a block away from your street is a front for drug dealers. So are the ebay-selling place, the dollar-store, the pawn shop, the toy store and the church.
-Steal a car radio even if the CD player doesn't work and it's the only thing remaining in your Pontiac Sunbird 1994. Leave the tires for the next person, please!
-The local tavern has really cheap beer. A lot of it. If you don't like the place, try one of the twelve other bars on the block!
-Feel like going to the restaurant? Yay! Well, there's a greasy fast food joint on every corner. They offer the most employment opportunities, ranging from waitress to cook to delivery boy. Wow! (There's also a very nice Tex-Mex place in the opposite direction)
-Feel like meeting nice girls to start something serious? What about a head start? Walk around, there's plenty of pregnant teens to choose from!
So that's about it for the little tour. Of course, this was a little exxagerated, but the basics of the joke are well fixed in the concrete of reality. And contrary to what you might think, I actually love my neighbourhood as its colourful and pretty close to downtown, which is really useful when you're drunk (That state of mind also helps you appreciate the place). My home is also really close to a metro station, making most interesting corners of the city easily accessible!
So, time to go apply for a city tour job and be quickly dismissed!