Two wheels, a rainstorm and moi

So, I decided to test out the Bixi system of Montreal yesterday...Bixi stands for "bicyclette" and "taxi" and the idea is that you can borrow bikes from stations around the city and return them to any other station. It costs $5 a day for unlimited rides of up to 30 minutes a pop. If you have the bike for longer than 30 minutes, they charge you a little bit more. This bike-rental system combined with an amazing network of bike lanes makes for a good urban biking experience....one that would have been even better had it not rained!

In any case, I rode out to a sculpture park waaaaaaayyy out on the St. Lawrence River, which was a lot farther away than it appeared on the map. It really felt like a million miles away as well...just the sounds of water lapping on the shore, the cry of seagulls, the loud grinding of my bike, and the squealing of my quadriceps. Apparently, the Bixi bikes are not all in the best of shape...nor am I!

So I survived the trip, returned the bike to another station, which just happened to be near a market...quelle surprise! In fact, it was lucky I happened upon the market because the rain started pouring down...it was nice to have some tents to huddle under to keep dry. My thighs seemed to enjoy the break too.

Cinérobothèque personal viewing pod
However, the rain kept coming and I was getting impatient, so I got another bike and braved the rain biking along the Canal Lachine to the Old Ports area and onward to the Latin Quarter. Since it was still raining and I was getting pretty soggy, I dropped the bike off and hit the Cinérobothèque...coolest invention ever! You reserve a personal viewing pod and choose from hundreds of films to watch...all for free! The chairs were cushy with headphones that wrapped around from behind and a touchscreen that allowed you to choose what you wanted to watch. Now, these were not big budget films that you'd see at the movie theater...they were smaller documentaries and short animated films. In any case, it was a fun way to get out of the rain.

Kind of hard to see, I realize, so squint!
After the Cinérobothèque, the rain had stopped, so I explored a few parts of the city I hadn't visited yet. I also poked my head into a few stores...why oh why is the American Dollar so weak?? I remember when buying things in Canada was like getting a 50% discount!! Where have those good old days gone? In any case, I managed to restrain myself, but made a mental note of places to return before I leave. I figure if I still want something in a few days, I'll treat myself :)

Off to Quebec City this afternoon to poke around a bit more and hopefully catch a free version of Cirque de Soleil...keep you posted!

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