Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our Trip to Montreal, Canada!

We went to Montreal, Canada June 6-9 to see the Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada. Eddie won this trip through his work so everything was paid; airfare, hotel, race, food and VIP tix to the Formula 1 Paddock club suites. It was an awesome experience!

When they notified him that he had won this trip we had very short notice so I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to go. Besides the fact that Eddie needed a Passport and mine was expired! They say it usually takes 6 weeks to get a passport or 3-4 weeks if expedited. We got ours back within 10 days! And they both arrived 1 day before our travel date! Then there was the kids, they couldn't come. I've never left my kids before! Ever! I was freaking out! I knew who would keep them, I was just so scared to leave them. I knew Bren would be fine, but Logan is a maniac and then Chase with all his medical issues, it was just really killing me to get the nerve up to leave them. They stayed with our neighbor 2 houses down b/c they know how to take care of them. (or at least I thought, more about that later)

Anyway, that Friday we brought the kids down around 8:30 and told them goodbye. Bren & Chase did fine, but Logan was still very tired and wouldn't tell me bye, instead he tried beating me up. I ended up just telling him bye and leaving. He made me cry! Our plane out was at 11 so we headed to the airport. Now, I hadn't flown in like 11 yrs. (I don't like it!) and our seats weren't together on our first flight so I was seriously freaking! Thank goodness the nice gentleman who checked our baggage downstairs came upstairs and arranged our seats so that we'd be sitting together!

When the plane started to take off I freaked even more! It's like everything hit me at once...scared of flying, leaving the kids, and scared of flying, LOL! Even though I have flown all my life. So I start crying like a big baby and put my jacket over my head! Once we're up in the air I take my jacket off my head and a few minutes later the man across from me leans over and says "so you don't do so well flying, do ya?" I felt like such a baby! But he and the man next to him were very nice and we ended up talking the rest of the flight to Atlanta. (Eddie was watching a movie on his ipod the whole time @@) So we made it to Atlanta just fine and had about an hour before our next flight to Montreal. I did pretty good on the next flight, I wasn't as scared! Just hated that it was a 3 1/2 hour flight.

We made it to Montreal fine, and through customs fine. Then walked to the front to meet the lady who would show us to our transport. Our car finally came and this dude drove like a maniac! I think I was more scared in the car then I was on the plane! We did eventually make it to our hotel in one piece, LOL!

Our hotel was pretty. It was a atop a very old building. The building was called Place Bonaventure Convention Centre and our Hotel was 17 stories up called The Hilton Bonaventure Montreal. It was beautiful, with an outdoor pool, outside bar, a full gym, many meeting rooms, restaurant and bar and shops and a garden area with a little creek and trees. I was kinda wondering how all that heavy stuff holds atop that building!

We went right to our room and freshened up and the right back out. It was already after 7 and we wanted to sight see a little and get some dinner. We ended up in Old Montreal. I swear it was just like the streets of New Orleans. As a matter of fact all of Montreal reminded me of New Orleans! We ended up at a cute outdoor restaurant similar to Chili's or Applebees. I have no idea what the name was since it was all in French! We sat upstairs on the balcony and had a cool view of the old streets on one side and the St. Lawrence River on the other side.

We got back to the hotel around 11:30 and went to sleep because we knew the next 2 days would be nonstop! Saturday morning we had to be up and ready to meet the transport at 9 a.m. They took us and other guests of the Mobil 1 team to the race by tour bus. It was a short drive and being we were VIP we were brought right up to the VIP entrance area! That was cool because all the other people attending the race had to park miles away and WALK across the river's bridge. Not that walking is a bad thing, but it is when it's like 89 degrees with high ass humidity and I was wearing heels! Even though they dropped us off as close as the could we still had a ways to walk to get to the Paddock club. Once there they scan your pass and you enter into the reception area, which was really cool. It's right on pit lane where the cars come in. There are many waitress's offering drinks of any kind, a bar with drinks and fruit, an ice cream/sorbet tent, free massages and a Frenchmen doing caracture's on T-shirts for free as well! We went upstairs to the Mobil 1 suite where we would eat and view the races. It was awesome! Thank goodness, they had a breakfast buffet when we got there. We didn't know about that, and hadn't eaten yet so that worked out. It was very good! After that the qualifying races started. It was so cool to see the cars so close but VERY loud!
Just before lunch we were handed pit passes. They took us down into the pit garage where the cars are and all of the crew was working on it while we walked through. Then we got to go out onto pit lane. It was very cool being right in with all the action!

After our tour we came back up to the suite for lunch. It was a buffet with many things to choose from. Then we watched the cars race around the track some more until we were surprised with a very beautiful and delicious dessert! Chocolate mouse with fresh fruit and a dollop of vanilla ice cream, YUM!

We left around 2:30 that day. They had a car take us back to our hotel. We rested for a little bit then headed back out to the streets to go explore and sight see some more before dinner that night. Eddie (dum dum) forgot to bring a dress shirt and he had to have one for dinner! This time we went up the hill toward the shopping area of town. Man was that a walk! We found a bunch of really neat shops, but it wasn't easy. They say that because it gets so cold there in the winter that they have like an underground shopping mall. I guess you could call it basement level. So under the huge, tall buildings you might find some steps that go down. You really wouldn't guess anything to be there but there's like this maze of shops just like a mall. It was really neat. Unfortunately, we were moving so fast in such in a hurry that I didn't get any pictures.
We went down under one building and found a bunch of cool shops and a drug store which I had been looking all over for! And it was so cool because they sold dept. store makeup in their drug stores! They had all the big names and most importantly, Clinique! I hate going to the mall just to get my makeup! After that we walked a few more blocks and found a real mall. It just looked like a regular building but when you walked in it was huge! With like 4 floors of any store you could want. Eddie found a dress shirt and we left to go back to the hotel to get ready for dinner. We get back and I tell Eddie to try on his new shirt and it doesn't fit AND it's missing 2 buttons! Great! It was 5:30, everything closes at 6 and we had to be ready to go to dinner for 7! So I call the concierge desk and ask where the closest shop to buy a dress shirt is and he tells us to come down and he'll show us on the map. I had to take a shower and get ready so Eddie went by himself. So I get ready, and it's like 6:45 and Eddie's still not back! I was starting to freak out! He walks in the door at 10 til 7 with a shirt and was ready by 7. But of course men can do that, right!?! We walked down to the front of the hotel where they had a tour bus waiting for all of us in the Mobil 1 group. The bus took us a few blocks to a really neat glass enclosed building. When we got to the top of the escalator we were greeted by a waiter with a tray of alcoholic beverages. Hmmm, what to choose? Now most of you know I don't drink unless it's a special occasion, birthday, New Year's Eve. But this was a special occasion right? First time on vacation with my hubby and no kids in 12 yrs! So I chose the glass of Champagne. We walked in and everyone was mingling and there were waiters coming around with trays of Hors d'Oeuvres. And other waiters with alcohol just waiting to bring you a new drink ;) Then they opened a curtain to the dining area with tables set up in a circle. On the back of our name tag was a table number. We ended up at a table with some really nice guys. Before dinner they had a slide show presentation and a speech. The waiters brought around bread and kept the drinks coming. Then came the appetizer, which was some sort of seafood, I honestly can't remember, maybe I should have slowed up on the drinking? Anyway, it was nasty but all the guys thought that I would be the one to eat it because I was from the south! After that and while waiting for dinner and everyone having more to drink we really got to know the guys at our table and they turned out to be really nice & funny! *Did I mention that out of probably 100 people I was only 1 of 4 other women?* But it was all good...I have always found it easier to talk to men then women anyway!
After waiting forever they finally brought out our dinner which consisted of Lamb, something that looked like a potato (but wasn't!) and some other veggie I think...it was just all so nasty! Even the guy next to me thought so. I tried to eat the thing that looked like a potato, but then Eddie told me not too! So instead I just drank more champagne, he he. And at any time did my glass get too low there was a waiter right there to fill it back up. At one point I was talking with my hands, which I do often and have gotten myself in trouble for that before, the guy next to me had to grab my hand with my glass in it because the waiter was behind me trying to fill my glass again, LOL! After dinner they had some entertainment. They turned out all the lights and had one spotlight on a silk sheath that dropped from the ceiling. A scantly clad young woman came out and started climbing up the material. She was pretty up there all twisted in the silk and did some neat tricks, it was pretty cool. After that they opened the dessert bar that had many, many things to choose from. Unfortunately, I was so blitzed by then I really couldn't tell you! Eddie and I just made conversation with the new guys we met and had some laughs. When it was time to leave I remember the head waiter asking for my glass that I think I might have been trying to walk out with (LOL!) and asked if he could escort me down the escalator. Hmmm, I think he thought I might fall? And where was my husband and why wasn't he walking me out? I do remember getting back on the bus and everyone laughing and having fun. We got back to the hotel around 11:30 and I had to take my heels off! I had worn 2 1/2" heels all day at the race and 3 1/2" heels to dinner. My feet were KILLING me! Eddie asked if I'd wait til we got in the hotel so I did and as soon as we were in the lobby they came off. All the guys thought it was pretty funny though. We went up to our room and got changed real quick and then more walking on the town. This time I wore tennis shoes! We went back up the hill, torture! And we were trying to make it to the bars and Hard Rock Cafe' but got sidetracked and ended up in a strip club! It was an interesting experience and I'll leave it at that ;) We did some more walking, trying to find our way back to the hotel and got stopped on the street by a girl wanting to borrow a cigarette. Eddie told her it would be a dollar, just kidding of course, and she pulls a bag of weed out of her bra! I was like OMG, put that away! There were so many people out there on the streets and it reminded me so much of Bourbon street back home. Everywhere we walked I could smell weed. And even though there were cops everywhere no one seemed to care? So we finally made it back to the hotel, I don't know, maybe sometime after 2. I was so tired and so drunk. We didn't get to bed til around 3 and had to be up and out by 8 a.m. UGH!

So somehow, we make it up and get ready and out on time. Even though I felt like I was going to puke the whole time! I didn't even get my makeup on! A limo took us to the race and there was just one other guy riding with us. Thank goodness he was the one that was our age and who's wife was from the same place as us. I told him to just ignore me while I get my makeup on during the ride there.

When we got to our suite they the breakfast buffet going and I couldn't wait! I was starved from not eating the night before. After eating I felt a little better. After breakfast Eddie and I went down to the reception area and waited in line for about 45 minutes to have our caricature's done. That was really neat! A Frenchman wearing a beret, he was so nice a super talented! He was doing them on white T-shirts. Eddie went first, it was so neat to watch. And he did Eddie's really funny! Then me, I decided to keep my sunglasses on since I always where them. They came out great!

Okay, it's taken me so darn long to get this all typed up with pictures that I've forgotten what I wanted to write, LOL!

Let's see, after having our shirts done we went back up to the suite for lunch and shortly after the actual Formula 1 race started. We all took our places at the balcony in anticipation of a great race. The driver Louis Hamilton was pegged to win so we were excited! But in the 7th lap something happened. A wreck, and Louis came into pit lane for something while they were cleaning up. Well, on his way out of pit lane he fails to see the RED light and rear ends the car in front of him and is out of the race. That really sucked because if he had won like they thought him to we would have gotten to meet him and and gotten win shirts and hats. Just would have been neat. But oh well, the rest of the race was pretty boring. Just very loud cars going round a circuit! When it was over we had to wait a good while to leave. They let all the people off of the island first so they can cross the bridge then the limo's and buses get to leave. So while we were waiting we went to the reception area to check out the desert kiosk. It was pretty neat...had all sorts of ice cream and sorbet's with a buffet of confections & candies to top it off. I chose the raspberry sorbet with gummy worms! Of course I took a picture of my beautiful creation =)

We were finally able to leave around 5 and were taken by bus back to our hotel where all we wanted to do was sleep! Of course, I took my shoes off again in the lobby and the guys all said they were wondering how far I would get before they came off! We rested for a bit, changed then walked across the street to a very familiar place...McDonald's! Yeah, we were so worn out that's the best we could do! Even got it to go. Went back to the hotel and ate, called the kids then were in bed by 9 p.m.!

Our flight out Monday was at 12:42 p.m. and because of all the international and customs stuff they had a car coming to pick us up at 9 a.m., ugh. We got to the airport around 9:45, going through customs was a breeze but we had to walk forever to get to our gate. And so we sat for the next 2 hours.

Our flight was on time and was fairly fast going back. Although we did have an almost 3 hour layover in Atlanta. We decided to eat and visit some of the shops, called the kids and my Mom and sat for a while. We got back into B.R. at 7 p.m. and were home sweet home shortly after. The kids were outside waiting for us, it was so good to be back with my babies. I missed them sooo much!

So overall it was a very, very busy, exciting, neat trip of a lifetime! I'm glad we did it =)

P.S. if you're ever have a long layover in Atlanta you should try riding the tram thingy all over the airport to kill time, hehe ;)