Thursday, September 1, 2011

Montreal - Old Town and Beyond

Our first stop was a church. The oldest in  Montreal. It had been built, burned, rebuilt and modified a number of times over the centuries. A wall in a side hallway told in detail the history of it's various incarnations. After our visit to the church, we wandered though the old city. It's narrow streets and broad plaza all showed the influence of it's French origins. Perhaps inspired by this we stopped at a creperie for lunch and then headed back to the hotel.

Our room was spare but spacious, comfortable and we were to discover, ideally located for our activities over the next few days. A metro hub station was 2 blocks away and there was a wide choice of restaurants, not to mention gay bars, in the area.

We soon discovered St Catherine Street strung with banners depicting red roses and closed to car traffic with it's, as I mentioned earlier, restaurants, shops, clubs and bars, their decks extending across the sidewalks into the street. We were to do much of our eating, and most of our drinking, there during our stay.

Friday night after dinner, we decided to explore some of the gay establishments in the neighborhood. After brief stays at a couple of places we wandered into one of the areas stripper bars.

We found ourselves in a nicely appointed room with tables, chairs and a stage with a pole. Pretty much what one would expect. A rather young, barechested man was cavorting onstage. He left and another man came onstage, tattooed and thickly muscled. After a few moments of suggestive movements, he did a back flip much to the delight of the crowd. He also left the stage with his pants zipped up and intact. We were soon to discover that each entertainers first dance was an appetiser - we were about to experience the main course. Apparently, there are no laws prohibiting completely nude male dancing in Montreal. As some dancers, all appeared to be well under thirty and with better than average physiques, took their turns on the stage, others worked the room, while two, inexplicably, played a game of barechested pool. A tall blond came to our table to suggest a "private dance". We politely declined. It was then I noticed that even when completely naked, the dancers still wore their watches. We decided it was probably to ensure the "private dances" did not exceed their allotted time limit.

As we strode down the street towards our hotel, my friend noticed a sign reading "Campus" spelled out in rainbow letters over a door that led to a steep flight of stairs.; He suggested that we add it to our agenda for the next evening. The next night we found, up the flight of stairs, another stripper bar. It was somewhat seedier than the first but some of the same dancers seemed to work at both places. At this venue, however, they did not wear their watches.  

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