Sunday, September 29, 2013


In the face of one's expectations, the reality of Geneva is a bit underwhelming, if not outright disappointing; it is perhaps fitting then that the U.N. sits there. Still, I only went in order to visit some of my oldest and dearest friends, and in that respect I had an absolutely fantastic time. To be fair, I've been told by those in the know that after three months of settling in, Geneva is a great place to be. Fair enough, I suppose; I've learned the hard way that visiting a place is nowhere near the same as living in that place.
Model U.N.
My fellow Marianopolis alumni, Felix and Marina, were gracious enough to host Igor and myself, respectively, though of course we all mostly hung out together. Seb was supposed to have joined as well, but visa issues intervened, as they tend to at the most inconvenient of times. Luckily we were still able to rope him in over Skype, and it was just like the old days.

That's a knife.
That was the best part: being able to just sit, talk, and catch up on life as old friends do. There was a fair bit of dining out, and we had a lovely brunch one morning at Au P'tit Bonheur. Highly recommended if you're in the area.

The second-best part was that I finally managed to get me a veritable Swiss Army Knife: the Victorinox Nomad! Ain't she a beaut? It was love at first sight, I must admit.

About the only other pleasant thing that comes to mind is the Jet d'Eau; literally a large jet of water shooting out from a fountain at the end of a small pier. Although much of the pier was swarming with tourists, the far end closest to the jet was mainly empty as people tried to avoid getting wet from the fine mist produced by the wind hitting the jet. So I headed over and was able to enjoy a very tranquil space in the heart of the city, the sound of the water drowning out all else.

Jet d'Eau

Bosom Buddies

The Ugly Duckling
A word of warning: shop around if you're in Paris and looking to get Swiss francs. I ended up changing $300 USD for 240 CHF at 2 Place Saint-Michel, 75006 Paris, France - the best deal I could get on short notice. Other nearby foreign exchange offices offered me 170 CHF. I call shenanigans.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I ♥ Montreal

“What’s so great about Montreal?”

Maybe it’s because Montreal at its best is a place where you can be childlike at any age; where sometimes a bus stop is replaced by a set of swings; where people are driven and creative and productive, yet still know how to relax and enjoy life; where great science is being done; where there is great richness and diversity in people, belief, language, culture, and an appreciation thereof - something the government of the day just doesn’t get; where it’s okay to just walk up to someone and start talking, and where you might just make a friend. Maybe it’s something else altogether. Or maybe it’s not great at all - I am admittedly biased - but I don't really believe that. I think Montreal really is great, and to see why you'll just have to visit for yourself.

As for me ... after a brief pit stop in Connecticut, I got a special ride back into town,

The Spider-Mobile
snapped a photo with my mum and my two favourite aunts,

My Family

and then got down to business.

La Banquise
I visited another famous Canadian Norman

The Doctor
and some very good friends I had not seen in ages

Three's Company

and some very good friends I had not seen in even longer ages

Two Statisticians and a Computer Scientist Walk into a Bar ...

and took a trip back in time to vintage Club Supersexe.

Free Hot and Cold Buffet. Also: Herpes.
I then had a very productive marathon session with the Sensei,

The BEST Academic Supervisors!!!
and finally had an authentic Montreal bagel at St-Viateur Bagel with Professor JP Budman and his assistant Mr. Pond.

Two Guys, No Girl, and a Bagel Place
A quick kiss

Svetla and Her Boys

and a farewell

Saying Good-bye.

and then I was off again.

Of course, there is so much more that I enjoyed than in these few photos: watching Breaking Bad with my cool roommates in the 341, dinner with Cait, workouts at one of my favourite gyms, babies and friends with babies, and every single night I got to hang out with Ivo, to name but a few. One of the best moments was a half-day spent with Crazy Russian Dave during which we zoomed around town on his motorcycle. I couldn't stop smiling the whole day.


The Village

I heart you, Montreal. Until the next time ...

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday the 13th

There are worse ways to spend a Friday the 13th ...

... and Tobe Hooper himself is in town!