Stuck in a Foreign Country, oh my! (Jan 2022)
I began to plan this short getaway for Floyd’s birthday in November. Tickets & accommodations were very reasonable. I found us a nice 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment in downtown Montreal on the Stella Stays | Luxury Rentals app. We were going just to hang-out for 5 days, wine & dine (so we thought!), & really do nothing.
We’ve been trying to travel all along & Covid slowed us down a bit, but didn’t stop us all together. We’d both been vaxx’d & I’d just gotten my booster 3wks prior to this short jaunt.
In fact, Floyd & our son had Covid on in early Jan & both made a nice recovery. I tested negative several times after they were diagnosed AND the day before we left. To get into Canada, you have to download their ArriveCAN app & fill it out. It asks lots of ‘nosey’ questions & the app says ‘All travelers, with limited exceptions, whether entering Canada by air, land, rail or marine vessel, must use ArriveCAN unless you’re exempt from this requirement due to an accessibility need. You’ll need to submit your information within 72 hours: before your arrival to Canada.’
The app also asks where you’ll be staying AND if you have an acceptable place of quarantine, if needed. (I’d put down the address of our 1st night’s hotel, that ‘janky’ Holiday Inn…) ArriveCan also states that you MAY be chosen for random testing upon arrival at the airport. ‘No problem, we’re fine.’
Side Note – 1 of my friends, who’s from Canada, said to me 3-4 days prior to us leaving, ‘Girl, why are you going to Canada? Don’t you know that everything is ‘closed’ there?!’ Lol, but I didn’t care, we’d already paid for the trip, we were going & we were still excited!
Flight: I’d found a good price for tickets with Delta & the flight from Raleigh to Detroit was uneventful EXCEPT for the gentleman sitting next to me kept taking his mask down! He would tell me it was because he couldn’t breathe & I would promptly tell him that ‘It wasn’t optional.’ I had to tell him this 3 times & the 4th was going to be a loud scene to the flight attendant.
Covid-19 & STUCK in Canada!!– I wonder how that fella feels since I later found out that I had Covid. Did he give me Covid… Who knows! Wonder if it actually onsets that fast? Who knows!
Anyway, what are the chances that we were both ‘randomly’ tested @ the airport? Well, WE were both ‘randomly’ tested, @ the same time, when we arrived late that night…… Results came 2 days later. Stay Tuned for those SHENANIGANS!
Car Rental – We again booked through Economy Bookings & had another great experience. The reservation was through Budget Car Rental and we were able to get a really good car @ a very reasonable rate.
Accommodations – This is one of the few times that we actually skimped on a room for the night & only because we needed to be close to the MTL airport to pick-up our rental car. We spent the night @ the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Montreal Airport Hotel & that was ‘not the business’. Let’s just say that the online pics are EXTREMELY misleading. NEVER AGAIN will we stay @ anyone’s Holiday Inn. You can just call us (me, lol) #middleclassbougie, if you want to.
The next day we were more than happy to leave that super raggedy Holiday Inn & head to our much sweeter ‘digs’ @ 244 Rue Saint Jacques for 5 nights. If you’re going to Montreal & you’re looking for an Airbnb type stay, then Stella Stays has got you covered! This place was super nice, convenient to lots of restaurants, shopping, grocery stores, etc. ‘Rue Saint Jacques’ has a covered parking deck that’s not complimentary, but it was all worth the stay. There was also all of the pots, pans, dishes you’d need for a few days.
Yes, upon arrival, mostly everything was indeed ‘closed’. Meaning restaurants, shops, etc. We went to the local grocery store, Provigo, & stocked-up on a few groceries & a couple of bottles of wine. Cost us a cool $220-ish US dollars, yikes!
2 Days After Arrival – I woke-up with a little bit of a headache, neck ache & stuffy nose. I was not even a little bit alarmed because MTL was a bitter cold that we’d never felt before, we were sleeping in a foreign apartment with a heating system that we weren’t used to, on a different bed & pillows.
We ventured out on foot to see what we could on that Saturday morning. There were cute coffee shops, general shops & a museum close by. Floyd had gotten his negative Covid result that morning. I wasn’t in the least bit alarmed that mine didn’t come @ the same time as his…
After the museum, we went into a random cute coffee shop. Floyd was placing our order while I sat by the window, scrolling on my phone.
I checked my email & my Covid result was back. I’d tested + for Covid-19! I was so shocked & I signaled Floyd to come over to me with my finger! He was telling me to wait & I told him it was an emergency, lol! As soon as he saw my results, he said, ‘Oh SH*T, we gotta get out of here! Let’s go, let’s go!’
We grabbed our coffee & quickly walked back to the room, slightly nervous & wondering EVERYTHING below…!
Were they going to cart us off to some type of ‘government facility’ for quarantine?
How long did I (we) have to quarantine?
Was someone going to come knocking on the Holiday Inn’s room door, where I said I would be if we had to quarantine, BUT I was no longer there?!
Were they going to be able to track my every move with my cell phone?
Were they going to locate me @ Rue Saint Jacques & check on me @random times to be sure I wasn’t venturing out?
AND MOST IMPORTANT, WHEN WERE WE GOING TO BE ABLE TO GO HOME?????????
WE WERE ‘STUCK LIKE CHUCK‘ IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY!!!!!!!! Or as my mom would say ‘It’s just a situation…’, lol.
The + test came with a few instructions… To stay in of course, & ‘they’ would be giving me a call to make sure that I was compliant. ‘They’ called me the next day & spoke to me in very broken English. The bottom line was that I could not leave the country to go back home until I’d quarantined for 10 days! (The US was already @ 5 days of quarantine for those who were fully vaxx’d & Covid +! ) ‘They’ also led me to believe that ‘they’ would call me everyday to check on my status & the email said there could be a random ‘surprise visit’. ‘They‘ said I wouldn’t be able to leave for home until day ELEVEN!
Day 5 was approaching & it was time to leave Rue Saint Jacques! We were already going to take a day trip to Quebec anyway, so we just ‘nomaded’ to Quebec & found us another cute condo to stay in for a few days!
Turns-out that Floyd had a nice, ‘true quarantine’ birthday anyway @ Rue Saint Jacques in Montreal afterall. We cooked an Italian meal of tortellini, had salad, bowtie pasta salad & a delicious cake from a Chinese bakery that was actually open.
Full disclosure: My ‘Covid tail (booty)’ felt great overall, & yes, I did venture out a couple of times, but not until my technical ‘5 days of United States quarantine for the fully vaxx’d’ was over……………. BUT I know, we were in CANADA! AND ‘they’ certainly didn’t care care about what the US was doing or what the current US guidelines for quarantine were! Boooooo! And I have to thank my friend, Ondre, who migrated to Canada & has been living there for some time… For calling me, giving me hope & encouragement early on. Thanks man!
All the Best!!
Read on for QUEBEC!