Bonjour! Bienvenue à Montréal! Puis-je vous offrir un peu de fromage et un air renfrogné? Oui?
As soon as you pass over the border into Quebec, the whole landscape changes. Far-upstate New York is, well, scuffed up a little bit – full of stuff that’s either rusty, or made out of plastic (so, just dirty). The gas station names become a little weirder as you move north – you’ll eventually start to question how many “x”’s should actually be in “Exxon” – but if you’ve cruised any basic rock salt & strip mall American landscape in your life, you’ll have the general picture. Just gas up, buy some homemade jerky and get back on the highway before anybody notices your shirt has a collar and starts asking questions.
And then, the border crossing. Assuming this presents no problems for you – and if you can’t cross into Canada, maybe an upstate New York border town is the right place for you to settle down – you emerge in a completely different world. Your latitude hasn’t changed. You’re still under the same sky (but how would you know, given the 130% chance that it’s overcast). But the feeling of being “somewhere else” is tangible. Three thoughts cross your mind pretty quickly.