notes from the dorm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 March, 2011, 12:00am

7am: Dressed, packed and somewhat awake. There are very few reasons why I would willingly wake up this early on my vacation. I jump into the car and give my mum a reassuring look, don't worry I'll be safe. Like any parent she fears the worst for Reading Week -the ultimate vacation for university students all across Canada.

Although the week is intended for students to 'catch up on their work' and 'rest up', the reality is that most of us end up partying.

Many sign up for a student council trip with ridiculously discounted prices. Three friends and I decided to book a trip to Montreal along with 800 other University of Toronto students. The plan: a seven-hour return bus trip, accommodation and three club nights for just C$180 (HK$1,430).

We arrive at the bus terminal for registration. Mountains of luggage is piled high and students are screaming everywhere. We hop on the bus and quickly let our eyes roll back - nap time.

Like magic, we arrive in Montreal. It's evident we've left the Anglophile world of Toronto as we giggle at signs with French words such as L'Hotel Auberge and Les Pommes Frites.

We settle in our room and rush out for dinner on Saint Catherine's, the main street full of bright lights, stores and restaurants, including Nickel's, a small diner owned by Celine Dion. We know it's uber touristy, but cannot resist the opportunity to enjoy Ms Dion's restaurant in her hometown. We munch on greasy, diner goodness.

We escape the restaurant and head to the hotel. Our room becomes a mess of hair straighteners, black tights and shoes. Then it's back on the bus.

Amid the flashing LED lights and blasting music, we manage to make friends with a third-year commerce student from Dubai, another from McMaster University who decided to join the trip last- minute, and many others from across the globe. It feels as if the whole world has decided to come to Montreal with us.