John Walker's Electronic House

by on Oct.18, 2004, under The Rest

Saturday Part 1

Or as Will Porter describes it, “The best day”.

Saturday was a “free day”. As I’ve mentioned before, these are days I would normally dread on such a trip. Sitting in a miserable, dark bar from breakfast until, well, breakfast, may be the sort of day that sets Kieron’s heart alight, and if he is correct, those of 99% of games journalists. However, when in a city in another country, I’d prefer to be on the outside.

The fuel for this righteous fire comes from Montreal. That was a trip… I forget when, to go and look at Prince of Persia while it was still being developed. We had a whole Sunday free, no plans, and an entire, beautiful city to explore. I heard tales of a giant Biosphere thingie, and rumours of a Monkey World. And having watched the dreadful television coverage of the Montreal Comedy Festival for years upon years, I also knew quite how much tourist-kitsch and interesting stuff there was to look at. But when you’re in a party of five, and you don’t have any money beyond that pouring from the PR’s wallet, it’s difficult to fight against the current towards the nearest, dankest, least pleasant bar available. This was made all the more agonising because of the volume of incredible sights appearing in front of us as we walked around. The night we arrived there was a French-language music festival on the streets outside our hotel, with live bands around every corner. And we watched for about three minutes before being dragged to a bar. The next morning was Montreal’s Gay Pride, and despite stumbling upon the route quite by accident, people still weren’t prepared to stay for more than ten minutes. So we could sit in a bar.

So yes – I don’t like “free days”. They tend to be anything but.

However, before leaving, Will and I had made a pact to use the day wisely, and under no circumstances were events to occur such that we didn’t see sealions.

Before setting off, there was some sensible use of the (bonkers) Hotel Triton foyer massage chairs. Me left, Ben right. Thanks to Dan for some of the pics below, including this one.

so soothing

Will, Dan and myself set off bright and early (actually before 10am) to transfer to our new hotel, and then explore. We couldn’t check in immediately, so we checked our bags, and then asked the man behind the counter at the (poshest ever) hotel for some tips of where to go and what to explore. He produced a handy map, and began scribbling all over it with helpful directions and top tips. And then told us that there was a hill with an old fashioned tram service running on it. “It’s called Nob Hill”, he said, as the three of us looked at each other and smirked. Nob. Funny.

So our first destination on this epic and extraordinary journey was the pier. We knew to visit Pier 39 – that was where the action was. And boy, was it ever. Not only were there enormous numbers of tacky tourist shops, but also an arcade in which Dan could display his (surprisingly good) Dance, Dance Revolution skills:

saturday afternoon fever

And Will was able to FIGHT TERROZRIZM:


It’s sad to report that during his time on the elite force’s side, Will sustained a terrible injury. Captured on film above, Will managed to ever-so-slightly use one of his muscles, leading to days of sustained pain and annoyance for anyone near him.

Terror firmly under check, and an appropriate number of arrows highlighted while over the top of other arrows pointing in the same direction, we left, to SEE THE SEALIONS! It came true!

see, lions. to steal Dan's joke

Sealions are great. A lot of very boring people will say something like, “It’s extraordinary the way they are so clumsy on land, but oh so very graceful in the water.” Yawn. This is what should be said in future: “The are so very lazy, and yet will go to remarkable lengths just to annoy their friends.”

We watched many of them choosing the most awkward paths to the water possible. Nevermind that they could just roll one inch to their left, they had to crawl over about a dozen of their fellow sunbathing chums, hitting them all in the face on the way, rousing angry barks and some furious glares. They are my heroes. I now model myself on them.

Phewie, it was a packed day. More next time.

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