Husband and I have often complained to each other that we live in a magnificent city and never take advantage of the many things it has to offer. We’ve travelled extensively in other parts of the world, while ignoring what’s happening in our own backyard.
To be honest, the fault has been mine. I get rather freaked-out in crowds and have had a couple of spectacular meltdowns in public places …. I’ve even fainted a few of times. Those occasions have not endeared me to my life partner. Over time I simply started to avoid anything that might translate into a large gathering of tensely packed people.
Over the past year, I’ve been working hard on this phobia of mine and as a result, we have taken in several activities that, in the past, I would have simply refused to attend. Last night it was Nuit Blanche.
This was the 8th annual all-night outdoor exhibition of artistic displays, performance pieces and videos. There were (supposedly) over 100 exhibits temporarily setup over a few kilometers in the downtown core. It never occurred to me that this would result in the largest and most chaotic ‘street party’ I’ve ever seen.
We started at City Hall when it was already well after dark. The crowd was so congested, we ended up climbing over a fence trying to escape the worst of it. Naively we thought this was as bad as it was going to get.
Main roads were closed off to traffic and CLOGGED with people. At some point, we weren’t even walking anymore … we were simply being moved by the crowd like a river flowing.
I don’t have the most artistic soul in the world, but I do appreciate the unusual and creative. This event however left me feeling more than a little bewildered – what exactly were we supposed to get out of this?
From displays made with rolls of toilet paper …
Palm trees suspended on cranes over the street …
Scream boxes, light lasers, buskers, mazes, and more …. I can’t say I really understood the whole ‘artistic’ side of this event.
After a while, it seemed to me that the crowd was actually the real event.
With Hallowe’en still over 3 weeks away, there were an extraordinary number of people in costumes – from rabbits to zombies. To be honest, some of those people didn’t look like they were intentionally in costume. There were those who looked rather creepy in an undead kind of way…. and others were just simply charming.
Inevitably, the panic started to bubble up and it was time to find a quiet side street to navigate our way back to our parked car. Without question, this was an interesting excursion into the city at night.
Why is it called Nuit Blanche? … apparently it means “all-nighter” in French. I’m always learning something new.