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Bursting the Bubble – Next stop: suburbia

Jason Karmody savours urban sprawl at Namur metro

Grab your metro tickets and pocket your Opus card – it’s time to head to the Namur metro. Poised well outside the McGill bubble, this metro calls for 11 hops, skips, and jumps in the direction of Côte-Vertu.

If you left your Etch-a-Sketch at home, fear not – there’s plenty to do on the way there. First off, you can try figuring out how to pronounce Namur. Namoor? How about Namerrr? Narnia? Maybe not quite, but by the time you’ve switched over from the green line to the orange line at Lionel-Groulx, you might feel like you’ve stepped through a wardrobe.

Arriving at the station, take in the classic red-brown tiling as you make your way to the main attraction: a floating honeycomb of metal beams forged together as some sort of artistic deathtrap. Branded ʻLe Systèmeʼ by its sculptor, Montrealer Pierre Granche, this geometric wonder entices you up and out of the station.

Bam! Into the light of day. The streets of Namur offer much to admire. In the distance, the haze of a huge red sphere also catches the eye – what might it be? First and foremost though, food must be found – cheaply, as the student in you demands.

Gravitating toward a Harvey’s, make note of the resto-bar a few feet away. It’s cleverly called Pub Paré, and not-so-cleverly uses its restaurant as a front for a racier operation. Sexe d’Or Danseuses, a large neon sign proclaims overhead.

Namur is centred in a suburban layaway, but looking beyond the area’s diner joints offers a glimpse of treasures, like the department-store-sized Fabricville and Ruby Foo’s Hôtel – an upscale, Japanese-inspired block of modern apartment-style rooms.

Here’s where you make a choice: do you take a gamble and venture further into suburbia, or head for the middle-of-the-intersection bonanza? Wandering toward the road brings you closer to the strange red sphere on the horizon, as well as a gigantic McDonald’s play area. Turning right at Ruby Foo’s onto Rue Paré leads you to what looks like an everyday street. But it’s not – and that’s because Pushap is there.

Nestled deep in the suburban wilds of Namur metro territory, Indian vegetarian restaurant Pushap seems like a questionable eatery at first glance. Upon entering, though, a colourful display of Indian sweets, an abundance of patrons, and some tasty scents provide ample reason to stay.

Fake flowers stand in semi-clean vases and chipped tables are full of a mixed clientele who masticate as cheery Indian music plays on the stereo. Scents of curry, and fried deliciousness, waft by tantalizingly. The service is abominably slow, but the menu presents economically viable options for even the tightest budget. When the food arrives, the portions are good and the taste is even better.

Weaving toward the mysterious red orb once seen from afar, you find yourself again at an odd crossroads. Sixties music blares from a speaker just in front of the giant red ball that hides an old-fashioned diner within. This restaurant – the Gibeau Orange Julep – serves a unique drink of orange juice and vanilla ice cream. Step the other way, modernity shines brightly in the glass windows of an enormous McDonald’s. Whether you’re lovin’ it or not, take comfort in knowing that the safe haven of the Namur metro is close at hand.