Thursday, August 31, 2017

RTW #8 Canada

Late arrival
Perhaps it was not the best idea to take the bus from New York to Toronto. But still, I can't be bothered getting visa for just two days stay in Canada. I learnt that entering by land doesn't require any kind of permit. Anyway, blame it on the late departure of Greyhound from Buffalo, half an hour wait in Niagara Falls plus the rush hour traffic. I arrived a little late past eight in the evening.

I met with my cousin's best mate from uni, Ralph. I asked if we could eat in any modern Canadian cuisine so we went to XXX. It was really nice. But a bit expensive. Come to think of it, we are in Canada and perhaps I should adjust my expectations. But still for $50 meal, I reckon it was expensive.

We had a nice chat. Tried to look for common things that we know about my cousin, Fatima. We did realise that she's weird but fun! There is something in me that thinks he is not as warm as I expected him to be. But all that changed after he went to all the trouble going to my booked Airbnb and carrying my bag too.

Unusual Airbnb
I arrived rather unexpectedly in the apartment surprised that everyone was outside the premises. There are firemen everywhere but we were told it was a false alarm. The keys were properly placed in the fire exit water hose and I find it easy to checkin. There were heaps of instructions from my host, Daryl. I never met him but it seems he is everywhere in the apartment. So many rules like you cant eat in the room, no walking barefeet, don't touch the kitchen, and dont get me started on the toilet rules.

Anyway in all honesty i found him to be rather rude. Or maybe because something happened to him before. Later I realise he is deaf that maybe is the reason that he was taken advantage of. But respect the rules and you're good to go. When in Rome... as they say.

Halloween in Toronto
I went for a night stroll in Toronto. Desperately following the yellow brick road leading to the overrated Toronto CN Tower. And I did. Later realising that I am dead tired. I just needed to have my grocery samples. Something maple. Some fruity chocolates. And that's it. However, to my horror there were so many homeless people. Shouting. Very scary. Suspicious looking people really. I felt like they are zombies because its too dark in the streets. And I've never felt scared in my life. I walked briskly and slept like a log knowing I survived the horror.

Air Canada 77W in C
My salvation in Canada is being pampered in business class in Boeing 777-300ER of Air Canada. I just love Star Alliance. It definitely exceeded my expectation. It is the best North American airlines in the alliance. Of course, United is the other one so every other airline would be the best!

I had a very nice waffle in cranberry-apple compote drizzled with maple syrup and sausages. I really like it. I slept for a bit. Between Toronto to Vancouver was like 4-5 hours from recollection. It's like Sydney to Perth. Then my arrival to Vancouver was all good. I deposited my bags in left luggage and I was good to go.

Sunny Vancouver
Vancouver greeted me with a warm sun. It was just nice weather all throughout my stay. Partner it with scenic mountainous view. Nice breeze from the ocean. Splash of the waves from distant shores. Boats and Yachts sailing across a perfect day. And my taste of Pacific Salmon and chips for lunch. It was just perfect. I realise then that I can definitely live here.

Wings, Footy & a mate
When I got tired of walking and I can see that my complexion started to darken. Damn, I forgot to put on sunblock. I stopped by Starbucks to re-hydrate, charge my phone and I meet Hendrick, the Filo barista. He was really friendly and we talked about the struggles of staying overseas. The tricks you learn being in a foreign land. And eventually fitting in to the culture that is so western. We went for beer and free wings while watching footy Argentina vs Portugal. So many South Americans watching and they are quite passionate.

Hendrick went with me to take photos of the quay near Science World. Relaxed and talked more about life, rebellion and its resolution. He is now a changed man and wants to do better. Study and work and save. Aren't we all, at some point? Oh well, he is a kid maturing to be a man imho.

I rushed to the other side towards Sunset beach. I walked briskly. And I did catch it. It was so beautiful. At night time I went to the marina and enjoy the view even better.

I went back to my Airbnb and slept good. By the way, my host is from Iraq. His name is Simon and he owns a lot of birds.... they live inside the house. Go figure!

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