So I flew into Billy Bishop Airport, got through customs and emerged to a waiting room for the ferry to Toronto (the airport is on an island) in which an a capella group serenaded us with happy tunes and handed out free passes. So far: all Canada expectations being met. I got onto the ferry and gleefully eyed the bald old guy with twinkling blue eyes wishing everyone a hearty good morning. All Canadian expectations still being met.
And then… I got to Union Station. If you are a Toronto native or familiar with the area, you will know that Union Station is currently under construction. It is dirty, poorly signed and hard to get around, particularly with a 20kg bag in tow. I also arrived as a Blue Jays game was starting, and had to wade through hoardes of sports fans in blue shirts. I asked for directions on multiple occasions, and had to work pretty hard not to admonish people that they were explaining things VERY POORLY.
Canada: not exactly what I expected.
But here’s the thing: it really grew on me, not unlike mould or a mushroom. It’s expensive, the subway drivers all seem to play Passenger Skittles (they brake far too damn hard) and the water, when not refrigerated, tastes like mud… but it’s really multicultural, the food is excellent and the weather (for the nine days we were here) was perfect.
There are a lot of douchebags here. I was completely shocked on a long bus journey when a guy got on and proceeded to yak away at full volume in the otherwise silent bus… and then another two people got on and did the same. (Dear Massive-Asshat-Who-Sat-In-Front-Of-Me-And-Spoke-For-Like-An-Hour: You ignorant twerp, your Russian girlfriend is obviously having you on. I’m fairly certain “parlez-vous what should I do?” does NOT mean “I’ll find the vodka” in Russian. Of course as you pointed out, she was born in Kazakhstan, which I must reluctantly inform you WAS in fact part of “Soviet Russia”, but is no longer, largely on account of Soviet Russia no longer existing. Also well done on getting 91% on that one test that one time – from my overall impression of you that must have been one of the highlights of a short and blissfully ignorant life. Also: YOU LEFT YOUR STARBUCKS CUP ON THE BUS.)
But I dunno, the presence of rude, ignorant people here was kind of refreshing. As a foreigner in Japan it’s kind of easy to get caught up in the idea that Japanese people exercise a special brand of willful ignorance and general lack of cosmopolitanism… but they don’t. I feel oddly relieved about this.
Highlights of the trip included some really good times visiting with friends and family, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and the Niagara Falls. The latter was kinda tacky and touristy but in a really fun way – I had a really good time!
I’m about to fly back to New York and I’ll blog more about Toronto later, but I will say I’m going to miss it quite a bit I think. Laters, Toronts.