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14 May 2011 @ 11:06 am
Footnotes: North America 2011 - Toronto, May 11-13.  
Haven't been able to sign on for the past two days because we were on the move and such. Taking some time out to write this before my parents pretty much kick my bro and I out the door again.

Sore throat was gone by the time we had to fly to Toronto, but it was replaced by this allergy-cold sort of thing that I must've gotten from staying in our room - it was apparently pretty dusty in there. If you think about it, that put me between a rock and a hard place: staying inside rooms meant suitable warmth but a lot of dust, and staying outside meant good, fresh air but cold conditions. We were already heading out, though, and the only thing that I could possibly be concerned about was if my 'cold' was going to make landing and taking off hellish.

Our old maid picked us up and brought us to the airport, where we proceeded to go through the simplest check in and registration process that I have ever had to go through. Dad was amazed at how everything was so smooth, and how most of the proecess was automated. I told him that since we're used to crushing ineffeciency, we forget how most people actually expect things to work out versus expecting things to go horribly wrong. We then met up with our other old maid and her husband at the White Spot for brunch. It was really, really nice, hanging out with them and actually seeing the kind of people they are - I was very young the last time I was in close contact with them, and you know how that sort of thing goes. It's touching how much gratitude and respect they still have for my parents: they really feel as though they wouldn't have had anything of value if my folks hadn't brought them to Canada with us back then. From the stories I have heard from them and my folks, this might just be true.

The last check right before hitting the boarding area was a bit hassling for everyone except me: Dad got tagged for bringing in the food that our maids prepared for us (some of it had gravy), and my bro and my mother were randomly tagged for a full body scan. The plane ride itself was also the most turbulent flight that any of us have been on in a long while, aaaand they didn't feed us or provide free earphones for their in-flight entertainment systems (thank god for my headphones). Beyond that, though, all was well - I finally watched Toy Story 3 (nice way of finishing the series, imho), and since my folks were seated beside me, I got to watch them watching a movie together, which was super cute since they were leaning against each other and holding hands. Still going strong after thirty-seven years, and all.

Landing was super smooth, and my ears didn't feel the shift in air pressure at all in spite of my cold. My brother Phil picked us up with his little girl, and it was an adventure traveling through Toronto airport in order to get to his car. Place is fucking HUGE, let me tell you. It is also apparently thrice more expensive to fly in and out of Toronto than any other place in North America. Maybe even the world, if I was hearing Phil correctly.

Car ride to Phil's place was short and sweet since he and his family live nearby - we're staying at one of the apartment complex's guest suites, which is tiny, hot (since the entire tower's air conditioning system is offline for maintenance) but otherwise very swanky (lol full glass shower stall). We all ventured down to my bro's unit (which is, like, three doors away from our suite) and ate all of the food that our old maids packed for us (Dad admitted that he suddenly didn't regret the hassle of bringing it through the airport). We must've ended by midnight or so, and only because Phil does the graveyard shift and we didn't want to keep him up for too long.

Hands down: my first official day in Toronto was amazing. The subway system looks like something out of the movies (old trains, dingy stations, street performers in the tunnels, bustling crowds, strange people lurking around), and the city itself just has character, from the people wandering the sidewalks right down to the buildings themselves. It's been a long time since I've been in a city this huge at an age where I can really pay attention to the details, and believe me: I was looking every which way to try and catch as much of it as possible. We walkd down a bit of Yonge Street to get to the square on purpose so that we could get a good look of the place. I now understand the appeal of window shopping - the stores were all so different, and given the fact that I'm in the Philippines, it was pretty awesome, seeing adult sex shops, video rentals, fortune telling shops and kink stores spilling from every corner. The crowds themselves were a treat too; we even met crazy people on the way. My parents weren't too thrilled, but my bro and I found it cool.

We decided to take this city bus tour that does the entire route through the central area and lets you get off wherever you please. In spite of the fact that it was cold and slightly rainy, my bro and I stayed on the top deck of the bus the entire way to get a really good look of the place. It was totally worth it, because if the buildings weren't awesome, the pieces of art that they have scattered around were in their place. It was at that moment that I fell in love with Toronto, and I think that if I ever had to move back to Canada, it'd have to be here. There's just so much happening; it makes perfect sense now, how writers seem to love the place.

All four of us were freezing, tired but happy by the time we got off the bus. Stopped by McDonald's for a bit of food and to catch our breath, then we headed down into the Path, which is apparently the largest underground shopping mall in the world. All of the people who should've been up in the streets were down there instead, since it was bright and warm. We didn't walk around too much, though, since we had to head back to the station near my bro's place to meet up with him and his family. They drove us through Missisaga, the area that they used to stay in before moving to Sherway. Totally enjoyed the quick stopover we had by the lake in his old neighborhood: there were swans (they're bigger than my niece, holy shit), mallard ducks and Canadian geese!

Ate dinner at this lovely Vietnamese place with wonderful food and huge servings - we all just sat around and talked again, which is the best part about staying close to family. Got home late, of course, but I managed to stay around with my bro for a bit to hook up the internet on this thing and just catch up.

Little bro dutifully informed my parents and I, first thing this morning, that all three of us were snoring now. I apparently do that when I'm sick or really tired, ahaha. Now we're off to breakfast with Phil's wife and kid before heading out for the day.

The original plan was to go for the museum since the weather was supposed to take a turn for the worse, but when noon hit and there was no sign of that so-called thunderstorm, we took a chance and zipped down to the Toronto Zoo.

Most.

Kick ass.

Place.

EVER.

(Pics will follow eventually.)

My new favorite animal is the snow leopard.

Now that that is out of the way, let me babble briefly about the GPS that Phil lent to my dad. It's incredibly smart and can be programmed to calculate routes that best suit your driving style and speaks in this interesting, low female voice.

I want to name it after that computer system in Eden of the East. Yes, I am a dork.

We met up with Rob (my white brother) and his wife Regina for dinner after we finished walking the entire length of the Toronto Zoo (my legs still hurt like a bitch, by the way). We ate at this lovely Chinese place, and I am one to believe that the food really was excellent and it wasn't just me and my little bro starving after walking everywhere on a light breakfast and no lunch. We also got to meet up with this guy who has apparently become one of Philip's good friends while he's been staying here. A bonafide Chinese genius who calls himself 'yellow and geeky'. He appears to live up to this title well.

Peter wanted to stay up to watch stuff for a bit, and I took so long settling in and checking online accounts that out of desperation, he actually clamped down unto my shoulder and whined unto I turned on the next episode of Supernatural. Oh, family.
 
 
Current Location: our room @ Sherway Gardens.
Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: White noise at Sherway Gardens.
 
 
 
sabriel: But I love you!_sabriel on May 14th, 2011 03:14 pm (UTC)
You make me want to move back to Toronto.. ;_;

And I'm slightly ashamed I've never visited Toronto Zoo in the 10 years I lived there.
do not feed the animals: pretteh.izkariote on May 15th, 2011 07:41 pm (UTC)
My family's seriously considering migrating here, actually! If they don't, I have a feeling I'll end up back here or near the area, one way or another. If you move back, we can meet~~~

IF YOU COME BACK, YOU MUST.
Timespritenique on May 14th, 2011 03:23 pm (UTC)
Ahha. Most of my memory of Toronto is about how it was filled with sex shops and comic book stores.

I'm not sure where that rain vanished to... it never hit us, so I'm not surprised it failed to roll in on you guys either. Of course, it's raining now, so...

This makes me want to go back and visit again, though. Last time I was there, I spent too much time hanging out in pubs. Not enough time spent on real tourist things. That, and it's been... 11 years now, almost exactly.
do not feed the animalsizkariote on May 15th, 2011 07:43 pm (UTC)
It certainly seems to be! I always spot at least one sex shop every time we hit down town. XD

The rain did come around now - it's what is keeping us indoors!

SOMEDAY, LET US MEET IN TORONTO.
Takako: uru - ehehe! ;;rainy_takako on May 14th, 2011 11:49 pm (UTC)
The Zoo sounds awesome, I hope you took pics!!

ALSO YAY URU ICON FFFFF. That one is so adorableeee.
do not feed the animals: mew.izkariote on May 15th, 2011 07:44 pm (UTC)
My brother did! I'll upload them as soon as we're back. ♥
argentum_luna: cubone!argentum_luna on May 16th, 2011 01:59 am (UTC)
Sounds like you had an amazing time *____*
do not feed the animals: heartses.izkariote on May 18th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)
I'm still having fun now!