Daily Archives: July 1, 2007

Canada Day, Ikea, Movies & TV

today is Canada Day. everyone is wearing their red and white (no blue here) and there are many gatherings and goings on around town. i get the buffalo, new york news and they’re, of course, getting ready for july 4th. so i hear “celebrate independence day” and “celebrate canada day” the next second and i’m experiencing a bit of vertigo because of it. where am i?

i went to the movies for the first time since i’ve been here. i’m a big movie buff so i was excited to see how they do it here. guess how much a movie is in toronto? $11.95!!! yes, that’s right…eleven dollars and ninety-five cents. i almost fell over.! i saw “knocked up” which is hilarious! and, they make several references to canada in the movie so it was fun to be with the canadians watching it. they’re so polite about it…they just quietly giggle. it was literally the quietest movie i’ve been to in years….oh, how i love it here!

i made a second trip to ikea to pick up a couple of things (they have 4 here, btw, versus 1 in houston). when i was checking out, i noticed a sign that said all credit cards have to be signed on the back. i personally don’t sign the backs of my cards in hopes that the person checking me out will actually ask to see ID in the event of theft. evidently, that same logic does not hold true in canada. it was saturday and the ikea sale. needless to say, it was packed. i think i was actually almost run over by the vw car with the stacks of luggage on top. but i digress. the cashier checked me out and after he had already swiped my card and after i had signed the receipt and start walking away, he literally starts yelling at me that they can’t accept my payment since my card isn’t signed. he really got spun up about it as if i was some kind of escaped convict trying to steal a spatula and dishtowel. i pulled out my temporary drivers license with my name on it along with 2 other credit cards with my name on it that are signed and tried to explain to him that in the States, we have theft and so don’t sign the cards. it didn’t matter. the man actually pulled out his manual to show me that Visa/Mastercard don’t allow purchases with cards that aren’t signed. there were literally 20 people in line, all glaring at the stupid american. the manager, of course, was eventually called over, who refunded every item i bought and RERUNG everything using a different card. new experiences every day.

last thing – TV. canadian television does not censor like the US does. really, no other country censors like we do, and one could argue that censorship actually incites people to crave what they can’t have. well, i’ll argue that anyway. in canada, they don’t bleep out the curse words on the sopranos, nor do they grey out nudity, etc., etc. it’s full on here. interesting. just so you know.

New Word of the Day: Humidex http://www.qc.ec.gc.ca/Meteo/Documentation/Humidex_e.html

Coming this week – the Toronto Fringe Festival (http://www.fringetoronto.com/)

New Restaurant Tried = Cafe Crepe (Nutella crepes…yummmm!)

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The Adventures Continue…

hi everybody! so much to catch up on since i wrote last. i’ve been settling in to my new home, neighborhood and most importantly, job very nicely. my car and personal effects finally arrived (yay for candles!) in toronto on friday so i’m finally starting to feel like i’ll actually be here for a while rather than feeling like i’m in on an extended vacation. i’m living in the entertainment district (as i mentioned before) and here’s where i’m living while i’m here so you can check out the area (http://www.tridel.com/element/). i also cleared all of my items through canadian customs with no problems. when i walked up to the counter, the man said “where are you coming from with that accent?” and i said “accent? what accent?” i never thought i had much of one, but i evidently stick out like a sore thumb here!

the newness of being here has worn off just a bit. there really aren’t many things familiar here so it’s a constant state of “not knowing what’s where”. they just opened a Forever 21 in Toronto and for those of you guys who don’t know what that is, they knock off current runway looks in a very inexpensive way (it’s cheap, in other words!). it was bustling and i picked up a couple of cute things. the toronto transit commission (http://www.ttc.ca/) was demo’ing their “next generation” streetcars but i must say that they look exactly like the light rail trains already in use in houston, so one up for the bayou city! on my way back from shopping, i stopped to listen to some jazz being played near city hall. one of the 2 jazz festivals that happen in toronto is going on this week so i picked up a hot dog from a street vendor (they’re actually REALLY good and fresh here) along with a fresh squeezed lemonade and listened to some jazz. it was fantastic.(http://www.torontojazz.com/Pages/Toronto_Downtown_Jazz_Festival_pgM29.asp)

i haven’t eaten out here nearly as much as i did in houston, primarily because i don’t know what’s good and what isn’t. there are so many places to choose from here that it’s difficult to narrow down. somewhere that looks like a hole in the wall could be the best place in toronto! not to mention, it’s very expensive to eat out here because of all the taxes that are added onto everything. after a little research, i found a few local places, though, and headed out. i was in the mood for roti (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roti) which i fell in love with the last time i was here. there is such a large indian population here (next largest outside of india) that there is something with indian flavoring on almost every menu you see. i ate at gandhi roti which was really, really good. i got the chicken jalfoorezi and when they asked me if i wanted mine mild, medium or spicy, i opted for the medium, thinking that my texas upbringing had prepared me for all things spicy. UH UH!! not here. my mouth was on fire in about 2 seconds, but i pressed on due to the major hunger pangs that were poking my insides and took the rest to go. gandhi is a definite must when you’re in town. (http://chriswalsh.vox.com/library/post/gandhi-cuisine-the-best-roti-in-toronto.html) on my way back home, i heard hooting and hollering coming up behind me. a few cyclists passed me, and then some more, and more, and when i turned around, there were hundreds of people on bicycles riding down queen street! i don’t mean cyclists like lance armstrong…i mean just regular guys and girls on their schwinn’s riding through the streets. they were promoting the bicycle film festival coming up later this year. one guy was on a 2 story bike that was made up of about 6 bikes on top of one another. when a red light came up, he had to lean against a light pole so as not to fall on the pavement. it was a really cool sight. (http://www.bicyclefilmfestival.com/).

one other cool place i visited was pages bookstore. it’s a small, locally owned bookstore which are sadly, slowly dying out, but it’s an amazing store on queen street and you should definitely pay it a visit and SUPPORT the store when you’re in toronto. (http://pagesbooks.ca/)

good news for those of you spending nights worrying about this – i finally found a place to get my nails done. if you know me, you know this is a vital part of my beauty regimen and i’ve gone without since before i left houston. the place i found was modeled after the beauty bars that sprouted up in new york in the last few years and it’s a really neat concept called polish beauty bar. (http://www.polishbeautybar.com/) oddly (!), they immediately asked me “where are you from” and get this – when i said texas, the store manager asked what part…when i said houston, she said “my sister lives in houston, well, right outside houston in sugar land…she moved from calgary to houston 3 years ago”….can you just believe it?! it’s a tiny, tiny world out there. i lunched at the only repeat place i’ve been to in toronto and i think is my favorite little lunch spot i’ve ever been to. it’s called the red tea box and it’s like taking a trip to the mad hatter’s house. it’s fantastic and if you come to toronto and hit no other places, you HAVE to eat here. it’s amazing. they have the best iced tea on the planet and the fondant pastries are TO DIE FOR! (http://www.torontolife.com/guide/food/coffee-tea/the-red-tea-box/). i visited the clint roenisch gallery which i believe is one of the more eclectic galleries in toronto on west queen west. (http://www.clintroenisch.com/). way cool.

overall, having a fabulous time here. the highs are still in the low 70’s and i don’t know if i’ll ever be able to live on the face of the sun (HOUSTON!) again.

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