Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Thanks, Toronto: Part 1

About two years ago, Eddie and I got our passports--renewed mine and got him one. Then they sat collecting dust. After flying to Hawaii direct from NY and Eddie almost giving up on life midflight, we decided to keep our vacation closeby this year. How about a flight that's a little over an hour? And we get to use our passports? Toronto! Hello!

The entire world told us to arrive at the airport even earlier than the airlines said; otherwise we'd miss our flight for sure. That's how we wound up heading to JFK at 4:30 AM. We were whisked through security and had hours to kill. I'm pretty sure if we'd arrived later, we would have stood on a longer line, but not by much. Still, I'm happy we didn't have to panic about missing it.
Fun Fact: Some gates are accessible via Delta Jitney. Eddie and I took a bus across the airport to our gate. Then we scrounged around to find food, which we could not find anywhere. Until after buying a bag of almonds and a bag of M&Ms and calling it breakfast. We found an escalator and at the top, seemingly miles of food choices stretched out before us. I got a yogurt! It had pretzels in it! He got a bagel. Then we went to our gate. Then we hopped on a plane. Then almost as quickly, we hopped off the plane.

We were international!

We went through customs pretty quickly, stating our reason for being there (sightseeing) and what special thing we had lined up (a baseball game). I did not tell her that the main reason we came to Canada was to have our passports stamped. She stamped a whole lot of things. She did not stamp our passports. Eddie was let down, and I was determined to get it stamped for him until we decided not to create an international incident. I told him we'd put the card they stamped into his passport. Then they took away the card. I don't really understand the system of getting a card, getting it stamped, and then giving it away to someone else down the hall. Can't all that happen at once? Anyway, stampless, we found a limo taxi thingie outside and got to our hotel. We paid in American cash. The driver was very happy as Eddie told him we didn't need change.

Our room was not ready, so we headed out to find all the things I wanted to find. The first thing was the Toronto sign. It's kinda like the Hollywood sign, only accessible. I wanted to see it during the day and at night because it lights up. We walked and walked, wearing jeans and realizing the day was heating up quickly. I rolled up my pants. It was quite a look.

We turned a corner and boom bam! There it was in Nathan Phillips Square. I did what any normal adult would do. I jumped around and did a little dance as we approached it. We took pictures from every angle.
It's like I'm holding two little men in my hand.
That building is city hall, I think. I don't know who this man is.
Fun fact: There are squares on the ground that show you where to stand to take the best pictures. I love Canada!

On our way out of the park, we ran into one of Toronto's finest homeless men. It's unfortunate that there is a pretty noticeable homeless population there. Eddie kept saying, This is just like New York City. It was very similar except for the French signs. This homeless man told us he didn't care that we were tourists. We quickly walked in the other direction.
We were right about here when we decided to break for it.
Then I decided we could go to Graffiti Alley because it was a walk away and we had time to kill. The walk turned out to be something of an Olympic Walking Event. In our jeans under the sun, we went for blocks and blocks. We sat down at one point. I was:

A. Sweating
B. Not sweating

I'm not even telling you the answer because it's so obvious. If it's not obvious to you, for shame!

Along the way, we found some cool stuff.
Guess why Eddie asked me to take this picture.
Then across the street, I saw a wall of graffiti. That had to be it! Plus, if it wasn't, we were just gonna say it was because it was the only graffiti we'd seen for miles and hours. It turned out to be it, and it was magnificent. We ran into a tour that was looking at the artwork, and we kept running into them as we tried to stay away. We overheard the guide point out, "Here's another example of an idiot tagging over artwork." Seems like anything he explained we could figure out on our own.
Brooklyn finds us everywhere.
This was a favorite. That leg is someone on the tour.
I'm the coolest.
Pretty sure this is Skeletor.
See? Brooklyn. And that guy in the green shirt.
I tried to make him go into the closet-like thingie. He refused.
We decided to get lunch. I had written down some restaurants, having read their menus online to ensure we could both eat something (like he eats burgers and I eat salads). After walking fullway back across downtown Toronto and possibly beyond, going to the wrong address once and stopping inside a shopping mall to cool off, we found Fran's Restaurant. Eddie spotted it at the end of a block we turned on. I turned the other way and saw that we were right next to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Well, at least we'd be able to find it with ease the next day.
Outside the courthouse, representing the jury. "Imagine yourself as one of them."
Sidewalk fee scale for wishes
A map in case you're lost and don't want to figure out where you're going.

I'm so literary.
Eating was good. Sitting was good. Usually, when we go out to eat, we spend maybe a half hour tops at the restaurant unless the server is slow. Restaurants love us. Here, we sat. We talked. We stared at each other, tired and gross. The server was attentive, but the place was crowded, and we heard her say that the kitchen was backed up, so we were there a long time. It felt wonderful to relax.
I was actually reading the menu and not posing, so this is my menu-reading face.

We ate everything. Then I was like, We are getting dessert. I don't know what came over me. Maybe I thought since I'd walked the length of the border, I had some calories to spare. Since May 1, I had been doing an Almost Whole 30--no added sugar, no grains, no legumes, no alcohol (which I haven't had anyway for like over a year). I call it Almost because there was some carrageenan and some dairy thrown in there, but overall, I was getting into shape. Eddie hadn't had soda or dessert since May 1 either. Once we had the M&Ms for breakfast that morning, it was as if Canada was our food heaven. So he got a milkshake and I got lemon meringue pie. And it was good.
Seemed to have no added extra sugar. He liked it that way.

Then we sat and stared some more at each other in food comas. The server came over with a nifty machine that takes credit cards at the table. It asked me about a tip, so I handed it to Eddie who found you could simply choose By Percent so no math had to be completed, and then she gave us a receipt and we were off. We walked to the hotel. They had a room. It was after 2, so I figured they  might.
As if you've never seen a hotel room before.
Pretty art. I wanted it. It's glued to the wall. So no.

WE COULD SEE THE TORONTO SIGN FROM THE ROOM! I didn't freak out too much. Except I did.
This is their version of a bolt lock.
 We crashed so hard, but not for long. This gal had PLANS! We found Dundas & Younge Square (or it might be Younge & Dundas). We stayed for a while listening to the live music. Then we went underground to the PATH, a sub terrain city of stores and such.
Eddie trying to cause an international incident. Waited for the Toronto fans to move away. Took it quickly and ran.
Then we got a cab to take us to the CN Tower. As we pulled up, we saw train cars across the street. Eddie was like, I know you want to see the trains before we get to the tower. Yes, yes I do. The cabbie was over-the-moon when Eddie paid him and said we didn't need any change.

The trains spread out across a pretty large area. We didn't read a whole lot about them but we did look at them and climbed aboard the ones we were allowed to go on because I didn't want to get Canadian arrested for trespassing on an immobile train.

Then we headed to the CN Tower. The CN Tower became the Toronto version of the DC Washington Monument in that we took pictures of it and then took more pictures of it and then took what seemed to be the same pictures of it again.
CN Tower Adjacent
We don't look tired at all.
We waited in a line. We then were told to go wait in a different line. So we did that. Then we had to get on another line. Then we waited for about a half an hour until we got into an elevator that let us out on the observation deck.

I've been to Top Of The Rock, and that elevator is much more exciting. It plays a film on its ceiling and there's music. Here, there were a bunch of people smushed into an elevator. We did learn facts, though. Like the ride takes about a minute (I think I'm wrong. She told us how long it was, and I don't remember that fact).

The deck was packed with people, but there were enough large windows to see everything. We weren't sure what level we were on at first. We knew we could go up one more level to the Sky Pod that sits on top of the concrete. The only thing we weren't doing was walking outside along its ledge. We figured out that there was another line for another elevator to go up. For as great as Toronto was, they need to invest in signage at their tourist attractions.
The Sky Pod offered more to see. We were really high up there. The sun was setting. Perfect.
Rule Breaker. Just this one.

We waited for an elevator to take us down to the glass floor level. It's a level that has a glass floor that you can stand, sit, or lie down on to take a picture. Eddie was like, Lie down. I was like, Someone's going to step on my head if I do. He was like, Just do it. I was like, Okay but watch. So I lied down and then this happened.

And what does Eddie do? He squats.
Another elevator down. Then we looked up and acted as if we'd never seen the CN Tower before.
We took a cab back to Nathan Phillips Square to see the Toronto sign in the dark. We had a special cab.
When Eddie said  he needed no change, the cabbie practically jumped over the seat to hug him.

Seeing the letters all lit up, I did what any normal adult would do. I danced around and ran to them like a 5 year old.
Eddie was hungry so he grabbed some Canadian McDonald's. Intrigued by a small Japanese dessert place that had a long line outside of it all day and into the night, I got a matcha sundae. I still don't know if I liked it.
 We got to our hotel and crashed once more. This time, I had no more plans for us, so we settled in having not created any kind of international incident. In fact, it seemed that Eddie was making lots of taxi driving friends. We pondered the exchange rate, but not for long. Vacation is not the time to do math.

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