Pubs, lakes and balls

Trip Start Aug 17, 2007
Trip End Oct 27, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday evening at the hostel is marked with a pub-crawl, although as any true Brit knows:
3 pubs does not a crawl make!

Saying that it was a great way to meet more of the people from the hostel, and it was a good laugh.  It has also resulted in my adding to my plans which I have decided to write in pencil from now on.

Shazz from Sydney, Australia is heading up to Ottawa for a couple of weeks and since I was uming a ahing about weather to go there or not (my previous visit was a total time of 2 hours and 15 minutes, something about hotels wanting credit cards for a deposit and me and Robo not having one), we've agreed to meet up there and go wildlife hunting.  We did a wander out to the Toronto islands which is where I discovered some things about Aussie winters, 19 degrees C is considered cold and I am a freak because I was wearing shorts and t-shirt in 20 degrees C and not bothered (although this has been refuted by another Aussie).  The upshot is I am now also down to visit Australia, a country I had no intention of visiting due to my intense dislike of hot weather (anything above 23 degrees C), but from what I have been told by this Aussie ambassador about the BBQ's and attitude to it all, I am determined to go see.

Jim and Justin are going to show me around Edmonton, Alberta which was on my planned rail route through to Vancouver.  Good blokes (although I did have to persuade them against the idea of a pitcher of Guinness to share round and do it by pints - you'd loose the head otherwise) and I'm looking forward to getting out to that leg of the journey.  It's hard to believe that I haven't been here a full week yet let alone how long there is still to go.

The trip to the islands on Monday was an eye opener in that when you reach the beech facing out to the lake you can't believe that it is a lake, let alone the smallest of the 5 lakes.  The waves crashing on to the beech and rocks were far more impressive than several beeches in the UK I've seen.

Monday evening was to be spent at a baseball game because a group of us had never been, but that comes later because in order to do it properly we decided to get in a proper frame of mind, pickled.  We went to the Steam Whistle Brewery which is overlooked by the CN tower, mind you the CN tower overlooks everything in Toronto so that is not saying much.  Since I had been there before I had a bit of a head start on the others in what to expect and the free samples that you receive before you start.  The tours run every hour from 1pm with the last at 5pm and take just under an hour, I would advise people to arrive early for the tour (more time for samples) and also to do one of the ones earlier in the day because they shut at 6pm and if you take the 5pm tour there is less time for the samples afterwards.  It is worth visiting and the beer is very nice, which is a lot coming from a hardened Guinness drinker like myself.

The tickets for the game were purchased and a party was gathered together.  Due to a few delays in getting to the stadium we missed the first inning, where Oakland went up by 2:1.  By the time we were seated we only just caught the Oakland move ahead by another 4 points.  After that the main source of entertainment for this event became apparent - namely everything but the game. 

The group of guys who were determined to get everyone on the tier taking part in a Mexican wave and booing anyone who doesn't.  

The chili race where three men dressed and chilli's racing between 2 of the innings - red won cause yellow and green were too busy fighting.  

The 7th inning stretch in which the crowd, encouraged by a group of 20-something cheerleaders (who can only be that cheerful through the use of something highly illegal), to get up and stretch - the fact that 80% of the audience do so is most worrying thing. 

The crazy guy sat in front who maintained a personal running commentary and the throwing of the most inoffensive insults I have ever heard.  Some insults were so long the batter had finished before he had and others were plain cryptic "Stop hitting like a 189!"?

A member of staff came up to our section tier and tried to rally the troops "When I say Rios (the batter) you say hit! Rios"
"Hit!" cry the crowd.
"Hit! Hit! Hit!" And so on for the next batter.
She was so enthusiastic I got the feeling she may be the mum to one of the players.  But the results spoke themselves - they all got caught out.  At least they hit the balls but maybe we should have been more specific like "Hit - a home-run!".

And lest we forget the mighty Jumbo-tron TV screen which showed every member of the crowd at some point in the evening but especially when they were showing their 'Happy Dance' or any other dance for that matter, it was like seeing your Mum and Dad at a wedding.  Adverts were shown as well as vital information about the team.  For example number 17, Lyle Overbay, related the tale of when he was asked to give up his previous shirt number (35) to another team member, and how he sat at home trying to think of what number to have next and there on the mantelpiece was a 17.  You are hard person not to be touched by that poignant tale of introspection and a fool not to realize how this effects the team (if you know or care please tell me).

We were multinational group Me and Andrew - British, Martin - German, Yurik - Swiss and Massa - Japanese.  But we evidently had a connection that crossed the cultural boundaries, namely we were all masochistic enough to stay to the end of the game.  Five innings went by with no score with the only true entertainment as above.  The game picked up in the final 2 innings where the Blue Jays made a valiant attempt to catch up in the eighth which left them only lagging by 2 points as they came into the bottom of the ninth (as they love to say in the movies) but unlike the movies victory was not to be.

At least I can say I have been to a game, maybe we weren't pickled enough and that's why we didn't get it.  I hope the Hockey is more entertaining.
Slideshow Report as Spam


robo on

G'day dude, still can't believe that you fell into being an extra in a film so quickly. I take it that this travel blog is a cult website too which means your 2 down and 8 to go. I'll have to have a rethink in the future and make them a bit harder (40 things to do before your 40)??
Glad your having a good time, told you that baseball games are boring but the entertainment between inning is not to be missed. Was dancing Homer there?
Jo asked about you at the pub, she was the only one :-( think everyone else has forgotten you (or the sweets) ha ha.
Can you put photos on this??
See you soon.

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