Trip Start Aug 03, 2010
50Trip End Nov 02, 2010
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Where I stayed
Mai's House (Mick's college friend)
NEXT DESTINATION: Somewhere west of Badlands National Park
The previous night Edgar's parents determined he was no longer "sick" and would return to school the next day. He had to get up at 6:30 am to catch the bus, and it was challenging for us to sleep through Palmira’s increasingly insistent wake up calls. By the time we got out of bed, little Edgar was in the shower, so we figured we’d take advantage of their apartment complex’s pool for our version of an early morning shower. As we slipped out the door with swimsuits in hand, Edgar Sr. asked what we were up to, and then told us he might meet us down at the pool. After a few laps, the pool door opened and in came both Edgars, the smaller of the two with a huge smile on his face—guess our bunk mate was sick yet again
We’re not sure how many days Edgar Jr. gets to school, but we do know his dad loves his son’s company (and he seemed to enjoy having us around as well). Plus given the books we saw him reading, and his mastery of three languages (English, Spanish, and French) it’s clear our new friend isn’t lacking for an education.
We played various games with the little one while his dad spent 30+ minutes blowing up their ridiculously large inflatable Shamu. Shamu was fun at first, but became a bit more of a hazard as the play continued. We showered up and then all headed upstairs. As we were getting our stuff ready, little Edgar asked if we’d play one last Wii game, and we couldn’t refuse. When we were finally on our way out the door, Edgar junior asked when we were coming back, which broke our hearts a little, as we’d miss our new eight-year-old playmate.
For breakfast we went to a small Canadian chain called Cora’s, a much healthier version of Denny’s. Each meal comes with an impressive pile of fresh fruit. Feeling good from breakfast, we made our way to Toronto. The drive was pretty standard, although the sunset we saw from the car was fantastically beautiful…and we laughed real hard when we realized that what we thought was Toronto’s skyline, was actually a small suburb
We drove into downtown, parked where we could, and ran into a Starbucks to use the restroom and internet. Then Mickey’s friend, Mai (our Toronto host), called to invite us to a bar with her grad school buddies. We caught up with Mai and got to know some of her new friends, in addition to enjoying some Toronto brews. Then it was to bed at Mai’s house, which she shared with another five environmentally conscientious individuals in a beautiful Toronto neighborhood. We slept in her housemate’s bed, who was away for the weekend.
Before we went to bed the night before, we all agreed we’d get up by 9am. Alas, we didn’t make it to the kitchen for breakfast until 10:30. Mai served us the most delicious granola and yogurt we’ve had yet (with local honey and organic nuts and dried fruit too). Then we were off to one of Toronto’s most well-know markets. We took the subway into downtown and then strolled a couple blocks to the St. Lawrence Market – a large brick hall with over 120 food and craft vendors. We sampled Canadian bacon, mustard, and maple syrup, and still had room to eat crepes for lunch.
Let us stop here to mention how much we enjoyed spending time with Mai
St. Lawrence left our stomachs very full, so we decided to walk a bit, and check out the Distillery District, now a hip art spot. We enjoyed a few galleries and stores and then found ourselves in a chocolate shop for over an hour. We shared a delicious “Mayan hot chocolate” and continued our inspiring conversations. Mai had to take off to meet her mom (who had arrived from California to spend the weekend with her daughter), so we finally left the chocolate store to explore Toronto a bit more. As we were wandering around downtown, we noticed how tired we both felt. We jokingly said to each other, “Now would be the time for a portable couch and a movie.” Low and behold, what did we come upon? The National Film Board of Canada!
The Film Board occupies a three-story building in downtown, and in addition to holding events, classes, and offices, their bottom floor has about 10 personal film viewing stations. These little wonder-pods are amazing, two comfy seats side-by-side with built in speakers, a touch screen control panel that allows the viewers to select from a bazillion different cool flics, and a decent-sized TV in front of it all for your viewing pleasure
The food at this place made up for everything. The plate we shared was about two feet in diameter, and only cost $14 total. This was Mick’s first Ethiopian food experience, and he liked it.
The air felt really cold when we walked out of the restaurant, so we took the subway back to Mai’s place, and impressed her mom with our rapid subway stair wheelchair ascent/descent drill.
Then to bed, this time on Mai’s futon, as her roommate had returned earlier in the day and needed to reclaim her room. We hit the hay nice and early so that we could be good and rested for our border crossing back into the US the following day.
$24 – Breakfast at Cora
$20 – Dinner at Pub with Mai
$12 – Crepes at St. Lawrence Market
$10 – Mexican hot chocolate and a chocolate bar for the car
$10 – Ethiopian food (so cheap!)