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Friday 31 Aug 2007
Toronto, Canada

Aaaaaaaaaaaand we're back!

Ah yes.. I'm back in Toronto.. and thank Allah for it!

Pleasant people everywhere.. but not so irritatingly-friendly that you have to smile inanely at every random stranger. People keep to themselves, but will interact with you nicely if you need assistance. The way a city should be imho.

Great cheap food! Fantastic live music selection! Stunning women everywhere! Cultural-vibe central!

Young and upbeat, fresh and non-judgmental!

Oh.. and if you see a crazy person here.. you can clearly identify them from a mile off since there are so few...

(yesterday I sat at a perpendicular angle to a black woman on the Toronto subway who was nattering away (as I thought) on her mobile phone in Swahili or something like that. I didn't turn my head to look at her. Nevertheless, 10 minutes into the trip I noticed that she was able to keep the conversation going even as we were going deep underground - where a mobile would normally cease to function - then I noticed a few people across from me staring at her in a concerned way. Yep folks, she was nattering away to herself! This went on non-stop for 30 minutes! .... although interesting to note the difference: in Toronto this is so rare that people take notice! In Vancouver, a person wouldn't bat an eyelid at that.)

It's great to be back! After living in Vancouver and Victoria (admittedly the bad side of the tracks in the latter) I can really appreciate Toronto now more than ever. It's so refreshing.

Although it IS rather hot... was about 40C and humid last night.. not too pleasant.. well at least the weather is cooling down a bit.


I took Air Canada on the return trip despite wanting to go Westjet (with whom I had a pleasant westward trip over to Vancouver earlier) but Westjet's prices were well over those offered by Air Canada since I'd left the booking till 4 weeks before the departure date.

Sure enough, the trip wasn't quite as comfortable on the way back, with rather cramped seats and less-than-helpful staff (as opposed to the over-the-top "bubbliness" of the Westjet staff that was borderline stand-up comedy!). One of the hostesses was nice though, and gave me a pillow to rest my broken elbow on.
I sat beside this young bald guy in a business suit who complained about how crap Air Canada was throughout the flight, plus he was very rude to the staff in my opinion. I'm sure that doesn't encourage them to respond with kindness!

They also had engine trouble on the tiny 12-seater plane I was supposed to take from Victoria to Vancouver, which meant we had to change planes (and I lost the seat I had pre-booked at extra cost .. although they later refunded me for that!)

Nevertheless, we got from Vancouver to Toronto in a record time of 3 hours 50 minutes thanks to strong westerlies (which incidentally almost made the plane land on the wing as we touched down!!!)


Back to the current situation:

I'm crashing with my mate, Paul, again for a few days while I sort out where I'm going to live.

I've decided to only look ahead as far as September regarding staying in Toronto since I'm still considering possibly popping home in October, and possibly coming back to Canada after my birthday for snowboard season in Quebec.

This all depends on what the physiotherapist says though.

If he/she says I won't be able to snowboard for the rest of the year then I'll head back permanently in October or November, since there's little else I'll be able to do when it gets cold.

So my sessions with the physiotherapist will begin next week (as a bonus, my travel insurance - AXA, who have been very good to me - have said they will cover me for 8 physio sessions! And at 100 dollars a pop that's great news!)


Back to the accommodation situation: finding a place to rent for one month is tricky in TO. You can occasionally get lucky on craigslist but alas there was little there this week. So I've plummed for one of these "new immigrant guesthouses" located in the cheaper part of town, Scarborough.

It's still relatively close to the subway line, which is my only real requirement, plus the guesthouse I finally chose was in a safe suburban area and is cheap at only 600 dollars a month! That includes cable TV in the room, double bed, fridge, internet.. and shared bathroom/kitchen.

Not bad.. we'll see how it goes when I move in on the 2nd Sept!

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