Saturday, August 30, 2014

Toronto - One More Day

One more day remains of my Vacation Canada.  Yes, I have had and am having a wonderful time. 

Yesterday we took the street car to down town Toronto.  I continue to be amazed at what a vibrant and alive city that is Toronto.  The wide diversity of people who live here continues to be a pleasant surprise. Everyone goes about their business and doesn't appear to be caught up in glaring at someone who is different than they are.  And believe me, there are a lot of different people in Toronto.  I can just see some of those Tea Bagger types we have in the states, like that woman who hollered at former U.S. Representative Mike Castle at one of his town hall meetings:  "When are we going to get OUR country back?!"  Of course what she meant was "When are we whites going to get back in control?" A woman like that could never live in a city like Toronto.  She would probably go into a catatonic shock trying to figure out the races of the different people that populate this wonderful, diverse city of Toronto.  

We got off the street car in downtown Toronto.  My host wanted to take me to Eaton Place which is a gigantic underground mall in the center of Toronto.  He prefers the York Dale Mall which is more upscale.  I liked the Eaton Mall and it is perfectly placed, right in downtown Toronto.  However, these days I don't shop at malls. At this time of my life I'm getting rid of things instead of buying new things. But there was the day when I used to come home from the all ladened with packages.  Those days are long gone folks.

However, what I did do while we were at the mall was have lunch at the food court.  The choices of eateries was immense.  So much to choose from. And of course I choose from the one place that took forever to serve me.  We stopped at a fresh veggie type place.  I placed my order (grilled veggie sandwich which we would share, two black bean soups, and about $25 (nothing is cheap in Toronto) and gives me my receipt.  I go around to the side where about four other people are awaiting their order.  Then I wait.  And wait.  The four other people who were waiting for their order have gone.  Four new people replace them.  I'm still waiting.  They get their order and are now replaced with three new people.  Uh . . . . . . I get the attention of the tired, harried and indifferent cook and say "I've been waiting quite some time now.  Is my order ready?" (It was a good 15 minutes I was waiting, closer to 20 minutes).  He gives me a half surprised look and says "Oh, here's your order." I look at it and only see a sandwich.  I asked "Where's my soup?" He puts two large cups of delicious looking lukewarm bean soup on my tray.  I asked "Where's my lemonade?" He points to where plastic cups of lemonade have already been prepared.  I get them and balance all on my tray and look for Pat whose been saving me a seat, wondering what was taking me sooooooo long.

The veggie place where it took me sooooo long to get my food


Pat was annoyed because he was sitting next to a table that had a guy with on of those megaphone voices.  A guy who belongs on the Broadway stage without a microphone.  Man oh man, with the din of noise that was the food court, this guy's voice carried over all.  He sounded like he was talking from the bottom of a well with one of those crowd control electronic megaphones.  Pat suggested we move just to get away from that annoying voice.  Of course the guy talked non stop.  

We moved to a different table and encountered something just as annoying.  Two guys talking about their girl friends.  Talking about the girl friends wasn't bad but ever third of four word out of their mouths was . . . . . . "like".  Oh man, talking about annoying. 

"Yeah, she like went to the party like and didn't like call me back like so I'm like not talking to her until she like calls me first like."

I started to imitate these guys by using "like" in my conversation with Pat but I had to stop because he was getting embarrassed.  

The sandwich and soup (lukewarm, oh, I already said that) wasn't bad but I sure as fire won't go back their again.  This was my first encounter with lackadaisical, indifferent service.

We took the street car home.  I don't remember what we did after that.  I've been having a problem with my eyes (double vision) ever since that one painful ride we took at the Canadian Exhibition two weeks ago.  When I got off that ride my eyes were cross-eyed. I thought it was funny at the time but now I believe I strained an eye (left) muscle.  I'll have to see my eye doctor when I return to the states next week.  I don't think is anything serious but's it always safe to check.  One thing though that is very annoying is seeing double images most of the time now.  If I look to the right I'm alright, it's just when I look to my left.  We take for granted good vision that is lined up but when it goes astray, panic time.  I'm trying not to panic.  

One more day folks and I'm on my way to Buffalo to catch my plane back to uptight Sussex County, Delaware which doesn't have one decent Indian restaurant.  More is the pity. I'll have my last dinner tonight at the Updupi Palace restaurant on Gerrard Avenue in India Town, Toronto Canada.

I don't know what it is but it sure does taste good - dinner last night at Udupi Palace restaurant



I have eaten nothing but vegetarian fare since I've arrived in Canada and I haven't had one instance of acid reflux and I've lost six pounds!  


It's all good folks!  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Canada Adventure Coming to an End

Only two more days folks and my two week adventure in Canada will come to an end.  And what a wonderful time I am having.  

The weather has been absolutely fabulous every day since I arrived on August 15th.  The forecast for tomorrow is in the eighties.  Thank goodness we didn't have those kinds of temperatures while I was here because my host's house doesn't have air conditioning.  

Yesterday we took to the streets of Toronto again.  Each day is an adventure.  Yesterday we made a stop at Starbucks.  Ask me how many Starbucks there are in Toronto.  Go ahead.  How many?  A LOT.  My host drinks a lot of coffee so we make frequent Starbucks rest stops.  Yesterday there was a particularly effective screaming baby in the Starbucks we stopped at.  My eardrums can't take it so I escaped to the sidewalk cafe accommodations. 

We took in an afternoon matinee.  My host suggested the movie "Sin City." 



All I can say about this movie is "Little House on the Prairie" this isn't.  

WOW!

POW! 

SPLAT!

The movie cineplex where we attended the matinee
The cineplexes here in Toronto are gigantic.  And expensive.  To attend "Sin City" yesterday (in 3D) the total cost for me and Pat was $27.00.  Popcorn $7.00, includes butter.

The lobby of the Odean Cineplex

WHAT WAS THAT?
Well folks, just as I'm settling down to a routine: lunch at Aroma Cafe, roam around Toronto in the afternoon, dinner at an Indian restaurant in the evening, and finish the day with two games of Scrabble (which I have yet to win) it's going to be time to bid a fond adieu and return to the culture wars of the U.S., which I didn't miss one bit while I've been away.

Time to wrap this blog posting up and make tracks out the front door for our adventure today.  Pat suggested going on the trolley and see where it takes us.  Sounds good to me.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What You Do When You Run Out of Money on Your Vacation

So folks, what do you do when you run out of money on your vacation?  My host had a suggestion.  He said "Let's visit my childhood playground, it's free."  So here is what the Two Old Guys did yesterday after lunch.  We were a little nervous entering the playground because there were some small children already on the swings but their dad was with them so we threw caution (and self respect) to the wind and got on the swings.  Man oh man, when was the last time I was on a swing?  Oh . . . . . . . about sixty years ago.  But you know what they say, "Once you swing you never forget how to swing" or is that what they say about bicycles?  No matter, we took to the swings in the kitty litter sandbox.  Thank goodness we weren't arrested for making fools out of ourselves. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Street Car Named Desire (in Canada?)



One of the many pleasant surprises I have discovered during my visit to Canada are the street cars of Toronto.  The last time I rode a street car was during a quickie visit to San Francisco in 1974.  Prior to that abortive visit (yet another interesting story that I have yet to share on this blog), I rode street cars during my brief residence in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during the winter of 1963.

I love streetcars.  I clanging sound.  The certainty that they will arrive at their destination without running out of gas.  The frequent stops.  The ever changing cast of characters who get on and get off "the next stop."  What a wonderful way to experience the true soul of a city like Toronto or any large metropolitan city.  I think it is a shame that so many large cities have done away with their street cars and thus lost some of their character.  I hear that Pittsburgh no longer uses street cars.  More's the pity.

By the say, Pat's reference to the board game Scrabble.  We've been playing Scrabble at Pat's house since I arrived.  I haven't played Scrabble since I was knee high to a cockroach grasshopper, when I was ten years old.  Needless to say, Pat's been beating me like a red headed step child every game.  I WILL win at least one game before I leave Toronto.  I'm studying up on my two letter words that don't make sense now.  Plus all the "Q" words that don't need a "U".  Sounds like fun doesn't it?  It is!

Have a great day!


Two Old Geezers on the loose in downtown Toronto - Watch Oout!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Toronto Restaurants - Ali Baba's and Simon's Wok



One recently discovered ethnic food that I have discovered since I left the environs of White Bred Bread World is falafels.  I love falafels!

Here in Toronto there is a chain of restaurants, hole in the walls actually, with the exotic name of Ali Baba's.  Doesn't that name conjure up images of early 1950's MGM movies of harem girls on polished marble floors with colorful see through diaphanous harem pants?

For some reason every time I hear Ali Baba I think of magic carpets and that beautiful English actress Patricia Medina from that long ago forgotten Fifties movie that starred Abbot and Costello.  You know how some people get an earwig from a tune they've heard and can't get out of their minds?  For me certain names evoke images in my mind of Fifties movie stars.  The Fifties was a special time for me, Ron the Movie Fan.  But I digress.

Sunday night I was just dying for an falafel.  Ron, the kid who used to devour the giant hoagie has moved on to Ron, the old guy who now devours giant falafels.  As Pat sat across from me at Ali Babi's with his modest sized falafels, he cast an incredulous look to me and asked "Are you really going to eat that whole thing?"  I responded "Just watch."  It was gone folks, all gone in about fifteen minutes.  Delicious!

Me in front of one of my favorite eateries in Toronto


I'm still on my vegan diet since I arrived in Canada on the 15th.  As expected I've lost weight.  My weight has dropped below 160 lbs to 159 lbs.  That means I've lost six pounds since I crossed the Canadian border from Buffalo New York last week.  

I don't miss the meat folks!  Last night I took Pat's advice and we walked down to a Vietnamese veggie restaurant.  The place was just a hole in the wall (a lot of these local ethnic restaurants seem to be a hole in the wall.  

Right away, upon entering the restaurant I felt out of place.  It was very small but very crowded . . . . . . . with Vietnamese.  There was one other Caucasian couple in the restaurant, seated back in the corner.  We were seated next to a round table of about eight family members who were all eating from a big plate in the middle of their table.  Eating with chopsticks.  Uh oh.  I've never eaten with chopsticks.  So, in addition to feeling like a big white giraffe who has entered a Vietnamese family dinner, I looked in askance at the chopsticks our waitress placed in front of me.

My host in front of Simon's Wok restaurant on Gerrard Avenue in Toronto, Canada

So where are my pictures?  Folks, the place was so small I was embarrassed to take photos and show myself for the ignorant, rude tourist that I really am.  Although I don't think it would made much of a difference if I had taken photos.  Below is a photo I took of the entree that I ordered . . . . . and didn't like.  Eggplant or something or other. Yes, I'm still trying to find a good eggplant dish.  So far the Rehoboth Diner still wins out with their Eggplant Parmesan.

Eggplant Something or Other - I gave it to Pat and ordered Pineapple Something or Other

We have a few more things on our agenda folks during my Canadian Adventure.  My host asked me if I wanted to to the Edge Walk atop the CN tower.  Hmmmmmm . . . . . . . . maybe but not on a stomach full of an Ali Baba falafel

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Canadian Adventure Continues - Zippers

Yes folks, I did it.  I visited THE gay club in Toronto last night.  It's called Zippers.  I wasn't planning on going but My Host has never been to Zippers or any other gay bar (with the exception of his Philly visit last and that didn't really count for reasons that I can explain later).  I wanted to show my host what a fun place a gay bar is when the dancing begins.

Now folks, I haven't danced since . . . . . . um . . . the 1980's.  I wasn't sure if this old body was up to all those gyrations required to qualify to step on the dance floor and shake my booty.  Guess what?  After a few missteps I fell right into the groove.  Now granted I do the "Elaine Dance" (refer to the Seinfeld episodes where Elaine THINKS she can dance), I did it!  Of course My Host was a bit surprised by my energy and abandon but I cleared the dance floor when I did my Michael Jackson moon walk.   My Host even whipped out his . . . iPhone to video the massive display of ego he was witnessing right in front of his very eyes.  



Look closely folks, and you can see yours truly getting on down in his Mr. Rogers "It's All Good in the Neighborhood" tee shirt. How about those electric lights zapping all over me?  Way cool.

So what did I think of "Zippers"?

My Host and I out in front of Zippers last night


 I was impressed.  Only two complaints.  The drinks at $6.75 (a very modest gin and tonic, my Bar Drink) was a bit pricey.  And the piano player singing Broadway show tunes (what is this fascination of gays with Broadway show tunes anyway?) was in a word: AWFUL.  Loud isn't talent.  Other than those two minor distractions (and the hunky   Indian - or Muslin security guy), we had a wonderful time.  And even better, we didn't have to drive back to My Host's home, we took the trolley.  Ah yes, I remember the days when I first came out in Pittsburgh (1963) and I used to take the trolley home after a night at the A.V.A., THE Pittsburgh gay bar.  Back then after a night of shaking my booty I didn't ache as much as I did this morning.  Time marches on and I can still act like a fool but I am having a grand old time.


Sunday, August 24, 2014

India Street Festival Toronto Canada 2014

Just down the street from where Pat lives is Gerrard Street.  This area of Toronto is called "India Town."  Guess why?  Lots of Indians (from Mumbai) live there (or course).  

I've already taken advantage of our close proximity to this interesting and wonderful ethnic enclave of Toronto, Canada by having several meals at Indian restaurants in India Town.  I do like Indian food and since I am going totally vegan while I'm visiting Toronto, India Town offers me many places to eat vegan.

As luck would have it, this weekend is the annual India Town Festival.  We were going to go out and get a falafel at Ali Baba's but Pat was sure he would lose his parking place in front of his house.  We decided instead to take a three block walk down Pat's street which leads right into the heart of India Town.  The above video was the street scene which awaited us.

Folks, I continue to be impressed with the cultural diversity of the inhabitants of Toronto.  I keep trying to imagine such diversity in my little enclave of Rehoboth Beach. We have "the gays" (who know their place) and the "illegals", (Hispanics).  

I work in the lovely little town of Lewes.  Can you imagine an event like I witnessed last night taking place on the streets of uptight Lewes?  Heck, we have more than a few folks in Lewes getting all bent out of shape because Irish Eyes plays music after 9 at night.  Ah yes folks, that's what I'm going back into bless their hearts.  They mean well but sooooo White Bread.  Last night was Multi-grain.

And my Canadian Adventure continues . . . . . . .