Sunday, August 31, 2014

Toronto - The Last Day

Pat's neighbor's cat who always greets us with a "Meow" on our way down to Udupi Palace and another "Meow" on the way back.  I asked him/her if I could take a photo.  This was the response I got "Oh, go ahead if you must."

Well folks, in a few hours my gracious (and patient) host will take me to Buffalo, New York for my 5:45 PM plane departure to Philadelphia, PA.  I am so looking forward to going home and seeing Bill again but I am sad to be leaving Toronto and all the wonderful experiences I've had and the nice folks I've met.

Last night my host and I took the three block walk down his street to India Town and had our last meal (the "Last Supper?") at Udupi Palace, a wonderful all vegetarian Indian restaurant.  Pat had a tomato based, mixed vegetable, spicy curry dish with rice.  I had a mixed vegetable dish cooked in coconut milk and this wonderful puffy bread (can't stop eating it) whose name I forgot and can't pronounce anyway.  We both had a sweet lime soda sprinkled with the owner's unique blend of Indian spices.  Last night I could hear the Song of Scheherazade playing in the background. Oh I know Scheherazade isn't Indian but it's close.

Last night's dinner was exotic folks. Enchanting and mesmerizing. It would have been perfect if it wasn't for that one Screaming Kid. Oh yes, we had to endure yet another Screaming Kid, this one included a broken plate which he threw to the floor in a fit after not being paid enough attention to.  But what's dinner without the Screaming Kid?  

Arriving back to my host's home, I challenged him to yet another game of Scrabble.  I had yet to win.  He's been beating me like a red-headed step child.  

First game, he trounced me . . . . good.  Hey, I like Pat but now I'm starting to get a little seriously annoyed when he uses words like "EF" (for "F") and "ZEA" for what I don't know.  What really frustrates me is how I seem to feed him opportunities for double and triple word scores and bingos. Bingos are where the player uses all seven of his letters.  He gets an extra fifty points.  The other night I was winning up until the near end and Mr. Smug Face gets another bingo.

Well folks, I guess you know where this is going.  Our last game last night.  Mr. Cheshire Cat Grin is leading.  I'm getting good scores but he's getting better ones.  Then he gets yet another bingo!  I refuse to give up hope.  REFUSE.  I work the old brain.  I'm using brain cells that haven't been used in a long time.  In fact I think I used brain cells that have never been used because my head started to hurt. My hair even hurt.

Then, after struggling and going over and over the board I saw my opportunity.  There, in the corner was a triple word box.  I had a blank.  I could make a word out of all seven of my Scrabble tiles.  I can't believe it.  I look at the opening again.  Yes, yes . . . . . YES!

My turn arrives.  I lick my lips.  He sees I'm going to lay a Big One.  He still has his "Oh here he goes again with a made up word" smile.  I place my tiles.  Then I sit back.  He looks at the word that I placed:

C R U D I T E 

He gives me his Sylvester Cat I Ate the Canary smile and asks "That's a word?"  The corners of my mouth curl slightly into a smile and I challenge him "Look it up.  Go ahead."  

He looks at me again and then lifts his hand to the keyboard of the computer and enters C R U D I T E.

Crudités are traditional French appetizers consisting of sliced or whole raw vegetables[1] which are sometimes dipped in a vinaigrette or other dipping sauce. Crudités often include celery sticks, carrot sticks, bell pepper strips, broccolicauliflowerfennel, and asparagus spears; sometimes olives, depending on local custom.
"Crudités" (plural) derives similarly as English "crude", in that both are ultimately from Latin "crūdus", meaning "raw", later "crūditās", meaning "undigested food", then French "crudité" (singular), for "uncooked food".[1]

A celery and carrot crudite platter

"What happened?"

He looks back at me again, slowly realizing he LOST. 

"Well, I'll be a tick on a hound's butt - you won!"

Ah yes, victory is mine.  Final score 361 (me) to 336 (the loser).  

"Congratulations Ron!"

Prior to my blowout bingo word he was leading 318 to my 271.

The vanquished

Ah, victory is sweet.  I slept well last night.

Now for the trip home to Delaware. 

Thank you to my most gracious host, Patrick. 

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.  




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

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 . . . . . . . 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Canadian Adventure - Week One Comes to an End

Yorkdale Mall, Toronto Canada

That was a fast week!  Can you believe it folks?  My first week of my Canadian adventure has come to an end?  And what a week it has been.

Yesterday Pat took me to the Yorkdale Mall.  This is thee high end mall in Toronto.  Think King of Prussia Mall with class and that's Yorkdale.

One thing that continues to amaze me is the multi-cultural diversity of folks up here in Toronto.  White, brown, yellow, black and all the colors in between.  Maybe it's me, but I detect none of the always present tension of racial animosity that I live with every day in the states.  

Toronto subway train - all races, clean cars, nice people - no tension - civilized

Toronto has a large Indian (as in Bombay India) population, which is right down the street from where I'm staying.  Also a Vietnamese, Korean, Pakistani, Chinese, and on and on.  Everybody goes about their business without those looks that mixed racial couples often receive where I live in the states.  I even see gay couples who cause zero ripples.  Even in Rehoboth Beach, two men walking together will at minimum evoke the look from some straights afraid their town will turn from family to Sodom and Gomorrah if the gays take over.  The last time Pat was down in Delaware, we were walking back from my friend's house on Laurel Street when a car load of young guys passed us and all gave us The Finger.  Somethings never change although I do have to admit they didn't holler the usual "F__king F__gs!", an epitaph that I've had hurled at me more than once in my lifetime when doing the simple act of walking with a friend down a street.  

Yours truly riding a troller through Little India. Even though I was riding with another man no one paid us a whit of attention.  Refreshing!

Pat had told me that Toronto was very diverse but I didn't expect this much freedom.  The last time I experienced this feel good emotion was the first time I visited Provincetown, Massachusetts in the Seventies.  That was the first time in my life that I felt normal.  That I didn't evoke disproving stars just because I was walking down the street with another man.  The first time in my life I felt totally free.  

Taking the trolley car back to Pat's house - a global community of travelers

So this aspect of my Canadian visit is an unexpected and pleasant surprise. Now maybe it's because I'm in a large city and maybe the hinterlands are like the hinterlands of the states where diversity is hated and discouraged.  That might be true but for now, I'm totally into this feeling of freedom.  

Pat in front of the Indian restaurant in Little India where we had lunch with Dr. Spo and Someone on Monday

Pat's out doing chores now.  I'm here catching up on my blogs, e-mails and checking out the news of the states.  I don't miss the international news at all.  What?  Another cease fire in the Middle East and Putin continues to act like a Putin.  What's new?  I don't miss it.

Something else interesting that I've discovered during my Canadian visit.  Canada, especially Toronto, appears to be very rich.  The prices of the houses and condos and products.  All expensive and the taxes are high.  Sales tax on everything expect having sex.  I was in a quandary for a while wondering "How do they do this?" then I realized they're not the World's Policemen.  Sticking their noses in places where they shouldn't be, just to show their might.  Canada doesn't have to spend a lot of money on defense because they have that big muscled neighbor to the south.  So that's how they're doing it.  By the way, Canada does't appear to have an immigration problem either even though most of the Canadians I've seen here in Toronto appear to be from another county.  But then I don't know what an average Canadian looks like.  Yesterday at the mall I actually did see a young, white, blonde couple with an adorable three year old boy.  They looked so out of place and frankly, they looked lost.  What I haven't seen AT ALL is one of those ignorant, hateful Tea Baggers. Thank God for small favors.  And to think I'm going back in that miasma in only a show week.  Oh well, I'm having a grand time now and thoroughly enjoying seeing human beings of all colors and races interact in peaceful harmony. Canada has it over on us in this aspect folks. 

There is no way this man is moving from his home in Toronto.  He's got it made.  Consider: Toronto or Rehoboth Beach, Delaware?  The answer is obvious.  

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Canadian Adventure Continues - The Hotel Room

My daily "We're not in Kansas anymore Toto" picture

Well folks, as my regular followers have probably already noticed, I missed a day.  I'm starting to lose track of time.  The days are running together.  So let's bring Ron's Canadian Adventure up to date.

"Stuff that clown car!"

After leaving Dr. Spo and Someone, Pat and I retreated to our Groupon discounted room at the Howard Johnson hotel (yes, THAT Howard Johnson) a few blocks away from the Marriott Residence Inn in downtown Toronto where Urspo and Someone were ensconced.  Folks, our room at the Howard Johnsons hotel (a misnomer "Hotel" if there ever was one) was . . . . um . . . AWFUL.  Dark, dreary, rundown and with a total view of a brick wall.  
Pat checks out the view from our hotel room at the Howard Johnson's in downtown Toronto "Where's the sky?"

Now before anyone thinks I'm an ingrate, I want to thank Pat for his generous and sincere effort to accommodate me in air conditioned surroundings but this just didn't work.  And to top everything off, we misplaced our overnight bags.  I went down to the front desk to ask for a tooth brush and toothpaste.  Of course the next day we found our toiletry bag in the back of Pat's Fiat on the floor.  Urspo and Someone must of placed it there when we were playing Stuff the Clown Car on the way to the Toronto Exhibition.  

Someone stuffs himself into the clown car on the way to the Toronto Exhibition

Get this folks, the TV in the room was one of those old monster tube TV's.  GAWD.  Then we tried to watch it and we couldn't see it from the footboard at the base of the bed.  We couldn't prop ourselves up on our pillows, if you could call them pillows.  Folks, this was a king sized bed with little itsy bits teeny weeny lumpy pillows.  Sounds like a song title doesn't it.  Believe me, we weren't laughing.  Poor Pat, he was so embarrassed.  And the duvet.  Talk about lumps.  The owner of the hotel where I work in Lewes would have passed out from The Vapors if we put such ratty duvets on our kings sized beds.  

I don't know how we did it but we did.  Upon awakening in the morning and brushing our teeth, we decided to try the breakfast that comes with the room. I was leary, after seeing the room and the accommodations but Pat said "It can't be that bad."  Folks, what do you think?  Seriously, what do you think the breakfast was like?  Go ahead, I'll give you a few moments to ponder this question:

Got an answer?    

Here, I'll give you a choice:

  1. Fantastic
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor
  5. Twilight Zone
One, two, three, four or five folks?  READY?

Here is your answer:

Folks, I don't consider myself a snob. I've always considered myself one of the common folks.  I come from humble origins.  One step up from White Trash. But folks, as we entered this narrow, windowless, room off the lobby and saw those Edge of the Social Fabric folks look at us with that look that said "Don't pity us, this is all we can afford."  I at once felt so guilty for my latent snobbery and yet there was NO WAY I was going to join that Star Wars bar scene for my breakfast. 

Breakfast at the Howard Johnson hotel in downtown Toronto
I know, I know.  I am such an unrepentant snob.  And I admit that I would probably fit right in with this crew with barely a ripple and yet, what little self-esteem I have left in my advanced years I will cling to.

Folks, there is so much to write about my ongoing Canadian Adventure but time grows short.  Pat is at yoga now and I'm trying to catch up on my blog, e-mails and reading other blogs.  By the way, my weight is down to under 160 lbs!  159 to be exact.  I'm eating well. We had Indian takeout

last night and ate at Pat's house and then immersed ourselves into a very competitive game of Scrabble.  I haven't played since I was knee high to a grasshopper (eleven years old).  Of course I was throughly trounced by Pat (355 to 176).  I get a chance to redeem myself tonight.  We'll play before we go out to see a live band play.  We were supposed to do that last night but made the fatal mistake of "taking a nap" before we were to leave at about 10:00 PM, in time for the band setup.  Of course you know happened.  We were dead asleep, gone to this world when we woke up at 10:30 PM.  Too late to venture out into that dark night.  Turn over and go back to sleep, which we did.  

And the Adventure continues:

Someone, Pat and Urspo enter the Toronto Exhibition gates

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Going For a Ride at the Toronto Exhibition

"We're Going on What Ride?

The videos are ready!  I'm starting to lose track of time but if I remember correctly, we all attended the Toronto Exhibition on Monday night.  "We all" included Dr. Spo and his Significant Other, Someone; Pat (our host) and yours truly.

As you can hear from one of the videos, Dr. Spo said it's been over forty years since he attended a carnival, which is essentially what the Toronto Exhibition is.  A carnival on steroids.  

It's been over fifty years since I've attended one of these carnivals.

I wanted to go on the ferris wheel but was vetoed down.  However we all did agree to go on a ride called "The Scrambler."  Pat bought the tickets and we were ready for to ride.  Someone asked "Now are we all going to scream like little girls?"  Of course we said "Oh no!"

We were jacked up, ready to ride!  After some discussion we all agreed we would try "The Scambler ride first.  Pat got the tickets and we were ready to ride! However, we hit a snag.  The woman running the ride told us they were doing maintenance to the ride and it wouldn't be ready until 9:00 PM.  We were jacked up and couldn't wait (two hours) so we decided to go on the roller coaster. 

But we had a backup plan. The roller coaster. Now granted, this wasn't one of those killer roller coasters that turned your hair white with fright. This was one of those portable carnival roller coasters. "No problem." At least that's what we thought.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Canadian Adventure Day Three - Toronto Expo

Pat, Spo, Me and Someone - on our first ride of the night at the Expo Carnival

Folks, this is going to be a short post tonight because we want to get to bed early (especially my host).  But I did want to touch base with all of you and tell you what a wonderful time we had yesterday at the Toronto Expo.  

Dr. Spo and Someone arrived in Toronto at noon.  We had lunch then returned to Pat's place for the tour.  We chatted a bit then went to The Distillery in downtown Toronto.  After imbibing there, we (me actually) decided to go to the Toronto Expo, which (to me at least) is a carnival on steroids.  I haven't been to a carnival in um . . . . forty years?  Well folks, we went and had a FABULOUS time.  Did we go on rides.  Yes, we did.  Before we went on the roller coaster (a small one) Someone said "Are we going to scream like little girls now?"  Of course I said "No", because I'm too butch too scream "like a little girl."  Guess what?  Even better, wait until you see the video.  I'll try to post that tomorrow.  

Right now we're beat.  Very tired and after I make my journal entry I'm going to retire early.

Catch up tomorrow!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Canadian Adventure Day Two - Eat Indian

"Fresh Baked, every day" - Pat and I at the Aroma Cafe in downtown Toronto, Canada

My fabulous Canadian adventure continues folks! I have to admit, the days are starting to run into one another.  Now let's see if I can remember what we did yesterday.

I forget what we did in the morning (use your imagination) but we had lunch at Aroma in downtown Toronto.  Toronto is a huge city with many tall, impressive build
ngs.  Pat showed me one of the lofts he used to live in right in the center of downtown Toronto.

Pat used to live in that penthouse!

Talk about location, location, location . . . he had it with that loft plus he had parking in a below ground garage.  Pat's condo was on the very top floor with a balcony overlooking the street.  No water view folks, but a fabulous people watching view and easy access to all that Toronto has to offer.  I asked him why he moved, he said it was too hard to commute to work.  But he said it would be a fabulous place to live now that he's retired.

Entering downtown Toronto, Canada ("we're not in Rehoboth Kansas anymore Toto")

Pat took me to the new Toronto City hall which was right around the corner.  We went up to the Mayor's office (the famous or infamous Rob Ford) but he wasn't in.

The Mayor was out today - drat!

Then it was back to Pat's present pied tier here in "Tiny Town" Toronto.  Nap time for yours truly.  I didn't get much sleep since I was up 2:30 AM Friday morning for my ride to the Philly airport.  I needed to catch up on my shuteye.

After a very restful nap I was hungry again (Pat doesn't eat as much as I do).  Pat suggested an Inidan restaurant just down the street from where he lives.  We could walk there.

So we took a leisurely stroll down Craven Avenue, stopping along the way to talk to one of Pat's neighbors who had just returned from camping.  They were with their two small daughters.  I just couldn't resist asking them if I could take a photo of them with their lovely children.  See the adorable photos below:

As we neared Indian Town (Indians from India, not a reservation) which is only located three blocks from Pat's house) I could smell the curry wafting in the air.  Women in glittering sari's strolled the streets of Indian Town (not the name but I don't know what it is if there is one).  Swarthy men with casually walked by, engaging in a language that I could not make one word of.

We followed the curry aroma and entered a very plain, tiled floored, crowded, Indian family totally populated typical neighborhood restaurant.  Several of the naturally tanned faces turned to look at the two palefaces entering their restaurant.  All of a sudden I felt so out of place with my Going to the Leather and Western Gay Bar denim jacket and baseball cap.  An image of me wearing a white turban briefly flashed across my feeble mind but quickly disappeared when I realized these were Indians, not Sikhs.  I know some Americans can't tell the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim but I won't go to that rant on this beautiful, fall like, sunny morning as I type this blog posting in Pat's sun drenched living room while he's out doing the laundry (yes folks, Regular life continues while the Tour goes on.

A selfie of me and Pat at Udupi Palace- Indian vegetarian cuisine Toronto, Canada

We were seated and by a very swarthy man straight out of Bollywood and given menus.  Of course I didn't understand one thing on the menu other than the "V" (for vegatarian) next to many entrees.  I asked Pat for a suggestion.  He suggested a dish that was actually eight small dished.  Like a sampler.
IT.WAS.DELICIOUS.  Wow.  My vegan challenge continues with very little sacrifice from me.

Pat planning for tomorrow

Today we're meeting those hardy travelers Dr. Spo and Someone for lunch.  Of course I suggested this restaurant (Udupi Palace, 1460 Gerrard St. East, Toronto, Ontario).  Pat suggested that we try the other Indian restaurant today which is a buffet.  That's what we're going to do, this way we all have more choices to sample Indian cuisine, which we all like.  

I just got a text from Pat (he's at the laundry mat).  Dr. Spo and Someone just left their rented digs at Niagara and are on there way!

The adventure continues!

Later folks!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day One - Canada Adventure

Toronto, Canada

Day One on my Canada Adventure is coming to an end folks.  Another busy, interesting and activity filled day.  Kudos to Pat, my tour director.  I hope he doesn't wear himself out keeping me entertained.

The house where Pat grew up

Briefly, what we did today was Pat drove me around Toronto showing me all the different places where he lived. Toronto is a vibrant and diversified city.  Much different than any American city I've visited or lived in.

We're still on a vegan diet and I'm not hurting for it.  In fact my body is saying "Thank you!" for not ingesting animal meat and artificial ingredients.  I'm planning on eating nothing but vegan for the whole two weeks of my visit to Canada.

The Big Carrot meal

This evening we went bowling.  Wow, was that ever different.  The last time I bowled was in 1966.  I was a fairly good bowler back in the day.  Not tonight though.  I guess I was trying to show off and all I was getting was gutter balls.  My first game I scored 45!  Second game I beat Pat, I scored 104 to his 102.  I couldn't believe how lame I was bowling.  I couldn't get my steps right.  We also played some pool. At that game I was much better and more relaxed.  And another thing about the bowling.  It cost $32.00 for the first hour!  First . . . the cost. What's up with that?  Then by the hour?  What's UP with THAT?  We did have "Cosmic Bowling" which was fun but man oh man, bowling wasn't like when I used to live bowling back in the Sixties when I think I paid $2.00 a game, unlimited.  

Pat, Cosmic Bowling - Expensive

Tomorrow Pat is going to church and his regular yoga session.  I advised him to take up his regular routine and not to worry about keeping me entertained.  I have my MacBook Pro laptop and blogs to catch up on.  Plus, Pat's house is very comfortable.  He was worried I would miss all the "amenities" of a regular house but I don't.  I didn't think I would.  No problems so far on that score.  And the weather has been absolutely fabulous, in the low 70's.  

Pool Hustler

So far so good folks.  Tomorrow will be a quiet day then Monday we meet up with Urspo and Someone.  Now that is guaranteed to be a fabulous time.  Those two gentlemen are a delight.  I just with Doug Taron was with them.  

Good night folks!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Arrived in Canada

I'm here ! I'm in Canada.  I'm at my friend Pat's home.  It has been a long day folks.  

I was awake at 2:30 AM.  I wanted to get up at 3 AM to be ready for my ride (Monica, my co-worker) who was arriving at 4 AM.  We had a two plus hour drive to the Philly International airport for my 7:29 AM flight to Buffalo, New York. 

Monica and I had a pretty straight shot to Philadelphia that early in the morning. However, once we got to the airport, it was a busy hub.  Since I haven't traveled since 2000, I was expecting the worse.  I have to say everything went pretty smoothly.  I didn't even have to take my shoe or belt off.  Big whoop!  However, I did have to do a lot of traveling around to check my bag and go through several lines.  But overall, I think things went pretty smoothly.

My prop plane was tiny.  Talk about being cramped.  

I'm just thankful the trip to Buffalo only took one hour and ten minutes.  When I went down to the baggage claim area this is what was waiting for me:

That Pat, what a jokester. He had read my blog post about being greeted this way when I won a trip to Disney World and was met at the airport by a chauffeur with my name on a big sign like this.  Made me feel important I tell you  

At first I didn't realize the sign was for me.  Me?  I'm important?  Well, I was flattered. Thank you Pat.

Since we were in Buffalo, we HAD to stop in Wegmans.  However, it was too early to eat so we just walked through the store to say we "were at Wegmans in Buffalo."  Oh how I wish we had a Wegmans in Gayberry (aka Rehoboth Beach, DE).

We did walk around a bit in Buffalo and did decide to have a light lunch. We had the best ever veggie wrap and smoothie at a small restaurant with a bongo playing man outside.  I took a video of him which I will post in a future blog, it's too late tonight to upload that video to YouTube.

Then we were on our way for the two hour drive to Toronto.  We had no problem crossing the border.  The border guard asked me why I was going into Canada (after I showed him my passport, I no longer have a virgin passport). I was tempted to same something funny and clever but thought better of it and just said "visiting my friend."  

In a little under two hours we saw the skyline of Toronto in the distance.  And we saw the traffic coming out of Toronto.  It looked like a lava flow. And I thought Route One was bad one a summer weekend.  

We eventually got into Toronto and arrived at Pat's lovely little home in Tiny Town.

Pat took me on a tour of his house and then it was time for dinner.  He took me to the Green Earth restaurant.  We're stuffed. Tomorrow we eat half of what we had today.

We both pooped.  Time to take a shower and go to bed.  Goodnight, the adventure continues.

Random Observations on a December Morning

Late yesterday afternoon sun on our cozy home (in the background).    What? Yet another selfie of yours truly in a hoodie on his property in...