"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Traffic, parking & subway... oh my!

We've been having a great time in Toronto.  Drew is a work machine, but I've managed to make him have some fun in the evenings.  I had wanted to go to an area called Port Credit, but it rained Monday evening.  We went down there anyway and just drove around instead of walking around.  I got my first glimpse of Lake Ontario from the ground (it was impressive from the air when we flew in) and it was beautiful.  I really loved the neighborhoods in the area, full of craftsman style homes and charm.  Since it was raining, we decided to check out the Square One Mall.  We weren't really looking to shop, but it's one of the largest malls in Canada and the largest in Ontario, so it was good people watching.  There were these strange high rise buildings in the area, so I took a photo.  They are all twisty, like someone was playing Jenga and the tower was twisted and about to topple.  
Yesterday Drew had meetings in Tornonto, the Uptown Yonge area.  I now realize why he has to schedule his meetings the way he does... because it took 35 minutes to get there and 30 minutes to find a parking place once we arrived.  It took even longer to get out of the area and back to our hotel.  Let me take a moment to express how uncomfortable I would be driving here.  You may know this already, but I live in a town with less than 15,000 people so this seems extreme... the roads here are insane!  The 401 is one of the main highways that we've travelled.  There are 3-4 lanes in the express, a concrete barrier and 3-4 more lanes in the collector lanes (all headed in the same direction and then the same thing going in the other direction), then there could be 2-3 lanes of traffic merging on and off of the expressway and the collector.  It's insane.  10-12 lanes of traffic in each direction?  I 'd never make it.  Or maybe I would be fine and all the little hybrid cars should look out for my truck barrelling through!  
Back to my point... I explored Uptown Yonge Street on my own while Drew worked yesterday.  I did a little shopping and a lot of walking, got some coffee and spent a good while sitting in a little parkette and taking in the area.  
We met up later and took the subway to the Royal Ontario Museum.  From the subway stop to the museum is an area that would blow your mind.  Well, it blew mine.  Gucci, Prada, Cartier, Hermes, Rolex, Tiffany & Co... so many stores that I've only ever seen in movies and magazines.  The Bloor-Yorkville area is internationally recognized as one of the top 10 shopping destinations.  I was perfectly happy to window shop and take it all in.  The area was also very interesting because of things like this... a very old and beautiful church closely surrounded by modern high rise buildings.  
The museum was pretty great.  We both had fun seeing the dinosaurs...
I loved that each plaque explained about the animal in front of us and included a diagram of which parts of the skeleton were original or recreated.  For example...
The yellow shows original bones and the blue is the area recreated to complete the skeleton for display (based on other skeletons of the same animal).
Just the building itself was beautifull.  
The Egypt exhibit was pretty amazing.  We saw a real mummy and that's just crazy.  For the record, you better not dig me up in 3000 years and put me on display.  
And stood in a replica of the mortuary temple of Kitines...
Oh wait, what about the obligatory photo of us standing in the map?  
And since I made Drew stand in the map, I decided to push my luck with the photo posing and went full on duck face.  You know, just being sassy with with my girl Cleopatra...
And... then back to work in the hotel for the rest of the night (which was okay with me because I was worn out!)
Drew has meetings today and for the time being I am taking this moment to rest up and then reevaluate what I will do for the day.  I do have a few things on the agenda for tomorrow, but I am super excited about Friday night.  For one, Drew will be able to relax and explore with me and not worry about work for the weekend and for another... Wicked!  We have orchestra tickets to see Wicked Friday night!  I'm so excited for that and also to take in the sights of Downtown Yonge St in Toronto (it's the area that looks a bit like Time Square in terms of people, festivities, scale and bright lights).  Saturday is Niagara Falls day.  
I think that one of the things I've most enjoyed is the diversity here. There are 2.7 million people in Toronto and 5.5 million people in the metro area.  I read somewhere that about 50% of the Toronto popuation is not Canadian born.  That really makes for more diversity that I could imagine and the mix of cultures is pretty awsome.  Toronto is also very safe and very clean.  I've really loved it and look forward to coming back in the future.  In fact, I may enjoy the second time even more, because it won't be completely unfamiliar to me.  This time has left me in the kind of awe that requires me to pick my jaw up off the floor, which is a really new and exciting feeling.  If I am able to visit in the future then maybe I will be able to soak it in and experience it in different ways.  Maybe next time we can work it out to stay somewhere closer to the hub (or at least the subway lines) and further from the airport (during the work week the company dictates where Drew can stay, but for the weekend we are on our own and can do what we want.)  This is the view out of our hotel window...

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