Welcome to La Ville-Reine

So, this will be a little different from my last few posts. I have roughly 13 days until I leave for Korea. So what do I do while I wait for my visa to be processed? I go on vacation. My dad lives in Toledo, Ohio, so I don’t get much of an opportunity to see him. Since I doubt I’ll return to the states in the next year or more, I decided I’d come see him for a week before I left. As my departure got closer, this plan evolved. Long story short, my plane landed in Detroit at 1pm today, and I’m now sitting in a hotel in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This’ll be my last vacation before Incheon. I’ll be giving the play by play. Of course, if you’re interested, you’ll find the rest of the story after the break.

I didn’t spend much time in Detroit. Honestly, I was underwhelmed by the airport, and we just grabbed something quick to eat and left immediately to maximize our time in Toronto. Passing through the border was very unusual. The only time I’ve been outside the US was the two times I went to Japan, which involved paperwork and customs and tourist visas. This was just a very unhappy police officer asking us the nature of our trip. He was pretty curt and rude, but I’m sure he has to deal will all kinds of weird crap there at the border.

This is the Canadian/Michigan border

Crossing over the bridge to Canada allowed me to see Lake Huron. I’ve never seen a lake like that before. It spread into the horizon beyond my line of sight. It was exactly like looking out into the ocean. It was absolutely mind-boggling to see a lake of such size. During the course of the trip I’ll be seeing Lake Ontario and Lake Erie as well, which will be 3 of the 5.

The drive through Canada to Toronto was pretty uneventful. There were trees and grass and the occasional building. It looked similar to driving through Michigan or Ohio. But all the speed limits were in kilometers, the gas prices were by liter, and every time I saw a Home Depot, it was strangely patriotic. Seriously, every Canadian Home Depot I drove past had at least a half dozen orange canadian flags waving from it. I should have snapped a picture. There were also crowns on the road signs, which was a bit unusual as well.

Here's a highway sign for example. Not sure what the crown means, but I like it.

Eventually, there were less and less trees, less tundra, and less frozen swampland (I feel there should be a word for that) giving way huge glass towers. We then passed into some suburb like areas before ending up in downtown Toronto. We’re currently staying in a pretty nice hotel on Bay Street on the 14th floor. The CN Tower and the Royal Ontario Museum are both within walking distance, which is part of our plan for tomorrow. The hotel room is pretty cheap since we’re traveling at such an odd time. We got some kind of “no one fucking visits Canada in February” promotional deal.

Seriously, this is the view from the hotel room. Fantastic.

The room is pretty nice. Not the best in the world, but pretty nice. The best part is definitely the location. Since we arrived in Toronto around seven, it was a bit late to visit any of the major sites, so we went to eat, which is just about my favorite thing to do anyway. We went to Ali Baba’s Middle Eastern Cuisine and ate some beef shawarme. It was fantastic and cheap.

Delicious Beef Shawarme. Contains Cabbage, Hummus, Lettuce, Tomato, and a dozen other ingredients.

Toronto is already one of my favorite cities. Walking only a couple blocks, I saw about 6 Japanese restaurants, 4 Vietnamese restaurants, 4 Korean restaurants, 3 Middle Eastern restaurants, 1 Spanish place, 2 bars, and 3 asian fusion restaurants. I also heard about 6 different languages being spoken. It was so impressive, we decided to eat another meal.

Look at all those restaurants.

We ended up eating at Zyng Noodlery, which was some kind of Asian fusion place. I had Tom Yum Goong, Spring Rolls, Yakitori, and a beer. The beer was Sleeman Lager, which was cheaper since it was domestic (for Canada), but I’ve never heard of it. It wasn’t too bad. The Tom Yum was pretty delicious, especially since it was pretty cold. The Yakitori was pretty non-traditional, and wasn’t really my taste. But I’ve been working in a Japanese restaurant for the past six months, so I’m probably spoiled.

Drinking my Sleeman Lager at Zyng. Some good food in front of me.

Pretty fantastic Canadian experience so far. I’ve actually been really impressed with Toronto already. I’d rank it up with Osaka and Portland as one of my favorite cities I’ve ever been to. I’m thinking Canada is pretty awesome so far.

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~ by James on February 2, 2012.

One Response to “Welcome to La Ville-Reine”

  1. Very impressive. Living the life of luxury, my friend.

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