Toronto, 2010

Einsturzende Neubauten announced their 30th anniversary tour, and since the Toronto date hit on a weekend, Steph and Axel twisted my rubber arm and convinced me to fly up for the weekend. Then visa issues led to the tour being cancelled, but instead of cashing in my airline tickets for a voucher, I decided to go up anyway, never mind that I got back from Argentina less than a week before. :)

Saturday December 11, 2010

I was aiming for the 6:25am bus to take the T to the airport. I ended up having a lightning quick breakfast with only 2 sips of my tea before running out the door. There were two people waiting at the stop - it always surprises me to see people moving so early on weekends. I filled up my charlie card at Harvard and just missed the subway train. I half dozed on the way to the airport, as the sun finished rising. There was no one in front of me at check in or security, got to go through the metal detector instead of any advanced scanner. I made my first duty free purchase since the bottles of Absolute Boston vodka were only $19. I settled in with my tea on a lounger by the gate, but soon decamped to a rocker where it was quieter - the mash up of xmas music and CNN was breaking my brain.

I was flying with Porter and it was nice as usual. Free snacks and drinks on the plane and a quick trip to Toronto city centre airport. I had a brief moment of panic at customs when I was told that I couldn't give alcohol as a gift, but saying that it was to share got me through. I walked out and up the street to the TTC streetcar stop, grabbing some Canadian cash from the nearby Scotiabank. Took the car up to Queen and Bathurst and then across Queen West. The gentrification is spreading west still, the Dufferin tunnel was all done and lit up. Martin was at home to let me in, after I managed to pick the right doorbell to ring (their address was lost in the great PDA/phone/Google migration but my memory served me well). He made me cheese and toast so I didn't fall over and we had a while to chat until Steph came home from her appointment.

Then it was time to get gussied up for our tea reservation, we were to sip and dine in the Library Bar at the Royal York hotel across from Union Station. Martin decided to drive us there, as there was a parking structure just underneath. We were given a table with two chairs and a couch - Steph lounged on the couch. :) I wasn't 100% happy that they left the leaves in the pot, but the stand up/tipping strainers that we poured out the tea through into our cups were neat. We had a plate of sandwhiches and then a tree of pastries, and it was all delicious and civilised. :) The tea on offer was similar to what I was offered at the Empress in Victoria. After a leisurly tea, we browsed through the shops underground and then headed back to their place. We were stuffed to the gills and didn't need another meal, we spent the late afternoon just chilling. Martin gave me lots of info on cameras (my notes say "fraction sensors with evil"). I finished my book in the living room while Steph napped and Martin puttered, and then I read through some Bowie tour books that Steph had recently procured. Mmm, eye candy. :) As well as an eye opener that tour books can be worth the purchase, there was lots of information packed in with the pictures.

After about 8, the concert substitution gathering started. :) Siobhan and Axel and Darryl came over first, and Shelagh and Thor soon after. Shannon and her partner showed up a bit later. The Absolut Boston turned out to be pretty good, much more strongly flavoured (black tea and elderflower) than the bottle that I'd sniffed when it first came out). It was a fun night, catching up with old friends where we could all hear each other. :) I got to bed at around 3am, pretty tipsy but satisified that the trip was well worth it. :)

Sunday December 12, 2010

Last minute brunch plans coalesced, though without Sloot as he had to head back to Ottawa. We met up at Mitzi's Sister and pushed the round table to it's limits with me, Martin, Steph, Axel, Siobhan and Darryl squeezed in around it. I had my by now traditional brunch order of huevos rancheros and tea to wash it down. It was delicious. Would eat again. :)

From there we stopped briefly back at the house and I picked up my carry on bag. Steph and I ventured back out into the light rain, taking the TTC to Queen and Bathurst to visit Bakka since I'd noticed a sale sign in the window. Turns out that it was a moving sale and they'd moved, but we did a dash up to Harbord and walked over to Spadina to visit the new location. Very posh, but there was no used book selection at all. :/ I picked up the new Robin McKinley hardcover (Pegasus) and a paperback Valdemar anthology but didn't get inspired by anything for Cris (I was supposed to be xmas shopping for him, but the detour away from Queen kinda nixed my planned itinerary).

By then it was getting close to the time I wanted to leave for the airport, so we walked over to Bathurst again. Steph got off at Queen to head to Parkdale, and I continued down to the Lakeshore. And my flight was seriously delayed. It ended up being 2 hours late that I got back to Boston. Luckily the lounge there was well stocked with tea and snacks, but I was definitely feeling the lack of food by the time I got home. I was supposed to go straight from the airport to a pre-holiday turkey dinner, but I was way too late to make even the end of it for desserts. :/

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