I ended up finishing my issue of "Fantasy and Science Fiction", and tried to doze a bit on the short flight. EnRoute also had an article about the 10 best new Canadian restaurants, and I made note of George in Toronto, and Garcon! in Montreal. There were a few bumps, and I was parched by the time we landed, but overall a good flight, if 20 mins delayed. The inbound plane had needed de-icing in Toronto before taking off, so it started the delay domino effect. I got a text from JV asking for Monica's cell, so I texted him back in the immigration line, and it moved fairly fast. They waved me past, not having to pay duty on the wedding present that came in just over the exemption limit. My bag was waiting for me, and I got to the Airport Express ticket booth 8 mins before the next departure. I let Cris know that I'd landed safely, and paced a bit in the chill. I'd seen the snow covering the city as we came in, but the arrivals level was underneath departures, so there wasn't any snow visible where I was waiting. The bus soon pulled up, and I was the only one getting on at this terminal, 2. We swung by another terminal and then onto the 427. A woman got on and sat behind me, talking quietly in French until we hit downtown, and then started chatting up the older guy across from her. She was from Cambellton NB and he was from Sidney NS, and they bonded quickly over being fellow maritimers. We stopped at the Boston Harbour Westin first, and then looped back to the Royal York. It was just past 10:30 at this point, and the hotel check in was supposed to close at 11, so I grabbed a cab in the line outside the hotel and took it up to Bloor and Spadina. My cabbie was from east Africa, and we had a whole discussion on how different languages accentuate or roll the R (he's convinced that Philipinos draw it out most). Axel called as we were going up Spadina, and said they were at the Rhino. The Madison Pub was in full swing, and there's construction outside on the street, but the room's been quiet so far. I had to call the front desk a couple of times to figure out how to get into the building with my room - checkin was two doors down. Then up to the fourth floor, and my quaint neat room. I did a quick face wash and tooth brushing, and then went back down to the street.
I found the bank machine where I expected it and caught a fast cab ride right outside over to Queen W and the Rhino. They were in the back room, as promised, and everyone greeted me as I came in. I think at that point Etienne, Astrid, Trevor, Siobhan, Axel, Steph, Krista, Matt, Joy were there, and then Lee Chaos and his girlfriend arrived, and then Monica, JV and Trev. Martin was still at home getting set up for the after party that they were going to host. I was about to pass out from hunger, not having had anything since the cup of soup as my second lunch (after a first lunch of oatmeal), so I was pretty quiet until my sweet potato soup and hummus and pita arrived. I was sitting with Joy and Axel and Steph to start, but then people started moving around to chat with others or to get away from the Queen sing along that broke out at the other end of the table. We were there until last call, and I shared a cab back with Monica, JV and Trev, dropping them off first. I took a shower before bed, and was asleep at 3. I had to weave through a few drunks leaving the Pub but they were quiet over all and didn't keep me up at all.
I popped into the Shopper's on Bloor and picked up some reactin, and a curl defining spray for tonight. Dropped stuff off at the room and was walking south on Spadina when Krista called, I gave her Monica's address and we agreed to meet there. I got there first, met her room mate Peter and Monica and Trev and I chatted a bit. Krista, Matt, and Joy arrived fairly soon after, and JV had gone for a walk and was at Active Surplus. We went to Kensingtons for a quick meal (two of the benches at the tables across the way were actually long wooden swings hung from eyebolts in the ceiling via strong ropes. I want one.), and then to Global Cheese for lots of cheese (I got some Wensleydale with cranberries). I led them across Dundas to Yonge, to the HMV there, and I picked up a copy of Waydowntown from the DVD section. Then we braved the Eaton Centre (passing a ninja bake sale - a dojo was doing demonstrations and selling pie) to go to Williams and Sonoma so JV and Joy and Matt could pick up gifts. Cris called me while I was waiting on them, and said that my bike wasn't really worth fixing, that I should just shoot it. I protested and told them to fix the wheel and one other thing, so that I had transportation while I shop for a new one. The front suspension is apparently shot and not servicable, and there was other stuff, but the connection was a bit lossy. The shoppers stuck around to wait for gift wrapping, and Trev and Monica led me to the Lush near the subway stop at Dundas. The Slammer shower gel is really discontinued, so I got myself some soap, backtracked to the washroom, and then walked back to the Madison. I went via Hart House to map out how long it would take me to walk (25mins) and then dropped off my stuff at the hotel and walked out again to get supper. I got sucked in by Goldfish, and it took longer than I thought but their prix fix menu was worth it - a good and well spiced lentil soup, a perfect duck breast on a spicy sweet potato mash with roasted veggies and good sauces, and then a slice of apple cheesecake. I was the only diner for most of the time, and then a couple came in. I was able to watch traffic on Bloor, was right across from the Tafelmusik church. Rushed back to my room, took a quick shower, "curled" my hair, threw on the dress and took the Spadina car down to Harbord, and walked across to Hart House. Lots of people there, and it was hot, so I switched out the velvet jacket for the shawl. The ceremony was lovely, though I was stuck behind tall people and had a hard time seeing. They came out to the Imperial March. Cheese and finger food then arrived, and the music went up slowly. Dorian was a ball of energy, and Panic got him dancing first. I danced quite a bit. Jackie introduced herself to me, but I went all shy and didn't talk back enough. Nibbled on food, got some of the last of the baked wheel of brie, and had a good time. Stayed until close - midnight, walked back to the hotel, and showered and changed and then took the T to Steph and Martin's place out in Parkdale. I had to bring Steph the NN boots, and I arrived just in time for the toast. Chatted a bit with Krista, Monica and Axel in the kitchen, and Steph would come by often, but by 2:30 my tummy was registering it's need to be asleep. I get nauseous when I'm too tired, it sucks. Got a cab right outside the door, the cabbie insisted on getting a price quote from me on a program for breeding pigeons - I think, he may have been talking about something entirely different, but I want to think it was pigeons. Brunch tomorrow at 1 at Sneaky Dee's, and then Krista and I will take the Airport Express from Union.
Krista and I said our goodbyes at 3, and walked over to Spadina and got onto the streetcar northbound. I sent her off to walk to the Southbound subway platform, and scurried back to Madison Manor to get my suitcase and pack. I had to hunt down the clerk up in the bar, but she came down happily to unlock the check in room so I could get my backpack and suitcase. Rolled it back to the station and through the long tunnel to the NS platform. Train down to Union, where it was utterly packed, to claustrophobia inducing levels, with the remnants of the crowd from the parade. We fought through and found ourselves up on the street right by the Royal York, and found the ticket window around the side no problem. The bus came right at 4, but he had to navigate horrific traffic, and we didn't get to the airport until close to 5 (it should only take 20mins). A cavalcade of police escort and parade floats passed us on the Lakeshore as we waited to get onto the eleveated Gardiner. Terminal 2 came up first, so I said goodbye to Krista and got off the bus to check in. No real lines to speak of, but I decided to use up my last Mapleleaf Lounge pass and hide in there anyway. Got some writing done, and timed it just right so that I walked out and up to my gate as they were boarding my rows. Good flight, with a bit of bumps, and the couple next to me were somewhat annoying when they weren't asleep, very twitchy and almost argumentative (and the guy started sniffling when he woke up, I better not get his cold!). Suitcase came out quick, and I took the silver line to South Station and the red line to Harvard and the bus was there soon after I arrived, the 71 for once, so I had a short roll home. Cris was still out, so I wrote some more and tried out more of the cheese that I'd picked up at Global finally.
Overall, a great weekend, if tiring. I'm glad that I got to witness Steph
and Martin's wedding, and hang out with so many friends again. I still
need to plan a trip up there again when nothing's going on so I can hang
out more and see more of the city. Siobhan invited me up for NYE, so we'll
see, Krista and Eric will be there for a week then as well.