Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Toronto, Eh?

Y'know that if you access your journal from Canada, you get Canadian banner ads?  No kidding.

A good part of yesterday was spent preparing for today.  First, the plan:  I plan to go rafting in Ottawa on Thursday.  So, today, I'm supposed to catch a train to Ottawa at around 5:30.  I'm going to the theatre at 2:30, which means things are going to be a little close.  I went by the train station yesterday morning to make sure I can leave my bags there before I go to the theatre.  I can't.  They have no luggage storage.  Thank you 9/11 terrorists.

I then walk over to the subway station and try to figure my way around the subway system.  It isn't as clearly marked as subway systems in some other cities (London, San Francisco, Washington, ... heck, even L.A.), but workable.  It is just impossible to find your way without looking like you don't know where you're going.  (I prefer subway systems that are so clearly marked, you can pretend you know what's going on.)

I take a streetcar (it departs from the subway station) out to the harbor, to investigate harbor cruises.  I have missed the Tall Ship cruise by a few days (damn) -- they're weekends only until next week.  But I could take a 45 minute narrated cruise around the harbor at pretty much any time.  Dude in the booth also points me toward the nearest streetcar stop (which isn't the one I got off at) so I can get back to the train station and my hotel.

Back at the ranch, I head over to the CN Tower for lunch.  Big tower.  Tallest building in the world, they say.  (Taller than Taipei 101, which we visited back in November.  They also put Sears Tower at taller than Taipei 101, which I hadn't thought Taipei 101 said.  Whatever.)  Damn thing is tall.  I had a reservation at the revolving restaurant ("highest restaurant in the world") which, among other things, got me in the priority line for the elevator, so I got right on up that thing.  (Security was weird -- they didn't paw through my stuff, they just had me stand in a little alcove and blew bursts of cold air at me -- apparently to discover particles of explosives.  Very high tech.)  Got up to the restaurant and had a lovely meal (my cola had a CN Tower-shaped stirrer in it; my dessert was a "chocolate tower with fresh seasonal fruits").  Afterward, I went down a level to the observation level -- they let you observe from outside, although there's a lot of wire safety netting around.  Back inside, they have a section of glass floor ("world's highest glass floor") that you can stand on and look straight down. I gave it a shot, and thereby gave anyone on the ground (with binoculars) an opportunity to look up my skirt.  :)

At the CN Tower, I also took a moment to call the rafting company in Ottawa.  They were expecting a thunderstorm on Thursday, so I wanted to know if the rafting was still on.  They said they'd go in the storm, but, um, nobody else had signed up for Thursday.  I can't go alone.  Could I call back tomorrow to see if anyone else had called yet?  I could.  I spend the rest of the afternoon calculating how much money it would cost me to stay in Toronto an extra day and go up to Ottawa Thursday rather than Wednesday.  It would save me the tight connection after the theatre -- but cost about $300.

Went back out to the harbor for a little harbor cruise, which was really pleasant.  Nice to get a little wind off the water (it was over 90 degrees outside) and it was just beautiful sailing around the Toronto Islands.  With nice photo ops of the city.  I didn't bring a camera, but took a few shots with the camera in my cell phone -- if I ever figure out how to email them to myself, I'll stick 'em in the journal.

Came back, and went off to "Lord of the Rings -- the Musical."  I know.  But when you take two things I like so much ("Lord of the Rings" and musicals) and put them together in a city I happen to be in -- well, that's a train wreck I just have to see.  Am happy to report it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared.  This isn't to say it was good, mind you.  All the hobbity folk songs weren't bad, and I could even stomach all the New Age songs the Elves sang, but, um, Aragorn just shouldn't sing.  That's wrong on so many levels.  You also can't compress the whole story into 3 1/2 hours without seriously compromising the narrative.  Hell, Peter Jackson put it all into, what? 10 or 11 hours of movie, and even he took flak for leaving stuff out.  But this was so compressed, it was funny.  Gimli:  I hate elves.  Next scene:  Wow, Galadriel is pretty.  I nearly got whiplash.

Came back to the hotel (stopped at Subway on the way for some dinner -- am extremely proud of myself that it was Subway rather than McDonald's), and went to bed.  Walking back, a father with a little daughter stopped me and asked if I know how to get to Union Station.  I responded, "Hey!  Wait!  That's one I know!" and gave them directions.  :)

This morning, I was up at 9 to call the rafting people.  They still don't have anyone else rafting with me on Thursday, but now the thunderstorm has moved from Thursday to Wednesday, so I'd really like to raft on Thursday.  Can I call back at 2:00 today?  I can.

This means I've got to pack everything up and check out of the hotel as planned -- hoping to make my tight connection to Ottawa -- and also hoping more people choose to raft on Thursday.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

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