I’m here and the “here” where I am is straight from a mystery novel. I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, a rundown on the day’s events. This is what I would put in my journal if I were a journal writer:
Started the day at 3:38 a.m. after finally getting to bed just 3 hours and 32 minutes earlier. Made it to the airport with Tiff and Jonathan’s help with no microburst events or power outages and the flights were uneventful as well. Although I am ever the child needing to glue my nose to the scenes from the window, I did manage to meet my next seat neighbors on both the Salt Lake/Chicago and the Chicago/Toronto flights: the first was an Indian lady who immigrated about fifty years ago and is living now in Knoxville TN (next door to those beautiful Great Smoky Mts.) and the second was a tiny lady from Ethiopia whose only English was “no speak English”. Lest you think I’m being politically uncorrect as well as insensitive, that is an exact quote and so we mostly communicated with smiles, pats on the arm, nodding and wagging heads, I’m sure you can visualize it all. Delightful. I did figure out that her feet were bothering her though which, I felt, was tremendous progress.
Arrived in Toronto at 3:45 EDT, made it through Customs (yes, they did actually check my passport this time and even asked if I was going to return home to the States– hm…..), caught the bus and after circling the airport for about 45 minutes as buses seem to do wherever you are, finally got to the subway connection. I think bus drivers are an interesting lot, most must have had childhood dreams of being race car drivers. On second thought, it might be a national security strategy to so directionally confuse newly arrived travelers that when they do finally get out on their own they just end up going back the way they came! That would explain why I, being a geographer, on coming out of the subway tunnel, ended up getting on a streetcar going in the exact opposite of the direction I thought I was going! Good Grief. Why don’t these people set up some mountains so we know which way is East! Maybe Brigham was a tour guide of sorts — “this is the place.”
I finally made it to the bed and breakfast and read on the front door that I was supposed to call beforehand so that someone could be here to let me in. Uh oh. Oh well, I guess I’m not the only weakminded tourist that has come to town because Geoffrey was right here, on the spot to assign me keys and give me a tour. Yes, his name is Geoffrey and yes, he’s a Brit hailing from Lancashire. The Bed and Breakfast I found here for a very reasonable price for Toronto is Albert Pimblett’s Guesthouse and it is wonderful! There are old books everywhere, antique cameras and radios, steep narrow stairs, Potter closets and creaky wood floors. Geoffrey, it seems however, like our man Dick, is a hunter judging from the number of beasts hanging on the walls. At least we can hope that he doesn’t go around shooting his lawyer friends. Or maybe he does! I’ll probably not get close enough to him in my brief stay to ask that type of personal question!
My room is “The Agatha Christie Room” so who knows what will happen during the night! One thing is for sure — Geoffrey’s huge doberman (I didn’t know they got that big!), has been wandering around ever since I get here, her claws scratching on the wood floor. She’s definitely for real — spikes on her collar and everything. I don’t take her very seriously though because her name is Gerta and that sounds too much like either a fairy tale or an elderly German cook. Gerta reminds me of our cats because she stands right in your way then wonders why you are asking her to move. The narrow hallways and stairs don’t allow for more than one person let alone a huge dog and a person. If I’m staying here for ten days we’ll just need to work things out, she and I.
I wondered before I came why this place is priced so reasonably and was afraid that it would be in a not very attractive (at least for me!) district. As it turns out, it is in a district called “Cabbagetown.” Those of you who really know these things will be able to explain where that name comes from. My own personal reasoning for it say that perhaps it was originally the “working people” area and they lived on cabbages because they were poor. It’s not so poor now though; it is a fascinating section of town with late 1800’s gothic architecture row homes, most of which have been renovated and are absolutely lovely. I’m having trouble uploading my photos so hopefully I can sort that all out so you can see.
Although I haven’t seen a single Costco I have to give you a food update as well. I found a little Chinese take-out and the General Tso’s Chicken was fabulous! It was very hard to talk to the assortment of cooks because only one of the five spoke English. Where’s a Chinese speaker when you need him, anyway???!! The lady was able to communicate to me that she doesn’t get to eat until 10:00 at night and then only rice. This was while she was standing there watching me eat (yes, I was the only one in the place and yes, I felt pretty uncomfortable).
The Festival begins tomorrow so I will be telling you all about what I’m seeing (or not seeing and the reasons).