morsla: (vnv)
Dear diary,

On the holidays, I went to Coruscant. It had suburbs named "Chicago" and "Toronto," but I wasn't fooled at all. As soon as the sun went down, all traces of the natural world disappeared from the landscape and I knew that I was a long way from the old-fashioned trees and rocks we have back home.

http://www.morsla.net/images/LJ/toronto_night01_small.jpg


More pictures under the cut... )
morsla: (Default)
It's almost 2am, and a taxi has just dropped me off out the front of the hostel. I've been at Niagara Falls today; a landmark that somehow manages to overpower the Las Vegas-style casino town that's growing on both sides of the river.

The falls, especially the upper rapids, are beautiful. It's a primal, savage beauty that says "don't f**k with me" to all the property developers, casino operators, and any shipping on the river. It's mesmerising to watch. A few metres from the top of the Horseshoe Falls is the rusting hulk of a cargo ship that was caught in the current - scuttled by its crew to prevent the whole thing being dragged over the edge.

The town surrounding it is well worth skipping entirely, and I'd happily avoid it if I come back to the area. I've enjoyed most of the meals I've had over here, but tonight's plate of spaghetti and meatballs from a tarted-up roadside diner (put some cloth on the table and you become a restaurant...) has been a culinary low point so far; costing an arm and a leg, and not tasting much better than the truckstop food in central Henan Province, China.

Still, if I have to visit any bloated tourist trap on this trip, I'd rather visit one with a waterfall capable of tearing through four feet of limestone each year :) I'm glad I went - good company, good photo opportunities, good day out.

It's when the day was winding down that things changed a little...

Half an hour out of Toronto, stuck in that grey limbo between offramps on the highway, we blew a tyre on the bus. The girl in front of me, drifting off to sleep, was sitting right over the wheel. I don't think I've ever seen someone wake up, jump out of their seat, and run to the other end of a bus quite so quickly...

Of course, changing a bus tyre isn't as simple as fixing a car. And the only company Moose can use for repairs had their one truck on the other side of Toronto, two hours away. So we sat, and talked, and waited.

Eventually, the driver called for cabs. Eventually, the cabs began arriving. It's a Thursday night, and the cabs were sent in from Oakville - not exactly a happening nightspot at the moment, so I think we used every cab in the area. Right now, I'm quietly packing my bags out in the hallway (so as to avoid waking people in the dorm) - I check out of the hostel at breakfast time, and I'm determined to get everything ready so I can beat the queue to the showers before then.
morsla: (Default)
Okay, so I'm not actually employed as a geochemist, but I have the qualifications for it. The joke in question is actually the story of last night's trip out to Queen Street.

Ever seen someone walk into a pub and shout "a round of drinks for everyone, on me" at the top of their lungs? Neither had I.

After a round of drinks at the Black Ball, four very loud Americans wandered onto the patio, offered to buy drinks, and then staggered back outside again. After a few comments from the crowd ('sure, just leave your credit card at the bar') everyone settled back down to their earlier conversations. Then the group came back in, sat at the table next to us, and called over the waitress.

"We'll have a round of vodka shots, and forty - no, fifty beers for my Canadian friends. Yes, I'm serious."

The buyer didn't seem to have any particular reason for doing it (he mentioned that his 50th was in two weeks, and then decided to announce that it was his birthday today), and he succeeded in getting the whole crowd to sing him Happy Birthday. After a quick speech ('this is a present to thank my loyal Canadian allies, from us angry, angry Americans') he tried to get a rousing "Oh Canada" going, but the patio was full of backpackers who had no idea of the words.

And then, as suddenly as they had arrivd, they paid the bill (platinum credit card), tipped the waitress (counting out a handful of American $20 bills), and they staggered off down the street. I don't know where they came from or where they went next, but I appreciated the drink.

I wonder what my next dose of randomness will bring...
morsla: (Dawn1)
So. Algonquin Park. It looks nice in the travel brochures - guess I'll have to cut out a picture to take home.

I called last week to book two tours, and the one on Thursday is still apparently going ahead - unfortunately my booking for the three-day trip to Algonquin has vanished into the ether. The tour company has no record of it, my name wasn't on the passenger list, and so I waited at the hostel for almost two hours before finding out that the bus left without picking me up...

I'm getting my money refunded, but I leave Toronto before the next tour departs. No national park visit on this trip. I also have another three days to fill in Toronto, after I ran around finishing all the things I really wanted to do.

Now to kill some time until they'll let me check back into the hostel I checked out of this morning...
morsla: (vnv)
Today, I am but a shadow of my former self - burned into a nightclub wall by brightly-coloured lasers...

Or perhaps shadow isn't the right word. I think 'residue' might be more apt. My god did I sweat a lot last night.

After two days of stubbornly willing my blisters to fade, I had recovered enough for a night out at DarkRave last night. Despite the queue stretching up the street and around the corner, I managed to get in just before 2300, and somehow managed to spend the next six and a half hours dancing flat out in a club that could serve double duty as a sauna (airflow? what airflow?), pausing only to gulp down another drink...

Good crowd, good music and friendly bar staff made for a pretty good night. The only thing I really missed (other than being able to breathe) was the lack of friendly faces in the crowd - especially [livejournal.com profile] aeliel and [livejournal.com profile] jilavre. Also, in Melbourne random people often come and chat between songs, or at the bar. Last night the only people striking up a conversation were looking for somewhere to buy pills...

I really shouldn't have found it quite so funny, but I amused myself during the night by watching the pill-poppers wilting one by one when they ran out of energy. As the music got faster a girl demanded to know what I was on, and wouldn't believe me when I told her that I was running on a couple of litres of water :) Exercise is good for you, kids. Let your body make its own chemicals.

The club had two rooms - the main room had Psyche headlining, bracketed by industrial and psytrance DJs. Generally good, but they proved that occasionally you can play too much Combichrist in an evening - understandable though as the band is touring here soon. The back room was run by the VampireFreaks group, and was... odd. Often odd in a good way, but the music was far too varied to rely on. The back room decks broke down in the middle of the night, falling silent halfway through a Skinny Puppy track. With only the occasional screech of feedback for company, one girl kept right on dancing to the music in her head...

The club was only five minutes from my hostel, but I took a two-block detour on the way home to pick up a litre of gatorade. Back at the hostel I had a shower, and slipped into my dorm at 0600 - just as my roomates were beginning to stir. It was a good night, and something I think I really needed. Now I just need to make it out to clubs more often back in Melbourne.

I'm heading out to Algonquin Provincial Park tomorrow, and will be back on Wednesday night sometime. Time to head away from the city for a while...
morsla: (Default)
I like what I've seen so far, in Toronto. Unfortunately I've covered so many kilometres of footpath sidewalk that I ended up hobbling about the place, blisters on both feet...

Hopefully my feet have recovered enough for a night out. Queen St. West is rapidly filling up with goths, and there's a shade more black on display in the hostel common room. DarkRave v.91 is on tonight, and it looks like fun - I'll head over there in a couple of hours, once I've had time to cook some dinner.

Jonathan and I spent the afternoon at the Airshow, volunteering for SmartRisk - we spent a few hours handing out giveaways, talking to people about the organisation, and being deafened by the jets flying overhead. A good way to spend an afternoon... plus, it got us in to the airshow without having to pay for the tickets. I think the F-22 takes the prize for loudest piece of military hardware on show, while the Canadian Snowbirds stunt team had some very sharp formation flying.

The only downside to spending eight hours in the sun is that I'm now glowing like the red paper lanterns that decorate chinatown at the moment, and I need to drink a few litres of water. I've just returned from the traditional Red Bull and Gatorade shopping run, and I'm looking forward to the club.
morsla: (Default)
I seem to have been swept up by the current in Toronto... I hit the ground running (mainly due to Jonathan's lightning one-hour street tour after meeting me at the airport), and haven't really stopped yet.

Last night's serendipitous discovery reminded me of watching films with [livejournal.com profile] fetnas, [livejournal.com profile] futurelegend and [livejournal.com profile] virtual_munkee... while walking up Yonge Street, I stumbled across the closing night of a free open-air cinema.

Not just any cinema, mind you. A twelve-week Sci Fi marathon, pulling a regular crowd every Tuesday night. For the final screening, they showed Fritz Lang's Metropolis, which in its original form was a silent epic spawning most of the science fiction film we've seen over the following eighty-odd years.

Not so silent here, as two local musicians (Cameron McPherson and Delivery Boy from Echo Deck) played two hours of live trip-hop to accompany the film. Very eerie, atmospheric sounds, adding a great vibe to the evening.

I also struck up a conversation with the person sitting next to me (frantically marking a stack of assignments he'd brought along), and my notebook now has a couple of pages of restaurant recommendations. One thing I've noticed about the city so far is that everyone's very quick to offer advice about everything from the food, to the public transport, to the sightseeing.

After the film finished, I wandered back to the hostel through Toronto's own metropolis. With the illuminated CN tower hanging half a kilometre above me, looking for all the world like some kind of spaceport, Toronto looks far more sci-fi than any 1920's vision of what the future would bring.

September 2014

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