Flash, bang ......... (19th July)
Didn't sleep well last night due to noisy air conditioning continually switching itself on and off. Walked over to check in and found we were 2.5 pounds overweight which would have cost us a massive $75. My raincoat had to be retrieved from the suitcase and hey presto, we were allowed through.
The news from Lords was excellent, with the England tail wagging and then the Aussies bowled out over 200 behind. Would prefer a tighter match as this Aussie team seems much too lightweight to compete in two back to back Ashes series. We are a good team (at the moment) but do need some competition. It wasn't that long ago that they whitewashed us and McGrath, Ponting and Warne were reigning supreme.
It was an uneventful three hour flight until about fifteen minutes outside Toronto. The Captain came on and said we might experience some slight turbulence as we descended into Toronto due to a few storms in the area. It was certainly very cloudy and we had the usual stomach turning a few times before we unexpectedly went nearly 90 degrees to avoid a big black cloud ........ falling a few hundred feet simultaneously, which brought audible gasps from fellow passengers. Circled the airport a few times, getting lower and continuing to shake violently one way and then the other. Sue was clasping my arm tightly as we landed and then everyone started to clap the pilot for getting us down alive !
Having landed, we went to baggage reclaim in expectation that a few moments later we would be on our way and shortly relaxing in our Fairmont room in downtown Toronto. Best laid plans and all that. It seems that Toronto baggage handlers are somehow allergic to rain, especially if there is also thunder and lightening involved ! A 'red alert' had been called which effectively closed the airport down with nothing taking off and flights being diverted, but more important to us, nothing being unloaded from the planes which had just landed.
So we waited, and waited, and waited. They managed to get a few bags off the Vancouver flight which had landed just before us but then another scary lot of thunder and lightening came so they stopped work again. Eventually, over two hours after we had landed, they announced that they had managed to get one lot of bags off our flight and about 15 minutes later both our cases appeared ! Much relieved, we went to find our driver to take us to our hotel.
We are currently relaxing in the bar having needed two Cranberry Cucumber Mojitos and two Piña Coladas to aid our recovery from yet another death defying adventure !
A walking tour (20th July)
One of the problems with arriving in a new city is that you have no idea where everywhere is and you could spend days finding out what is available and where you should have gone had you known. Before we came away I found a website which allowed you to chose a personal tour guide to give you a walking tour of their city so that you can meet the ground running. Today, we met Barry.
Not the most extrovert of characters, Barry proved an excellent guide as we walked several blocks from the Royal York to visit areas we wouldn't otherwise have been to. We went into Union Station, right across from our street, which only has six trains each day. We briefly visited the Lawrence Street Market and Saint James' Park which has a lovely cathedral which The Queen visits when she is here. Saw a building shaped like an old iron which is owned by a Gooderham (need to check his lineage as Sue has a few of them from the Norfolk area). After walking through the financial district, we went down under the city to what is called "PATH" for a deserved drink. This is very much like the underground city in "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", for you film buffs out there. Before Barry left us to our own devices, we saw the Hudson Bay Company building before reaching our final destination, the Eton Center, a huge shopping mall, where he left us.
Lunch was crepes, both savoury and sweet in the Urban Eatery. Afterwards we walked to the Old Town Hall, followed by City Hall and then Nathan Philips Square which had fountains and music. Finally, we walked down Bay Street to the water front and had an ice cream before it was back to the hotel for a much deserved rest.
STATUS : Need
to find out the basics of baseball before seeing the Blue Jays v Tampa Rays
this afternoon. Someone mentioned a skinny base in the lift yesterday ?
Let's go Blue Jays, lets go ? (21st July)
Before going to the game this afternoon, we went up over 1130 feet to the observation deck in the CN Tower, which provides a 360 degree panorama of Toronto and the surrounding area, sometimes up to 100 miles in the distance. It was certainly spectacular and was very busy with group visits. Not as informative as the tower in Vancouver but, I would say, better than the tower in Calgary. We are getting rather blasé about towers and their glass bottom walk ways ...... none of which we have stood on !
The Blue Jays are very popular in Toronto and seem to play in a North American league. Their shirts are everywhere with the names of their 'star' players, and I use the word advisedly, emblazoned on the back, a la Beckham. It seems their stars were mostly in the past and today we were celebrating Tony Delgarno being entered into the Blue Jays Hall of Fame. As two of the first 20,000 spectators today,we both received a celebratory baseball, which was nice. Sue's niece, Emily, who we would have been visiting in Toronto, had she not been in England for a family wedding, had advised us where we should sit, and I had successfully purchased a pair of tickets before we started our trip. They were excellent seats, so thanks Emily !
As far as the game is concerned, I was really trying to get my head round the scoring and what was happening on the pitch, but I have to admit most of it was impossible to fathom, and, for the most part, exceedingly boring. We decided, after nearly three hours, that watching Geoff Boycott on one of his slow days would have been more exciting. Why did they keep failing to hit a round ball, and, when they did, they hit it skywards and were caught out ? Mad ! Pleased to report that the last 15 minutes, after some spectators had already left, were the most exciting and, from a 1-4 deficit, the crowd at last got behind their team in the final end (or us it an innings ?) to rouse their players into making a comeback and only losing 3-4. My suggestion to the team, should they be interested, is that next time they try to hit the ball more and don't leave it until the end of the match to instil some passion into their game.
The crowd were good to watch and provided more entertainment than was on the pitch, and the star turn was their mascot who did more running about than any of the p!ayers !
STATUS : Baseball
? Can't really understand how so many people can pay to watch something which
is less exciting than tiddlywinks ....... Geoff Boycott on one of his slow days
would have given more entertaining.
most of the time listening to the couple behind us who did nothing but moan !
The seats weren't as good as last time, then it was too sunny, then the man was
annoyed by the stupid people behind who were talking too loudly
and then the
children next too them were being a nuisance. All of which was at the top of
his voice with increasing levels of swearing. The actual baseball appears to
need little skill and goes on and on and on !
Missing the Holiday Inn near Linda's, we had our evening meal at Casey's Grill & Bar. Food wasn't as good but there was a lively atmosphere.