Sunday, July 09, 2006

Walkathon Monday

Hard as it may be to believe, I still have not finished the entire account of my trip to Canada. Being one of those people who have to finish off what they started, I have to put down this last (yeah, really, it is the last part for the Canada trip) part. So, with a promise to myself to not write quite so detailed travelogues in future, here it goes. BTW, in case you are hunting, here are links to parts one, two, three and four.

So anyways, Monday was the last full day of stay for me in Canada. As there was not much time left for sightseeing, Shilpa and I decided to mainly spend time in Toronto downtown and in The Islands. In order to get an early start to the day, I optimistically set the alarm for 7.00a in the morning (when will I ever learn?). As usual, after many snoozes, we finally got up around 9.00a. So far, so good. But it turned out that both of us were rather lethargic after all the activities of the previous day - so we just lazed about for quite sometime after getting up. It was well past 11.00a when we finally set off to the bus stop.

Unlike the first day, we had to wait for quite some time before the bus finally arrived. The waiting wouldn’t have been so bad but for the fact that the day was scorching hot. It did not help that the bus stand was constructed of transparent material. It looked very cool no doubt but the designer had evidently not considered the fact that, on a hot summer day, standing under a transparent roof is equivalent to not standing under it. Anyways, by the time the bus arrived, about 40 minutes later, S and I were already exhausted.

From there it was to the GO bus stand from where we had to get the bus to downtown. Obviously our luck as regards transportation had changed. The next bus would arrive an hour later. An hour? An Hour? So S and I stood for another hour at the bus stop (the bus shelter felt like an oven so we could not sit inside). Finally, we boarded the bus and arrived at downtown. There, we learnt that the Toronto Transit Authority had gone on a flash strike. So no trams or public buses were operating that day. Great! Our day of sightseeing was turning into a total nightmare.

But S and I are made of stern stuff when it comes to sightseeing - so we bravely plodded on by walk to the ferry terminal. We were planning on taking the ferry to The Islands. But before boarding, we had to have some lunch - it was already past lunchtime. We finally wound up getting food from a grocery cum fast food store! I don't know if it was because of my hunger or not but the pizza we had there was one of the best I have ever tasted.

After lunch, it was on to the terminal. Finally, we lucked out - the ferry to The Islands left almost immediately after we bought our tickets - no waiting for transportation, hooray! From the waters of Lake Ontario, we got an awesome view of the Toronto downtown. The skyline looked really cool. The breeze as we sat in the ferry cooled us off considerably and was a welcome relief from the sun. As we approached The Islands, we saw lots of greenery and a quaint arched bridge. It looked promising!

The Islands is a tourist destination which consists of three, what else, islands. I don't know what their original purpose was, but now these are completely developed into centers for recreational activities. We landed at the Centre Island. The first thing we noticed was the serene greenery that surrounded us on all sides. We spotted a board which actually encouraged people to walk on the grass! There were rolling grasslands dotted with maple trees. A lake with occasional ducks and a steamer on it made the place look like something out of "Tom Sawyer". It was beautiful!

We had picked up a map of the place. Our first destination was a maze. S and I traversed it. It was a small one - nevertheless it gave us the feeling of being in the Harry Potter book four :-D! By now, we had walked quite a bit and it was time to rest. The soft grass made a comfortable bed and I would have fallen asleep had S not poked me awake!

All this while, we had seen many people riding a strange cycle rickshaw type contraption. We found that it was called a "quadricycle" and we could rent one and drive it around the island. We rented it and briskly pedaled away. It was really good fun and we covered a lot more distance and attractions on the islands than we would have had we decided to walk. After half an hour of brisk pedaling, we returned the quadricycle and strolled to the beach.

The beach had a jetty sticking out into the water. From there we had a good view of the Ontario lake as well as the CN Tower. As usual we got obsessed with taking pictures which would make us look like we were holding the CN tower in our hand. We did managed to get a couple of them but not before irritating the heck out of the other visitors with our constant "move left, move right, lift your hand, lower your hand, aaargh - follow my directions" ;-)!

Beside the beach they also had a row of stones in the water - it reminded us so much of the bridge to Lanka in the Ramayana! We spent some more time strolling around. By this time it was getting late. Factoring in our travel time to get back home, it was time to head back. We stopped on the way at a restaurant for iced tea. It was heavenly in the hot sun and I finished the contents of my tall glass in two gulps!

There was a short wait for the return ferry but the evening had cooled down and the wait was not as tiring as before. Once we got back to the mainland, we had to again resort to walking due to the transportation strike. We wanted to see The Path - Toronto's underground shopping destination. We managed to find it all right but we were either at the wrong segment of The Path or were there at the wrong time. Anyhow, we did not find it very impressive. By this time, we had added another mile or so to our rapidly growing "Number of miles we walked today" chart. The immediate need of the hour was energy-boosting coffee.

Shilpa remembered seeing a Tim Horton's on Bay Street the last time we were in downtown. We walked in the direction dictated by her hazy memory and mercifully found it on the first try. Once at the store, we got a whole bunch of Tim Bits and two cups of coffee and spent close to an hour cooling our feet there. After recharging ourselves, we set off to the Union Station, where we had to get the GO bus.

Since we were early, we thankfully got seats on the bus. The bus eventually got overcrowded (which apparently is unusual) due to the transport strike. From there it was back to Missisuaga. We took a break in between to shop for some stuff for S's aunt's house and finally headed back home.

There was good food awaiting us. S's cousins eagerly welcomed us - "let us make the video, let us make the video!". S had promised to make a dance video featuring them. We were of course tired - but a promise is a promise. C had actually made notes about what steps to dance! Both B and C had dressed up in good clothes for the "video-shoot". So S set up the camera and we all danced crazily for an hour. Finally it was time to go to bed.

S and me, as usual, spent a lot of time chatting, seeing pics etc. I was leaving the next day and we wanted to squeeze in as much talking as possible before that! Finally, when our eyes were involuntarily closing, we called it a day and went to bed.

The next day, S's uncle dropped me at the airport on his way to work. Surprisingly, immigration to the USA took place in the Toronto airport itself! This resulted in me getting very confused while answering the immigration officer’s questions. But I was hardly asked anything and made it through immigration without any issues. So I was officially inside the United States even in Canada!

The rest of the journey back home was a normal, looong coast to coast trip. I reached Cal in an extremely exhausted state. But the Canada trip had been simply awesome. The hospitality, the companions, the places we visited - everything, had been great!

And that concludes my Canadian Chronicles!

In case you are wondering, I have decided to stop giving ratings to my long trips as it is redundant. I usually take the trouble to write about trips with five star ratings only :-P!

Credit: All the photos in the posts about Canada were taken either by Shilpa or by me. Please to pay any royalties to us ;-P!

And, here are some announcements:

Tomorrow (July 10) is Shilpa’s birthday. Happy Birthday, girl :-D! Go, wish her folks! She is currently marooned (but happily so since Vikram is by her side :-)) in her internet-less place in Dubai!

Don’t miss Pirates of the Carribean, Part 2. Johnny Depp is simply awesome and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen whenever he was on it! Watch it for him!


dinesh said...

Nice pictures and a good write up. After your write ups, seems like I had been to another country without the hassles of finding deals/immigration/jet lags. Thank you !

Waiting to watch POTC-2. The part 1 was one of my all time favorites !

Prabhu said...

Nice pics as usual! Which camera do you use?

"The beach had a jetty sticking out into the water." - ROTFL :)
(Yaa, i know it is a 10th std joke, but still couldnt help it :)

Must see Pirates-2 sometime!

Archana Bahuguna said...

Nice chronicles :-).

And by the way that picture of water with sun/light's reflection is tremendous. You guys know some photography!

And Johnny Depp. Join the band of his ardent fans. After I watched Pirates of the Carribean part I, I was spell bound, waited for the part II so that I could watch him again in that role, saw it day before, and now I can't wait for part III. :-)

Archana said...

Dinesh - thank you, thank you :-D! I loved POTC-1 too (to think I did not watch it for a looooong time after it got released because I read somewhere that it was not too great). POTC-2 is a must-watch for Johnny Depp!

Prabhu - thank you :-D! Mine is a Canon A70 and Shilpa's is a Canon A75. I thought about the "joke" too while writing - we never grow up, do we :-P?

Archana - thank you :-D! Er, hard as it is to admit, taking those sparkles on the water was rather easy. I saw the sparkles and thought "hey, that looks pretty" and clicked the camera!! But yeah, you can praise my taste though...LOL :-D! Same here, as long as Johnny Depp acts in it, I am ready to watch Pirates, part 10 too!

Archana Bahuguna said...

And "Finally, when our eyes were involuntarily closing, we called it a day and went to bed" was a very funny description. I could not stop kaughing on this one!

Archana Bahuguna said...


Archana said...

Archana - LOL :-D - I kinda figured you could not have been "kaughing" over that line...hehehe! Now I am kaughing ;-P!

Saranya Kishore said...

Wow, nice post again Arch! And yes, I did think Canada series was over and you would start the NY series now. :--)

Johnny Depp, wow, looks like we have a lot of fans here. I got POTC 1 as a gift! :--) So we watched it again on Saturday as a prep to part 2. I loved the guy in the movie. In fact I think I have a fwd with the 'good' quotes from the movie somewhere, will dig it up.

Ginkgo said...

And that concludes.......

I did read that before commenting..
ah...u dont want the same ole statement, do ya ;)

Archana said...

Saranya - thank you, :-)! Oh, do send that quote list. I became a big JD fan after seeing POTC-1. POTC-2 confirmed that I hadn't erred :-)!

Ginkgo - paravaillai, you are progressing one sentence at a time - I am glad :-P!

Prasanna said...

love the pics man!

seri, where is our dear friend S? Has she gone to Dubai or some "graamam" that is not connected to www?

Archana said...

Prasanna - thank you, thank you :-)! After the number of positive responses, mez beginning to wonder if photography is my true calling ;-)! Our dear friend S is apparently being a good housewife in Dubai :-D - called her on her b'day. I really can't understand how anyone can survive without checking emails for so many days :-O! Dubai seems to be one cook-graamam!

spark said...

i know am kinda late here. splendid pix. nice walkalogue :)

Archana said...

Spark - Thank you :-D!

Shilpa said...

Hey Arch,
nice post da...i think I will just link ur posts to my chronicles of canada hehehe.

Thanks for the bday wishes.

I saw POTC-2 here...I guess I need to watch part 3 now !!!

Known Stranger said...

good photo alb

Kruti said...


It gives me to refresh my trip to Toronto Islands.A very good discription about the trip.

A well done.....