Travel bug- My Canada Top 12
After 12 days spent in Canada, mostly in Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival, I noticed and partook in some weird and wonderful things. Naturally, I joted some stuff down while on my travels and here is my TOP 12 on Canada:
1. Niagara Falls!!!!
Wow. The beauty of the falls is awe inspiring. The sound is incredible, and even though all the locals complain about how many tourists flock to see the falls annually, naturally I didn't mind- because as I had to remind them, I myself was a tourist eager to see this piece of mastery on the Creator's part.
2. The UBER drivers
We were staying quite far away from downtown (where #TIFF was taking place), so we relied a lot on UBER to get around. Toronto's UBER drivers were all super friendly, especially when they heard that we were all the way from "Africa" as they all twanged on hearing Johannesburg in our responses to them. But boy, oh boy, are they really bad drivers. I have to issue a disclaimer here though, I confess to be a particularly bad backseat driver, so take this with a pinch of salt if you will. However, I was travelling with one of my Besties, and she concurs with this assertion, their driving left much to be desired. Thankfully they made up for this, with oodles of good natured humour and personality.
3. Cocktail hour, was disastrous everyday!!
Shew! They drink some pretty strange cocktails these Canadians. I like to think of myself as rather experimental with my palate, simply put, I am not afraid of tasting new things...urm...not so fun when the cocktail comes back tasting like a bad version of the Floo shot. The friendly waitresses kept egging me on to try the famous 'Caesar' cocktail. So I did. Its like drinking Tomato juice, mixed with cayenne pepper, Tobascco sauce, BBQ spice, some alcohol I didn't recognise and a loooooonnnngggg squeeze of Lemon juice. Let's just say I am not in a hurry to try this again.
It looks like this...
Besides this disaster of a cocktail, every other attempt we made to order the normal classic cocktails like the Long Island Ice Tea or even the hard to mess up, Mojito, we were left sorely disappointed, and after 12 days of experimenting at different restaurants daily, we came to the conclusion that the Canadians are clearly good at other things!
4. The friendliness of the locals
Having travelled extensively to the US and the UK, I must say the people in Canada were a very pleasant surprise. They are genuinely very friendly. And I am not talking about the 'fake, sheepish type of friendliness' that seems forced, I mean real friendliness like we see at home. A huge part of why I like Toronto so much is definitely because of the people. I hear their winters are lethal, so maybe I should assess whether they are as friendly when they are freezing their arlies off- but for now, I give them 5 stars in this respect.
5. Salt frugality!
Perhaps its legislated by their health department, but these people are really frugal, no actually stingy with their salt. Almost everywhere you eat, you would probably request some salt, because the food although at times, really delicious, almost always tasted salt-less.
6. Movie-watching-heaven for film lovers!
Their cinemas are massive, and most of them spectacular as well. Besides the Scotiabank complex, the others are like old-school Opera theatres with Gallery style seating and draping. It was amazing to have watched amazing films like, 'A United Kingdom', 'Queen of Katwe' and 'Birth of a nation' in Toronto. Truly unforgettable in fact.
7. Road hazardary
Driving on their roads when you are used to cars coming from the other direction, is positively 'heart-attack-inducing' and it is not something me and my travel companion ever got used to. Personally I felt like it made the roads seem chaotic and disorganised, also downright dangerous. But I suppose its mostly because we are just not used to it, that it just didn't make sense to us.
8. Breakfast pancakes!
They make some really scrumptious breakfast pancakes, second only to pancakes that I had at a Diner in Hollywood.
9. WIFI Heaven
Toronto is WIFI heaven for people like us, who are not used to getting free WIFI everywhere we go, 24 hours a day. This is a true marvel for our social media loving generation, me included!
10. VISA Application
The VISA Application process is probably the worst one I have ever experienced. And trust me this is saying a lot, considering that the first time I ever applied for the US VISA, my application was denied. The Canadian VISA form even requests information about deceased half brothers and sisters...Lol! Considering how much I whined and whinged about the unabridged birth certificates issue that our Home Affairs introduced last 2 years, I can safely say, that I take back everything I said, and I apologise profusely. Lol!
11. Coffee loving of note
There is a huge coffee drinking culture in Canada. Yes the states have a Starbucks on every corner practically, but Toronto even takes this even further by not only having a #Starbucks around every 2nd corner, but they also have #TimHortons, #SecondCup and #AromaCoffees. I still prefer the Cappuccino at Starbucks though. In fact, we wanted, no let me rephrase, we Needed a cup every morning so badly, that Steph and I took to calling it 'crack'. Its addictive.
12. Toronto = Pretty City, but our SA suburbs are still much prettier
I always say travelling will either make you love your country more, or really despise it, and let me just state for the record that in terms of the beauty and general aesthetic of the place, there is nothing there that is in my opinion better than here at home, so pat yourself on the back- SA still Rocks!
- All in all, #Toronto was a great city to visit. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat! And people keep asking me if I would relocate to Canada, and to answer that, there isn't much to think about in that respect, because I would. It would be an easy adjustment after life in SA.
Til we voyage again- Adios!