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Friday, May 6, 2016

First Night in Toronto 4/7/2016

When I arrived to Toronto, I was amazed with all of the international visitors I saw. When I picked up my luggage from Pierson International Airport, I met a lot of people visiting from Pakistan. Their English was limited, but I talked to a woman briefly who knew a bit of English. They were visiting Canada too and were excited about their visit.

Whenever I fly, I always have problems with my ears... they're always hurting and it takes a good night sleep to relieve the pressure. I was feeling it when I was walking around the airport and asking about where I would find the bus to get to my bed & breakfast. The airport workers were friendly and told me there were two ways I could get to High Park: UP Express or TTC. UP Express is a new train that connects the airport to Union Station (hence UP stands for Union to Pierson) and is $10. It would also be a ten minute walk to my bed & breakfast. TTC would be $2, I could take the bus to the subway and I'm right in front of the bed & breakfast. I decided to go the TTC way; it was cheaper and while I do love to walk, since I wasn't yet familiar with the area... I wanted something that would leave me closer.

Before I hopped onto the bus, I had the airport workers explain the currency to me.I bought currency at the exchange stand in Philadelphia Airport and it looked like he gave me $5 bills, $10 bills, and a $20. I only had one coin, which I thought was interested. The workers explained loonies and toonies to me - they are dollar (loonie) and two dollar (toonie) coins. I was thankful that two citizens waiting in the airport broke a $10 bill for me so I could have some loonies and toonies for the bus. When I hopped onto the bus, the driver helped me with the fare. I felt stupid,but I am thankful for their help and patience. I also asked him where I would get off to get to Keele Station. He told me I'd get off at Kipling Station and take the subway to Keele.

It seems like most travelers take the TTC from the airport to their destinations because a lot of people from traveling from Pakistan hopped onto the bus too. As I was watching the scenery fly by me out the window, I was listening to some of the travelers speak Urdu, heard some other languages, and other people speaking English. At some point in the twenty minute commute to Kipling Station, I saw a sign for Hamilton fly by. I was debating contacting Moe, but since we had a little spat; I wasn't sure what my friends would think of it. But at the same time, it would be nice to meet him... but I was also tired and wanted to relax before deciding. As I put that thought to the side, I arrived at Kipling Station.

I saw the signs for the subway and before I walked down the stairs, I asked a transit cop which way I'd go to get to Keele Station. He said I would go westbound. I thanked him and walked down the stairs. I was amazed with how clean the station was! Yes, I took pictures because I couldn't get over how beautiful the station was. All of the stations were this beautiful and clean. It was really nice riding TTC because they were on time and run frequently.

It only took ten minutes to get to the bed & breakfast. When I walked the two or three minutes to the bed & breakfast, the way the house looked made me smile. It was so beautiful. I knocked on the door and was welcomed by the owners, as well as Fendi, their dog. I also met their cat April and played with her for a bit. I was shown around and I spoke to the bed & breakfast owners and they never heard of the seafood place in Mississauga. Since I never heard from them and their number was disconnected, I decided to stay local. They said that there are a lot of restaurants around that I could walk to. I decided that I would try Ali Baba's.

Despite the cold weather, I had a really nice walk. I love the cold, though. At first I went the wrong way, but before I knew I went the wrong way, I saw this interesting display. I think they were either dogs or wolves. It was in front of what looked like an art school:

As I walked a little bit more and walked past the library, I saw this pigeon sitting in front of the library. I love pigeons for some reason and had to take pictures of the pigeon lounging. He caught wind I was taking pictures and it looks like he was posing for me. :)

After I was told I was going the wrong way, I was pointed in the right direction. I thanked the man and turned around to go the right way. On the way to Ali Baba's, I ran into a college student. I asked him if this was the right way and we walked to the restaurant together... or at least until he arrived at his location, but his location was two minutes away from Ali Baba's. When I arrived at  Ali Baba's, I was amazed at all the choices of halal food. I could have chicken poutine or chicken schwarma, or lamb, or fish. I decided on the chicken schwarma. I'm glad I went because that was the best chicken schwarma I've ever had. The chicken was tender and unlike the experience I had at Kebab Cafe in Philadelphia, my tooth wasn't hurting after I ate the chicken. The chef cooking for Ali Baba's used a wonderful spice combination. The lentil rice that came with the chicken was also awesome.

I had Turkish Delight for dessert. After dinner I wanted to walk around a little bit. I also needed to get day passes from TTC since I rely on transit. I walked to the station near Ali Baba's and bought my tickets. Again, I needed some help with the loonies and toonies, the TTC worker was friendly and really helped. I asked him some other questions about the day passes and he was extremely helpful. I annoyed one commuter who was in a hurry, but other than that, people in Toronto were extremely nice. I bought the TTC tickets with my credit card, but I wanted to go to Danforth Avenue to walk around a little bit and needed to pay with cash. 

I was a bit surprised how long it took to get to Danfort Avenue, however. It was fun riding around and listening to residents talk about different sections of Toronto. I will admit I was eavesdropping because I was curious to hear about events or attractions I could possibly see. I also struck up some conversations with people.

I loved walking around Danforth Avenue and stopped off at a tea place. Around 8 PM I decided to go back to the bed & breakfast, unwind in front of the fireplace and sleep. When I arrived back to the bed & breakfast it was snowing a little bit. The snow looked so pretty falling in front of the bed & breakfast.

I settled in for the night, turned on the fireplace and worked on my book for a little bit with the Simpsons playing in the background. It was the episode where Homer was a grunge star. When that ended, I turned on a Canadian music channel that was playing grunge music. I turned up the fireplace, settled into bed, and listened to grunge music until I fell asleep. 

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