Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | November 30, 2011

Attempts at Learning to Love Toronto: Day Six

Well, I tried.  If you’ve been reading this journal set up to this point, you know I’ve put in an effort.  Maybe not the greatest effort in the history of all the efforts ever made in anything, but I certainly gave it as best a shot I could without endless time and money at my disposal.  This best shot has failed.  I really, really do not love Toronto.  And there was clearly no efforts on the universe’s part to make me love it, because I did not see Margaret Atwood or any other celebrities today.  I didn’t even see a Twilight kid.  So no, I do not love Toronto.

Toronto is so big. It’s so expensive.  And it has rained on me for three days which, while I find it charming in Vancouver, here,  not so much. Epic fail, Toronto.

BFF and BFFH had a similar schedule today as they did yesterday, so hopes to get a car and subsequent ride to my hotel flew out the window.  After they’d gone to catch their lift to set, I showered and packed up my things, then called a cab to take me to my airport hotel. It was an expensive cab ride because the airport is a gazillion miles away from anything useful.  I think it took at least half an hour to get to the airport, probably longer, and it was a low traffic time. Lord help anyone who makes the journey at peak hours.

It was early for check in when I got to the Hotel Carlingview, so it didn’t surprise me when a room wasn’t ready.  I asked to store my things in the office (the offer wasn’t volunteered) so I could go to lunch while I waited.  I went to the Mr. Greek in-house restaurant, where I had a coffee, spanakopita, and greek salad.  It was very delicious and reasonably priced.  I took my time and read, so it had been close to an hour when I checked back at the desk.  The concierge indicated she had a room ready for me, so I checked in instead of going straight out for a walk.

When I got to the room, the door was propped open and, even though no one was inside, the linens weren’t on the bed and there was a vacuum in the room. Figuring they just weren’t finished and stepped out on a break, I put my suitcases in the room, closed the door so it locked and only housekeeping staff could get in, and took that walk, in an effort to maybe to a little final shopping.

The rain was coming down pretty steadily, but I tramped on, past the coffee shop to see if there were any stores in the area.  I passed one: a store called Cupid’s Boutique (where they sell, shall we say, “romantic aids”, complete with its windows papered out, right by a gentlemen’s club called The Landing Strip and a Hooters. I cannot make this stuff up.  Needless to say, I did not venture in to do a little Christmas shopping.

I wandered around for about an hour and my raincoat help up super well.  I’m glad I decided to pack it as my light coat rather than my pea coat, which is gorgeous but rather bulkier.  Still, my jeans got pretty wet on the way back to the hotel, and my uncovered head took on drown rat qualities, to the point where the cashier at the coffee place I stopped at sympathetically offered to get me a paper towel.

Once I made it back to the hotel with my hot chocolate, I went back to the room. It was in exactly the state I left it in.  I inquired after it at the front desk, and she called housekeeping.  It turns out there was a mix-up, and she heard (or was told) 109 when the room done was 107.  So the concierge checked me into 107, then I got my stuff and moved next door, ready to take of my wet and uncomfortable jeans and hang them on the radiator to dry before dinner. My hair and face were so wet, I actually heard dripping. At least that is what I thought at first, until I realised that the dripping was actually coming from the ceiling.  There was a leak in my roof.  Back to the desk I went.

Of course, then I had to get a whole new room.  A room that wasn’t ready.  Which meant another 20 minutes sitting in my cold and damp jeans, waiting for housekeeping to finish yet another room for me.

As a sidebar, please let me note that, on occasion, the mother unit has suggested I’m a bit of a princess when it comes to hotel choices.  I usually pick places that are not five star hotels, but are certainly a little pricy and built for comfort.  Now, when I picked this hotel, I chose it because it was cost-effective and the reviews were good for its price range, which is on the lower end, and this is not the first time I’ve stayed in an inexpensive place.  Contrary to what my mom believes, I don’t need a hotel that pampers me all the time.  But in this instance, I do have to say that there’s something to be said for those (slightly!) pricier places. I’m fairly certain there I might have been offered a discount or something given the gong show of my check-in experience, but not here.  And given I had a leak on the first floor, related to the rain on the third story roof, I’m thinking I have a few reasons to check out a different hotel the next time I’m in Toronto.

The rest is really not very interesting.  I dried my jeans on the radiator, as mentioned above.  Put them back on to go to dinner down the road at a place called Casey’s, because I don’t like eating at the same place twice in a row even if it does mean going back into the rain.  I had a hamburger (bacon cheeseburger) and sweet potato fries, which tasted pretty much the same as any other bacon cheeseburger you’ll eat.  I did have a fancy drink – a Blueberry Acai Pomegranite Frost, which included some coconut rum in addition to those berry juices.  It was very delicious. The wait staff didn’t ask me if I wanted a second drink and weren’t very attentive, so I decided not to bother with dessert and came back to the hotel.  And here I sit.  I have a very early day tomorrow – 4:30 wake up to catch a 7:00 a.m. flight, and that’s Toronto time, meaning a 2:30 start on Yellowknife time. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that, or to going home to -30C with wind chills of -40, but I will be glad to get back to my own place and say goodbye to Toronto.  And, barring that slim chance of a celebrity encounter, this will be the last entry for this trip.  Stay tuned for my next adventure – a trip to Hawaii in late December.  Now THAT I am looking forward to.

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