Toronto (actually rimes with Totoro)
Was about eating and more eating. >_>
(Photos: Saturday | Sunday | Monday)
The week before going, my mom called her friends in Toronto and was then told that her old friends from that same school in Vietnam (who were classmates of my mom and pop later in Montreal) were having their annual get-together party on the same weekend. So the food was terrible on Saturday night (Chinese fondue for 50+ people, how do you expect that to be good?), but I met a lot of new people (the kids) and some I probably may've met before (the parents). A surprising evening anyways with bad food, pretty good refreshing conversation and socializing at random. Next door from the fondue place was a cosmo-bowling range facility (in the dark with fluo lights) where we played after dinner (a break from watching the older folks being taught salsa by one of the kids couple). The day after we had (again pretty bad) all-you-can-eat sushi at one new place called Saké (what can you expect for 20CAD per head?) on the ground floor on the Southeast corner of the Pacific Mall (太古廣場), certainly the largest and most well-known Chinese shopping mall in Toronto.
During the day on Sunday, I wandered Pacific Mall, a maze of a shopping mall, totally organized like mini-malls in China (small shops arranged in uniform rows, such that you can never tell whether you walked somewhere before). A gruesome 3-hour experience where I spent 0$, for not wanting to give hand to triads (all DVDs are pirated), and not finding some of the less-than-pop Japanese stuff I usually like (let's see, they had Ayumi, Do As Infinity, Misia, Ai Otsuka, L'Arc-en-Ciel, Ayumi?). (And went for a 2-hour hunt at giant Canadian-Chinese supermarket with all the attributes of a supermarket, packed with Chinese people and food...)
Still, great Chinese food. is the only reason to come to TO. It's a very different country. It feels like being in a different country. We went downtown on Sunday morning, to take quick pictures of landmarks (CN Tower, Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, Chinatown, UoT, Queen's Park, University Avenue) and everything seems so much bigger and spaced out. The Chinese suburbs, Markham and Richmond Hill are just so infinitely uniform and extended. To someone who didn't bring a map along (nor did my parents) and who doesn't make the usual effort to find oneself on a map when in a new city, the illusion of repetitiveness is just too strong to cope with. The suburbs are built like how I build my cities on SimCity (I choose a flat piece of land if I can, and then I write down roads perfectly parallel and perpendicular to each other, and fill with low density residential areas). Suburban Toronto must be extremely boring, and even more difficult to cope with than Suburban Montreal.
On Saturday night, I caught the Margaret Cho stand-up "I'm The One That I Want" on the Bravo channel and stayed up until 3:30AM b/c of it. >_>
Even a trip to Toronto can change you from home. And I guess I am a somewhat mature, confident and independent person who just hasn't had the chance to bloom. Food is great, and if you can't have it in Montreal, you can still learn to make it (quite more rewarding also).
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