Travelogue Canada 1: Joburg – Heathrow – Toronto

October 2009


almost didn’t get out of the airport, thanks to Virgin and changing the boarding gate at the last minute without warning. still, manage to get on (3rd last passenger) and score the emergency exit seats.

flight was without incident – bar the battle of wits it took to convince the steward that chicken OR beef could actually be chicken AND beef. am pleased to report that the chicken casserole and roast beef and mash were equally yummy and worth the effort.

the heathrow 5 hour stop-over went by faster than anticipated thanks to:
1) hmv sale: have narrowed it down to about 176 items (totally the GDP of a small African country, say The Gambia) which i will obsess over until my return to heathrow next next sunday
2) a take-away called EAT. which does an awesome toasted swiss cheese and hickory ham croissant
3) marion keyes, officially my new favourite travel partner

made friends with the old duck next to me on the air canada flight. she’s from winnipeg, which is where i’m headed, and has been on the polar bear tour which she says is AMAZING (always good to hear).

enlisted the help of the travel aid desk (an australian – they really are everywhere) to sort out my stay here in toronto. had arrived with no plans and an open mind and we sussed the best plan to be the Canadiana hostel and public transport. the polar bear people had recommended hotel @ $138 for the night and coach @ R28, we managed hostel @ $30 (+$5 deposit for towel and $5 deposit for linen) and $2.25 for the transport, which was a bus and 2 undergrounds depositing me 2 blocks from the hostel.

found it easy enough. and luckily the evening’s planned actvity was free pool, so showered and headed out to The Charlotte Room with a motley bunch of people from all over. played shocking pool, but blame the table as is half size as opposed to the thirds we have at home. not enamoured with $6.25 a pint either!

headed out from there for a flit through chinatown and little italy, stopping to Fast Food Meze along the way with a KFC snacker (difficult choice as there’s SO much we don’t have at home. was conflicted about starch choice as didn’t want a whole chips and mash & gravy so couldn’t justify the $8 and don’t like the whole sloppy poutine experience they have with chips drizzled in mash and gravy), Taco Bell double cheese tortilla and a McD’s cheese and bacon burger (SO the future – we NEED them at home!!)

then ambled through the main bar streets – Queen St and King St West – and headed for home, which is bunking (literally) in a Quad room i’m sharing with an Indian and French girl. they’re both ‘living’ here at the hostel so it feel more like a slumber party.

was asleep by 23h30 and woke naturally at 06h45 which leads me to believe that my bio-rhythms think they’re home!

am waiting for my free pancake breakfast – at 09h00 (these people areso civilised,breakfast from 9-10 AND they have free wireless even in a hostel. EVERYONE wanders around with their laptops – as you can imagine i feel very left out!)

today i’m going on a city tour – and hope to find a wendy’s, BK and Popeye along the way for snacks and nibbly bits – then it’s to the airport to meet philippa and off to winnipeg.

will keep in touch as and when possible!