We disappeared…went to…CANADA!!!

i’m back – trying to get back into the world of blogging – i have been sucked into the world of "Hubby-Travels-All-The-Time-For-Work", "Being-Mummy-&-Homemaker", "Book-Reseller", "Dealing-With-IMPT-Decisions", "Escape-To-FB" & did i mention "Hubby-Working-Lots" world…

Anyhow, that’s the back story to why, how come we went to Canada in the middle of February & left our blog starving…

Ok that was melodramatic… thot i needed to make something of our long absence from blogsphere…

Yes so we did go to Canada – Toronto, to be specific. Walter had been away every week in January & the company was sending him for an extended period during the February 2-week Sports Vacation – so he asked if we could go along & they said yes 😀 So 4 days after Walter left, Tobias & myself packed our bags & joined him on 11th Feb for 9 days in Toronto, Canada…

Why do i keep repeating Canada? Well, cos it has been the talk of the town since the Winter Olympics was just held there & since they won 14 gold medals on home soil!!! Well Done Canada!!! (No i’m not Canadian & not likely to become one either in the near future – don’t qualifiy)

So back to our Toronto trip – it was nice! We got to visit friends (actually stayed with them for the Chinese New Year weekend) & i finally got to see my cousin, Kelvin, after donkeys of years. He went there to get his degree & never came back – well, he had returned to Singapore for visits but not often & in the last 10 years or so, i’ve always missed his visits – so it was a good time catching up. His 2 boys are soooo big now – Tobias had great fun playing Wii with them. Here’s a photo of the 3 of them, engrossed in the game while my cousin takes a nap 😉

We celebrated Chinese New Year (sort of celebrated) with The Wongs – our friends (former pastoral family) from Singapore – they kindly took us in for the weekend. We had yummy steamboat Chinese New Year Dinner! Then as it was Family Day the Monday after – we went to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) with them to see this guy talk about Dinosaur Poop! That’s right – he even wrote a book about it. It was a very interesting talk/presentation (aimed at children) but Tobias really isn’t into dinosaurs – not in the big way which Dan (our friends’ son) is. Here’s a photo of all the kids at the Wong’s (didn’t remember to get out the camera more – too busy catching up ;p )

We had our fill of Asian food while there – we had Chinese, Japanese, Korean & even Singaporean food – my cousin showed me where there was a Singapore Restaurant, called Lion City, near our hotel! It was good – so great to have yummy, delicious, can’t-get-here food, especially since we have pushed our annual trip to Singapore back to July (school holidays are longer then).

Oh A Special Thank You to the Wongs for watching Tobias while Walter & myself had a nice Korean dinner out on Valentine’s Day – which was also Chinese New Year 1st Day.

There is only one complain i have – the bus/subway system is terrible there – ok maybe it’s not that terrible once you understand how it works but it is nowhere near as good as here or even Singapore. My major frustration was that most bus stops don’t tell you what buses stop there – no indication of the bus numbers at all! There are a few major buses stops which show what numbers stop there & what’s their end destination but it really doesn’t help a tourist. Ok maybe it’s just in the suburbs – we were in the area near to the airport – that’s where the office of the customer is. But i asked around & they say unless it’s downtown Toronto, you’ll have to drive – so if you ever plan on visiting & traveling outside of Toronto (even to the suburbs), rent a car! Here’s a picture of the bus stop next to our hotel, just to show you what i mean:

(See that little orange sigh, attached to the pole? That’s the bus stop! & that’s Tobias doing his "Stop-the-bus" hand signal.)

We did rent a car but Walter used it for work – so i said we would bus or train it – thinking how hard can it be – some people have to take public transport, right? Well, the hotel staff had no clue how to take a bus & had to even search in a back room cupboard for a bus guide/map for me. The 1st day, Tobias & myself, walked 20mins to get to the rail station, only to find out that we can’t take the rail into the little town centre (not downtown Toronto) of the area we were in. The bus i thought we could take only ran perk hours. The rail staff directed us to walk another 40mins to the bus terminal to catch the bus into the town centre. But the "good" news is that by our last day there i had figured out the bus system (at least from our hotel) & was able to get into the town centre in 1 hour with minimal walking 😀

But it was all good experience – at least now i sort of understand their system & if we are ever there again, i know what i’m doing.

Oh oh i nearly left out our very very eventful flight to Tornoto.

We left in good time to get to the airport & then found a super long queue at the check-in counter – there was a whole row of counters but only 3 were opened! So it took us longer than expected to get checked-in. We sort of rushed to the gate, only to find out that boarding had been delayed. Technical difficulties on the plane. Then we finally boarded. The plane backed out of the gate & then simply stopped there for quite a long time. When we started moving again, the captain explained that the plane in front of us had technical difficulties & could not move so neither could we & because of this delay we had lost our place in the de-icing queue & had to re-queue. (Tobias did have a good time watching the de-icing)

So we left late, very late. We flew Swiss to Toronto but had to catch a connection in Montreal. i was concerned about catching the connection but was told more infor would be available nearer our arrival in Montreal. Upon arrival at Montreal, they said all connections at 5pm & after are ok. That’s us. But with having to collect the bags & the bottle-neck getting out of the baggage area, we got to the connection counter with 30mins to flight. Got told by one lady we would have to get on another flight – got told by the next lady, we should be able to make it if we ran – so we threw our bags onto the belt & ran for it. Got to the security check only to encounter another super long line – security personnel at the end of the lines would not let me through & said i had to queue. A kind gentleman told us that they were calling for people with connecting flights earlier – we went to the top of the line & asked. This lovely man (apparently the chief security personnel) stopped the queue, looked for the shortest line & sent us through. They still took a while to scan our hand luggage & then we ran & ran… Tobias was a real sport – he was tried & asked to stop but i said we would miss our plane & he just picked up & ran some more – sooooo proud of him!! We made it! But our bags didn’t so had to wait an hour in Toronto for our bags – sigh!

Here are a few more photos to round off this post:

(Tobias looking up at the tall ceiling in the Town Hall)

(View from our hotel)

(University Of Toronto School – apparently only really super smart people get to go here)

The other "big" thing was that Tobias got to watch his 1st cinema movie – 1st time in a cinema to watch a movie – he picked to watch Alvin & the Chipmunks – The Squeakquel.

(Opposite Square One, where the cinema was)

Did i like Toronto? Hate to say – i didn’t really get to explore much of the city, saw a few things only in brief. We mainly stayed in the area our hotel was in (Mississauga) & visited people & not places. One interesting place was the Playdium – a big arcade/games place which Tobias loved. There was that big mega mall – Square One. Oh there was also the Dixie Outlet Mall – worth a visit if you are after a bargain. On the one hand, i’m not much into big cities & i’m so spoilt by all the lovely architecture here – big cities just don’t have that architectural aspect. On the other hand, it is a city i would visit again – there are some interesting spots i wanna check out next time – especially the museums & china town.


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