The Layovers: D.C. and Toronto.
When I first planned my trip, I had only intended to go to New York and London. But D.C. was so close, and I wanted to take some pictures, as well as go to the Smithsonian. But most importantly, I wanted to eat. Jaleo was there. The original Jaleo. The flight was cheap, so I thought, let’s go. Turned out to be a good experience, but I didn’t budget it. Good thing was that I had plenty of money to cover it (I stress the past-tense, sadly, but worth it).
I like to fly overnight, if not early. That way, I don’t waste the day flying. So, the night before my flight, after a late dinner at Cafe Boulud (review to come), I packed my things and then joined some of my new found hostel friends at a nearby pub for a drink. I stayed up all night because I was afraid I might miss my alarm if I slept. I paid for that later. I fell asleep easily on the shuttle bus to the airport, but things got a little worse. I fell asleep at the airport (unintentionally of course. Thank god my things didn’t get stolen). i ended up waking up 10 minutes before my flight was scheduled to depart. I woke up to the sound of the PA calling my name. I ran to the gate, and barely managed to make it to the plane.
I made it to D.C. and I took a bus and metro (beautiful stations) to my hostel. After dropping off my things, I took a taxi to “Spike” Mendelson’s “Good Stuff Eatery”. After lunch, I walked my way through the national mall, making a quick detour to the national archives, around capitol hill, straight through the Smithsonian Institute, past the Washington monument and reflecting pool, finally stopping at the Lincoln Memorial.
The next day was more of the same. The national mall is someting that requires probably three days and one night to see. I only visited the Air and Space Museum, Natural History Museum, and the Museum of American History, where I got to see Julia Child’s kitchen. It was there that I also found a great deal. A Jaques Pepin cookbook valued at $40 was on sale for $15. I didn’t plan on buying books, but that was a steal.
Then it came time to say goodbye. My time in DC was over. It was time to go to Toronto. Now I would never go to Toronto. There was nothing that really appealed to me, other than the fact that I have friends there. They were the only reason to go. I didn’t even have restaurants planned. The journey to Toronto was easier, but more of a headache. My flight was delayed by at least an hour because the airport was incapable of properly de-icing the plane. However, but the time they de-iced the plane, the temperature was above freezing, and the de-icing fluid was at that point, unecessary (all that for nothing…). I seem to have a light case of “The Travelling Ivon”.
I wish I had more money…so that I can just get a $50 cab to my locations. Travelling with heavy luggage is not fun. It’s a little awkward too. Toronto was a blur. 3 days and 3 nights seemed more like 2 days. I got in touch with people I know there and made plans. But, to quote Jayne from Firefly, “what [I] plan and what takes place ain’t ever been similar”. Plans got pushed, restaurants were left unvisited, time was wasted.
I gotta say though. Once you get over the size of the Eaton Centre mall, you get over it and realize that it’s not all that special. It’s just another mall. My friend, who works at the Oliver and Bonacini company, hooked me up with a tour of their catering and production space within what I believe was The Bay tower. it’s a giant space. It’s big enough to supply a hotel. It’s bigger than the Olympic Athlete’s village.
I found myself in the Kensington Market area the next day. I expected it to be indoors and kind of organized like the St. Lawarence Market, but it wasn’t. It was like someone took the food shops of a hipster-ish neighbourhood and compressed them into a 1 car lane alley-street. Cool, and hipster, but, not really my thing. I made my way back to my hostel through Chinatown, picking up a mediocre banh mi and chinese baked goods along the way (Oh Maxims and T & T, how I miss you).
I never expected to like Toronto, possibly due to a rivalry bias against the city since I’m from Vancovuer, but, I honestly might move to Toronto one day for 3 seasons of work. I hate the idea of spending time in Toronto during the summer, so, go there in the Fall, and the leave at the end of spring. Toronto, DC, hopefully, I’ll see you both again.