Connections

I don't want to bore you with all the hugely interesting stories of our travel to Canada, so let's keep this brief. We both have places to be. Our day yesterday was characterised by one easy plane flight sandwiched between surprisingly complicated transit to and from the airports.

We walked from our hostel in London to the underground, and ended up catching three trains to get to Paddington station as we needed to make a connection and then the second one terminated one stop before ours. We took a fourth train from Paddington - this time, an express service that ran us straight to Heathrow and was impressively efficient. We had checked in already online, and when to got to the terminal with our mobile phone codes we were ushered along to a web check-in bag drop ahead of a queue of regular bag droppers and an even bigger queue for check-in. Then it was a rather straightforward security screening, an hour at the gate, and we were on board.

When I sat down on the plane, on the aisle of the three-seated middle section, I was offered a mint by the man beside me. He had given one to his wife and turned to me too. I joked, "One day I would really like to meet a Canadian that's an asshole." There was an uncertain pause, and so I continued in clarification: "You all meet the stereotype of being warm and generous." They laughed. We had a good chat for over half an hour. They were returning from Ethiopia and Rwanda where they did work for NGOs. It was great to have such a deep and interesting conversation about charity work and our home nations' shared injustices to our indigenous populations. It was invigorating intellectual stimulation.

The flight was nearly eight hours all up, but I settled in with a great double feature of Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" and the Duplass brothers' "Safety Not Guaranteed". Both were quirky, heartfelt, comedic dramas and both had fantastic writing. I probably preferred Safety a little more thanks to the performance of Aubrey Plaza (April on Parks and Recreation) and its time travel wrapping, as Moonrise was a little twee at times. I also marathoned five episodes of House of Lies, the Don Cheadle Showtime program with Ben Schwartz - aka Parks and Rec's Jean-Ralphio. Not a great show but amusing in the way they had covered up the filthy language with nonsensical overdubs. Air Canada had great service, good food and regular drink service, which made the whole thing fly by easily.

When we got off in Toronto we then had to do another complicated public transport run to get to our accomodation. We started with an airport express shuttle that took us to a subway terminal at the edge of town. We looked around to find where to get a ticket for the train but couldn't find a sales point anywhere. Eventually we exited the station and found a ticket desk around the front, where they then told us that the subway was free and since the bus delivered you there you could just hop on. Sigh. We took the opportunity to buy a week's pass for public transport (always Monday to Sunday, though, which is strangely limiting) and rode the subway to our stop. Then, since it was Sunday and our pass wasn't valid, we decided to walk rather than catch the bus we needed. It wasn't far, and we found our hostel: The Planet Traveller.

It's a modern green building, and for the first time on our entire trip, we had a worker give us a tour of the place. It has huge solar panels on the roof and a large pump system, making it eco friendly. Breakfast is provided until 1pm, and the large kitchen has plenty of supplies for use making dinner. Wi-Fi everywhere, clean private bathrooms, modern furnishings, rooftop with barbeque, laundry on site. It's really nice, and I'm glad to have picked it for our six days here. Well, my six days, as Sam has decided on an impromptu trip to Ohio over the weekend between Toronto and Vancouver. After a burger and beer down the street, I came back and crashed. As we went back in time during the flight, I'd been up for about twenty hours. Anyway, that's enough from me. Time to go see Toronto.