Trip Start Mar 19, 2012
36Trip End Aug 12, 2012
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On the Friday 6th of July I finally arrived in Toronto, Canada. While the plane is landing, I get to see an incredible view of Toronto. In the far one can see the lake Ontario, and in front of it, like a futuristic city, Toronto with its skyscrapers and the CN tower in the mist (probably more the smog). I have now definitely left Latin America. No more Spanish, no more todo possible, nada seguro. I must say, I am actually to have left Cuba. It was getting annoying. That everybody, really every single person just considers you as a bottomless money bag is just so tiring. So, in summary, I am happy to be back in a well organized country.
In the plane to Toronto, I was looking forward to some lower air temperature than in Cuba.... but to my surprise, Friday was an incredible hot day, probably warmer than all my days in Cuba ! Anyway, on this first day I just walked around the skyscrapers, the CN tower, the harbor and the old town. I enjoyed to look at people. The folk in Toronto is just a mix of all possible cultures : there are people with origins or from all the over Americas, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. Toronto seems to be very open towards the world ; you know, there are in big cities often some greeting panels written in different languages. Well, here, most of the greetings are in some writing I can't read, Sanskrit, Mandarin, Arabic, Cyrillic, etc.. While walking around, I also enjoyed eating a good old peperoni and cheese pizza slice. Some other North American characteristics : people in the streets are very warm and friendly, there are shopping malls all over the place and most bigger building (eg. stadium) are named after a brand. Also, shops are open till late in the night and also on Sundays, there are a lot of warnings for idiots, eg. "mind the unequal ground". Toronto has a nice flair with a lot of cafes, bars and restaurant with outdoor spaces. There seems to be a lot going on here, festivals, movies, music, party and there are also many things to see. This is a big change to most south American cities where the site seeing was often limited.
On Saturday, I went to drink some beers with James, a body I did meet in a five star all inclusive hotel on Cuba back in 2003 ! Today again, I could see how incredibly fast Toronto is growing. Even here, about 45 min. from the city center, a tower is in construction at every street corner. It didn't surprise me so much when in the evening metro journal I read that Toronto is the 5th biggest city in north America, only topped by New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Mexico.
On Sunday I get up earlier (i.e. around 10) to see the important Winbledon final between Federer and Murray. Fortunately, Federer did win and so I am happy for the day. It is my last day in Toronto, so I decide to go see the Niagara Falls. This is almost a must for me, after having seen the Iguazu waterfalls I have to compare. So I take the 2 hour bus journey with my new German friend Henning. We of course almost missed the 1:30 bus ; I just arrived at the bus while the driver was already starting the engine. But then we get there, and it is incredible. The waterfalls are divided into two parts, the smaller US-part and the big horseshoe part on the Canadian side. I must say, it is hard for me to tell which ones are the best, Niagara or Iguazu. I think the one in Canada are more impressive and bigger. However, the Iguazu falls, which are scattered in several smaller ones, are just located in awesome landscape, the amazonian jungle. So in the end, I would just say that both are fantastic and really worth to be seen. At first, we visited the Canadian side where one has a nice overview of the falls before crossing the border to the US-side (which was of course a pain in the ass as the US are completely out of their mind what regards border control). We had our return bus at 19:30, and we ended up at the end of the US-side around 18:45... very tight to get back in time and the next bus would be at 22:30, a bit too late. So we had to run and in the end we even took a taxi for the last km. We just get there in time, and guess what : the bus is full, so we have to wait for another one to come. In the end, the bus leaves only around 20:00, i.e. we would have made it without running (but that's Murphy's law).
On Monday morning, I got up somehow excited : I will finally go back to Quebec, see my brother Pascal, hear french Canadian and eat poutine. My flight is at 12:00, and of course I manage to get to the airport not before 11:00. But this is all fine, the check-in takes 5 mins. and in the end I even have time to grab some food and wait a bit before boarding.
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