What is it with building towers in North American cities? Well maybe we could excuse this one as it’s also the world’s tallest free standing structure (apparently). They kinda cheated though because there’s a huge spike on top of the actual viewing deck which adds to the height significantly. The view from the top of the Sears in Chicago was much higher. Anyway – the views were great although it was a little hazy. There was a section of glass floor too which was cool to look straight down through!
Spent the rest of the day walking through the financial district, walking round the harbourfront, down King & Queen streets again, doing a spot of shopping, then across to Yonge St which is very funky too, albeit a little seedy, then up to the Soho of Toronto which is called Yorkville. All very nice. Lots of walking though and I’m ready to hit the sack. Off fairly early to Montreal tomorrow… Night.
There are lots of crazy old people here. One woman stared at my feet for a couple minutes before the elevator showed up and I could escape. Her aide was smiling politely but neither of them said anything… Then I met a woman on the basement level – as the elevator refused to go up like I was asking it to – who got in with her zimmer frame but could only respond to my queries of what floor she would like with a goat like, “meh”, before saying, “I don’t know what I’m doing.” Oh my god. Fortunately the guy from the front desk picked her up on the ground floor asking, “what are you doing down here?” Lol. Funnily enough I don’t think this was mentioned on their booking pages ;)
Managed to sleep through the alarm this morning but made it down to Niagara Falls today nonetheless. The greyhound station is in a stupid place related to the town, but only had to walk about 4km. The town itself is a pretty horrific tourist trap – fortunately we managed to inadvertently skip most of it by walking next to the river on the way down and taking a cab after not being able to find the right bus stop on the way back!
The falls themselves I was expecting to be bigger. I mean they’re pretty big anyway, but they weren’t so massive that I was really like, “woah”. Still, standing near the falls on the walkway gets you pretty soaked from the spray, and we took the “Maid of the Mist” boat (like you see on TV) right up the bottom of the waterfalls. They gave everyone these attractive blue plastic oversheets to wear, which were definitely needed as it was like a monsoon! Sadly the weather was pretty overcast today though so I don’t think the spectacle was as spectacular as it could have been.
Tonight we went round checking out the entertainment and fashion district, walked a pretty long way again and ended up eating in a Jazz bar with a live band playing – all very nice. Toronto continues to seem like a cool place, saw some more of the building today which have a definite British air to them sometimes. Even walked past a Winston Churchill statue today with a big memorial thing by it.
Looks like we might get rained on for the next couple days due to the hurricane which is going to cripple our outdoor plans a little bit. Was planning to take the ferry to the Toronto Islands tomorrow (not far) and row a kayak around for a while (on my uni friends’ advice), but if it’s pissing down can’t see that being too enjoyable! Anyway we shall see…
So I’m here in Trona, Greyhound turned out to be nowhere near as bad as expected although abandoned Niagara Falls until tomorrow. Got to the hostel we’re staying in (which also turns out to be an old people’s home and a student residence) around 2pm then crashed out for a couple hours having slept only a few hours the past couple nights. Bus sleep just doesn’t work for me.. And my neck is screwed!
Toronto seems a really nice place so far – wandered down to Chinatown via Bloor St. and the university of Toronto which turned out to be rather further than expected, 7 subway stops and about an hour and a half walking. There’s lots of life around – i.e. the streets are pretty vibrant – which I have to say was definitely lacking in Seattle, and I guess Chicago too to a certain extent (obviously not hanging out in the right places).
I would have liked to stay a bit longer in Chicago to get more of a feel for the place, the bus driver on the greyhound was a complete character and everyone on there seemed pretty friendly. I guess I was a bit put off by all the gangstas and lowlifes hanging around outside the greyhound station the first time plus the person on the desk and the fact the taxi driver outside didn’t want to take me back to Suni’s apartment cuz it was only 5 blocks drive and I suppose he wanted a larger fare. Anyhow with my limited schedule that’s all I could fit in – I get the impression it’s not going to be long enough anywhere but at least I can make a shortlist for next time! :)
Im off to bed, somehow it’s crept to 1.40am… Later.
Chicago is a wicked place. Has a different vibe again but the town is clean, the architecture is very impressive, and there’s loads going on all the time. We went to see Navy Pier, and walked round the downtown area on Saturday, went for lunch in a place where I found the top part of a rivet in my burrito, so ate for free. In the evening we went bowling for someone elses birthday then headed to a pretty cool club called zentro or something like that. At bowling I was chatting to a bunch of guys on my lane who were all just out of college and working trading options or consulting yadayadaya. Anyway they were a really nice group, as in fact were most of the people there! I think we must have numbered at least 20. Fortunately we were on the guestlist for the club as cover is pretty steep – I had to pay $20 the night before although that club was cool too, 4 floors at least, but that was also cuz I went in at 1.30. There were a couple of floors and an outside area, I lost Suni and her friend Pooja cuz the queue for the mens’ bathroom was the most ridiculous you’ve ever seen – they had 1 urinal and 2 cublicles for the entire club. Muppets. As a consequence I got chatting to a girl from bowling called Jess, so had some good Anglo-American banter there for a while!
Today after rising late we went to the park to see the latin music festival, walked round some more, I went up the Sears tower which is ridiculously tall – you can see for miles and miles and miles – and listened to some Chicago history gumph. Then we went for pizza in this apparently well known place, was pretty crazy deep – like 2 inches. By this time it was getting on and I was supposed to get a bus at 8.45 to Cleveland then Buffalo then Niagara. Unfortuntely the fucking incompetent on the ticketing desk gave me tickets for the 12.01am service but told me I could use them on the 8.45. Well, by the time I got to the door they were already running late and wouldn’t let me on the bus because the 12.01 goes a different route, so I asked if they could wait while I went to sort things out but they basically said, “no”. I was livid. Now I’ve had to come back to Suni’s apartment and wait around for 3 hours because there is no other way to get where I want to go (at least under $500) and I won’t get in to Niagara until 3.30 tomorrow afternoon. I’m so pissed off. Now Yuki’s going to be waiting round for another 3 hours on top of the 9 she already has to at hamilton airport. That sucks. I hate buses and all other things public transport. It’s a shame because now I’ve embittered myself after what was otherwise a really fun weekend. Still, I can’t change it now so just gotta get on with it… I’ve heard some interesting stories about the people on the greyhound buses so can’t say I’m looking forward to this trip at all. Anyway, will speak to you soon from Toronto, which I where I’m heading tomorrow night. Later.