Saturday, July 16, 2005

My Wonderful Weekend in T.O. + Discovering China

After I finished work on Saturday the 16th, I hurried home to try and sleep before Jamie (杨洁玫)was scheduled to arrive the next morning. We did all the tourist stuff in Niagara, like Maid of the Mist and walking along the Parkway, before eating at Yukiguni and then catching the Tripmate bus to Toronto. We got off at Spadina-Queen and went to the bus terminal to get my ticket to Ottawa when I go home next week (seven-day advance fare, cheap, yeah!). Then we started the long journey to Scarborough to find a place to stay, because we didn't make arrangements in time to stay with her friends.

All I can say is, 她是一个了不起的女人。It's actually too bad that she's going to Hong Kong and I'm off to Japan. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. We share a lot of interests, such as our mutual loathing of interracial couples for reasons of
yellow fever
and the usual getting-a-white-boyfriend-to-practice-English/fashion-statement motif still present in Chinese/Japanese society. Anyone who bothers to learn the language of their Asian girlfriend to interact with grandparents (i.e. Chris Charlton, Jack Layton) is immediately exempt from my raging discrimination.

On Monday we went to the Bluffs beach, except that a) it was scorching hot and b) we walked for about twenty minutes in the wrong direction. After arriving at the rocky beach, we celebrated our arrival by sitting in the shade for a while and occasionally saying "it's hot". Eventually I had enough and decided to go into the water. After some swimming, I discovered that having enough hair on my body to be considered fur is still not enough to prevent a sunburn. As a result, my back turned a nice shade of red. Didn't hurt though, unlike that time when I was ten and the skin just peeled off my back. Perhaps the hair held it together this time. So around 4 we packed up and headed to Scarborough Town Centre, to see a movie and then go stay at her friends'.

After getting off the subway at Warden (the train went out of service just one stop short of the transfer to Scarborough Town Centre!!!), we waited at the other platform to catch the next one. And then I saw what appeared to be a beach ball stuck between the rails. Hurrah for the TTC. I did like the driver's droning voice as he ordered everyone off the subway, though - "This train is NOT IN SERVICE. All passengers MUST EXIT. This train is NOT IN SERVICE. This train IS NOT IN SERVICE". Like his anger at us not getting off was just building and building to the point of explosion. We did get on the subway again and arrived at Kennedy with no problems, and I rode the Scarborough Rapid Transit for the first time. Again, I must point out how noisy the TTC vehicles are compared to the Japanese ones I usually ride. Perhaps Iwate will change my perspective, I don't know.

We saw Batman Begins, which I thought was good. We both thought it was amusing that Bruce Wayne's secret school in Tibet was staffed by men dressed like Japanese 忍者. Basically we enjoyed the air conditioning in the theatre a lot. After that we walked to the 曉楓園, an apartment complex probably better known as the Lee Corporate Centre (I think). They are populated mostly by Hong Kong/Guangdong Chinese, though I did see the occasional whitey and black person there. We stayed in a guest suite - if your friends are coming and you don't have room in your apartment, why, just stay in a room especially made for this purpose! At $40 a night it's cheaper and better than a motel - you just have to have 关系.

On Tuesday morning I headed out to Spadina (about an hour from Scarborough, I found out) and relaxed in a Second Cup with their "icepresso" concoction, mostly because Tim Hortons' ice-capp machines are always broken. More expensive but hey, I got a vanilla flavour. Anyway, I waited there for Chris to arrive, as we were going to meet Professor Austin at 12 for lunch. Our plan was to eat at a restaurant called the "Traditional Chinese Bun" at Spadina-Dundas. Since neither Chris nor I had been there before, we went early to try and find it. Good thing too - it took nearly an hour, since we looked everywhere BUT the corner it was on. Fortunately, I had decided to bring my dictionary, so after looking up the character for "bun" (包) and showing it to a woman selling phone cards, we were directed on our way. We then discovered the restaurant with its sign proclaiming that yes, the name of the place is "Traditional Chinese Bun" or 中华经典包子铺. Inside, we had absolutely delicious buns and 饺子, as the sign had said. Within, we bored the esteemed professor to death with pictures of our trip to Japan, but we were fortunate enough to see pictures of his house, which is a converted church. Kind of like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade but with a more rural Ontario setting. Afterwards, we headed to a shop that sold silver coins from the French Colonial period of Vietnam for a dollar, and we viewed some of the replica posters of 1930's Shanghai advertisements that were on sale for five. We all enjoyed the art.
I, of course, was more interested in the porcelain jars. And the Chinese complain that we Japanese are oversexed maniacs!
After that, we parted and I enjoyed my last night in Scarborough. My time in Canada is coming to a close ... only 14.5 days left before departure.

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