So I’m an Optimist…

Yesterday I wrote that I’d be continuing the artist profiles today — I didn’t allow for the jet lag! I’m a little too foggy to entrust myself with a post about someone else, so until my brain catches up with the rest of me, I’ll try something a bit lighter.

The plane was an hour late in leaving Toronto last night; it was circling in a queue, somewhere in the clouds above us, due to the heavy rain and lightning storms. When we were finally up in the air, I was reflecting that an hour was really nothing, in a trip of that distance. A century ago, it would have taken days on a train; two centuries ago it would have taken months, if you made it at all. So an hour? No big deal. On the other hand, one thing all those people on wagon trains and steam trains didn’t have to deal with was jet lag! I think the concept would have amazed them.

As I stepped out of the airport in Victoria, it was only 10:30-ish local time, but my body said it was 1:30 a.m. I took a deep breath, and despite my travel-weariness, felt a rush like a momentary return of youth — the air was heady with the scent of flowers, and rather warmer than usual for that time of night. I felt as if I had stepped off into a tropical paradise!

I did promise some photos from my last day in Toronto, so here they are! I was staying in Toronto at the All Days Hostel, a comfy, homey place right downtown for a fraction of the cost of the big hotels, and right by the subway. After I checked out, I stowed my luggage in their secure storage closet (a great service if your plane isn’t leaving until evening!) and headed out on the subway to meet my friend Joan (see Wednesday’s post) for a little more touristing. Joan used to live in Toronto, and it’s always great to have a “native guide” to show you around!

I didn’t have a lot of time, nor a lot of leg power (LOTS more walking in the past week than I usually do), so we decided on a quick tour of Kensington Market, a district of town that took me straight back to the seventies, when I was a young hippie artist working the market and street fairs in Seattle. I could attempt to flog my jet-lagged grey matter to come up with a description, but I think I’ll just let the pictures testify to my last infusion of big-city creative inspiration!

Joan and I walked through Chinatown on our way to Kensington Market.So many shops! So many trinkets! So many cheap clothes! So much food that I haven't the slightest idea how to cook! (Dried Sea Cucumbers!) Didn't realize I'd gotten the classic Toronto identifying landmark in the background, the CN Tower!

Joan and I walked through Chinatown on our way to Kensington Market.So many shops! So many trinkets! So many cheap clothes! So much food that I haven’t the slightest idea how to cook! (Dried Sea Cucumbers!) Didn’t realize I’d gotten the classic Toronto identifying landmark in the background, the CN Tower. Bonus!

Joan looks on as a strapping young fellow hefts a jackfruit for his lady.

Joan looks on as a strapping young fellow hefts a jackfruit for his lady. They are prickly on the outside, and they smell terrible! However they are reputed to taste good; I think it’s an acquired taste.

Not long after we entered the Kensington Market area, we came upon this strange addition to a porch. It seems like everyone in the neighbourhood is vying to come up with unconventional, arty things to do to their houses. Murals, colourful paint jobs, and sculptural oddities abound.

Not long after we entered the Kensington Market area, we came upon this strange addition to a porch. It seems like everyone in the neighbourhood is vying to come up with unconventional, arty things to do to their houses. Murals, colourful paint jobs, and sculptural oddities abound. There was a fellow just starting to put out merchandise, thus the rack and the table.

Colourful! I said colourful, didn't I? This place is called The Da Vintage Code.

Colourful! I said colourful, didn’t I? This place is called The Da Vintage Code.

There are lots and lots of clothing stores; some imports, some used/vintage, some handmade arty stuff. I'd have loved to have had time (and suitcase space) to actually go shopping! The lanterns at this shop reminded me of the Goats on the Roof place at Coombs here on the island.

There are lots and lots of clothing stores; some imports, some used/vintage, some handmade arty stuff. I’d have loved to have had time (and suitcase space) to actually go shopping! The lanterns at this shop reminded me of the Goats on the Roof place at Coombs here on the island.

Why have a boring old Victorian tower on your house when you can have a mysterious midnight forest?

Why have a boring old Victorian tower on your house when you can have a mysterious midnight forest?

We finally had to choose out of the many places to eat at the urging of our hungry tummies and tired feet. We picked the Big Fat Burrito, for the breezy looking eating porch and the lovely smells wafting out of it. My "small" veggie burrito was tasty, just the right size, and cheap; the open porch was a nice place to sit and watch the street life go by.

We finally had to choose out of the many places to eat at the urging of our hungry tummies and tired feet. We picked the Big Fat Burrito, for the breezy looking eating porch and the lovely smells wafting out of it. My “small” veggie burrito was tasty, just the right size, and cheap; the open porch was a nice place to sit and watch the street life go by.

A close-up of the Big Fat Burrito walls — they were done like this all the way around in an intricate, underground comic style — how appropriate is that for my last meal in town?

A close-up of the Big Fat Burrito walls — they were done like this all the way around in an intricate, underground comic style — how appropriate is that for my last meal in town?

Across the street from our eatery, an art-nouveau inspired mural.

Across the street from our eatery, an art-nouveau inspired mural.

Now I’m home, and glad to be here. I hope to go back to Toronto next year for TCAF (maybe even be one of the lucky people with a table of my own!). I think I’ll get started getting in training for all the hiking now, though!

 

4 responses to “So I’m an Optimist…

  1. Thanks so much for letting us participate in your journey and your experiences! Your photos are great, and thanks also for all the links! By the way, yesterday I met a couple from Victoria B.C. on the subway in Berlin – and automatically was reminded of you and your blog posts!

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    • Thank you for reading along! I’m glad you enjoyed it — this is a new turn for my blog, and I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested.
      It’s a small world — it’s wonderful to be able to travel so easily, compared to our ancestors!

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    • You’re welcome! Maybe someday you’ll make it to Toronto, and can see it for yourself. I would have liked to have taken more pictures, but there wasn’t time. Next time I’m going armed with a proper camera, too.

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