Toronto and Niagara Falls

In the morning I went to pick up a girl I was giving a ride to Toronto. Jamie had helped me to find someone over a page of the Queens University. Was a nice Indian girl and we had a some good chats while driving plus I got some money for the petrol. Until we reached Toronto it went very well and we managed to get there very fast, but as soon as we reached the city the traffic was just crazy. And it was not even rush hour. I was quite happy to return the car on that day so that I don´t need to drive here. After dropping my luggage at the hotel, I dropped her off close to a subway station and tried to return the car. It was not so easy since the Avis station in town is hidden very well. Couldn´t find it for some time even with having the right address. When I finally returned the car, I have been driven 3905 km in not even 3 weeks. After a quick lunch close bye I tried to return to the hotel. That took even longer than returning the car since it was rush hour by then. Took me about 1.5 hours. Subway is very convenient in this city and by far the fastest way of transportation, but as soon as you have to take a bus, it gets annoying and can take very long. The bus system is pretty convoluted and not so reliable. The weather was kinda crazy that day, we had over 30°C! But just for one day, the next day it had cooled down again and 2 days later it was quite cold and rainy again. I met my roommates and we relaxed a bit before getting ready for the pre-Party of the Canada Zouk Congress I was attending from Thursday till Monday. Unfortunately the pre-party was not at the actual venue but downtown in the destillery district. So we shared an Uber to get there and back since with public transport it would have taken about 50 min one way. The next 3 days were occupied by dancing, dancing and dancing, mixed with a little bit of sleep and food.
Monday we had an after-Party/Excursion to the Niagara Falls. We took off in 2 party buses at noon. I had great people on my bus including DJ Kakah who made the bus rock with her set. Once at the falls I went with some others to the boats that take you directly in front of the falls. You get pretty soaked, even with the poncho they supply. But it is really nice and definitely an experience. Not exactly cheap though. After taking a view pics from above the falls we went to Oak Garden Theater for a few hours of outside dancing with view of the falls. That was amazing! We had dinner at the Hard Rock Café and then watched the light show and fireworks over the waterfalls due to Victoria Day.

The drive back in the party bus was very quiet since everyone was just completely exhausted. At about 1 am we were back at the hotel. After saying goodbye to everyone I went to bed. There was a guy on this congress, he was 82 years old. Still dancing, coming to workshops and parties and even to the afterparty event on Monday. All my respect to this guy!

Next morning I checked out of the hostel just before the latest check out possible at 12 and set off with all my luggage to my CS host in Scarborough. Was quite an Oddysee since it is quite far out and I had to catch a bus first to get to a subway station, but Jordan picked me up at the closest subway station to his place. The area he is living in looks rather expensive, loads of beautiful and big houses. He lives very close to the bluffs and the beach, just like a 10 min walk. Perfect to chill after a crazy dance congress.

Next day I went downtown. I went to the CN tower. You get up to 346 m with an elevator that does 22 km/h, it takes only 58 seconds to the top. You have a nice view over the city from up there. They also have a glass bottom and a part were you can go outside. The wind is almost blowing you over there though. It costs C$40, so is very expensive and only worth when it is really a very nice and clear day. I walked around the area a little after, running into Spiderman. At the harbour I went to the Amsterdam Brewery for a little bite. I sat on a bar like table with view over the water. Really nice place, but also –of course – not the cheapest in a location like that. Next to me were a Kiwi and an US-American guy. I started to talk to them and ended up staying there for over 2 hours instead of the half hour I intended to. We just got along so well. Nate – the American guy – ended up even coming with me to the couchsurfing meeting later where I was supposed to meet my host again. Since the kitchen there was already closed we went  quickly to a 24/7 restaurant close by, the 7 North. Food is quite ok and it is always open so very convenient. The next day I went to the Aquarium together with Nate. It was raining so we chose an inside activity. The aquarium is pretty big and nice. The best part is this tunnel where you walk through and sharks, rays, turtles and all kind of fish are swimming over and next to you. Pretty amazing. After we went to the St Lawrence Market. We were unfortunately pretty late (almost 6 pm) and it was pretty much closing down already. So we couldn´t try the famous crab cakes they are selling there. Went to an Indian restaurant next door instead. That was very delicious. We went to The Only Café after to meet with Jordan again who attended a meeting for Burning Man there. It´s a nice place with a huge choice of beer, tea and coffee.

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Nate had to fly back the next morning and I met with Edith, an Estonian girl I got to know at the CS meeting. We went to the Tommy Thompson Park. The park itself is nothing special, but you have a nice view of the skyline of Toronto and there are many many birds and other animals you can watch. We hitch hiked back into town.

In the evening I moved to my new host further downtown. He lives in Little Italy. Well, this host wasn´t the best choice ever. I highly recommend, if you use couchsurfing and you are a girl travelling alone NOT to stay with Cyrus Modjo Slamian! He will hit on you non stop and trying everything to get you into bed not giving up at all and getting more and more aggressive by doing so. Plus his place is super dirty, he will refuse to give you anything, if it is a blanket, pillow, towel,… Just don´t go there! Friday night we (Cyrus, his other surfer Adélie and me) went to King West, the place to be when you want to go out on the weekend. We first went to the Bier Markt. There was a pretty good live band and we ended up staying there for quite a while. Later we went to 2 Cats. It´s a pretty popular place and there was quite a queue in front, but he knows the bouncer so we got in anyway. Saturday and Sunday was Open House Day in Toronto. All places were open, some that usual cost something were just for free other places are usually not open for the public. I went to Osgood Hall, which used to be the court in earlier days and which has a great library, to City Hall, the actual active court and to Trinity Church.

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Had a nice salad at a Marrokan Place before I searched for a LCBO to get some drinks for the party in the evening and then I had to head back to help my host to prepare the BBQ. Got to know some of Cyrus´ friends during this BBQ party he had at his place. Most of them are actually very nice and not at all like him. This rescued the evening for me. Next morning I left this place without caring for breakfast or anything. Just wanted to leave asap. Went to the airport by train and the 192 Airport rocket bus (a lot cheaper than the UP train to the airport. You only pay one fair, for the UP train you would need to pay one fair plus at least $6 dollars for the special train) to pick up my rental car and meet with Edith who I gave a ride to Owen Sound and finally was out of the big city again.

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