Thursday, 30 August 2007

So it’s goodbye Toronto.

I’ve been here around 27 hours, although Air Canada are doing their best to prolong my stay. If they were doing my job and paying expenses this would actually be quite welcome in some ways: I think I could like Toronto. Being by a lake, it appears to have the charm of Chicago without the feel of quite such a hard edge. Despite the intense mugginess of the city and the blatant squalour it has less of a dirty, sordid feel. However it seems bizarre to walk around the corner from the (expensive) Delta Chelsea hotel to find crumbling buildings and sex shops.

This trip was also a little odd too so far. In a smallish room in a shiny new building a Frenchman, Iranian, Englishman and Austrian met to discuss the business of a company in Texas, and what we might do to help it. This was actually very positive, and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it.

Back to things closer to hand, Boarding is supposed to be starting now, but I don’t see a plane yet. And while I’m grumbling, if I ever have to go through US immigration again it will be too soon. The lure of cheap guitars and big steaks has almost lost its grip after standing in line while a single immigration official is left to service a queue of around 80 people, while aircrew push in front of waiting passengers. Eventually a second officer was found (after I’d reached 3 from the front of the queue) and I then whizzed through. Filling in 2 forms before I can go through isn’t especially cool either, but it’s way better than waiting in the sweaty hell of George Bush international airport while that same bored immigration official gradually works their way through your application.

This time I had fingerprints taken both left and right hands PLUS face scan taken. Guess I should be honoured to be subject to such careful scrutiny.

BTW as things were running a bit late I grabbed some marble cake and a milkshake from the airport starbucks. The milkshake was a cold vanilla flavoured coffee – probably made by someone else so they’d not had a chance to sod it up – and quite nice. The marble cake was ……. *interesting*. Chocolate and vanilla sponge with a bucket full of cinnamon through the middle. Quite nice, but not marble cake (it was spelled Marbol cake – should have guessed) as I’d know it.

Amazing how one night in a new time zone can change things.

The laptop says 23.20pm, but it feels like early evening (which it is here). It’s around a 4 hour flight, then I’ve got to find the car hire place, get the car and hope the ‘Never Lost’ can live up to it’s mildly optimistic name. It’s traditional after flying on business to go out for a steak and a beer before hitting the sack. I hope they have reasonable food on this flight, because I’ll be getting to that hotel around midnight Toronto time and about 5.00am UK time. You’ll know how tired I was by whether I’ve uploaded this by first thing on Thursday morning (in the UK) or Thursday afternoon.

Well – waddayahknow. They’re about to start us boarding, only 20 mins late. TTFN.


Mr. Grumpy back. The plane was an hour late leaving. Made up some time, but I arrived at 9.50 local, bussed to the car rental centre, collected car, programmed GPS and hey presto, at 11.35 I’ve just opened my bag and plugged the PC in.

Mr. Grumpy?

No food on the flight.

I know I’m in Texas though – people as wide as they’re tall seem to be standard issue, so I’m almost pleased to be feeling hungry as it’s keeping my belly in check.

The sheer sweatiness of this place has to be felt to be believed though. Think every butterfly house, every tropical/rainforest experience enjoyed. This is that experience at 11.30pm.

The aircon in my room is a howling gale (moderate exaggeration for humorous effect, but you know what I mean). The windows are all covered in condensation like raindrops on the outside, and despite setting the car aircon for 73’C it had the windows misting up while driving, again on the outside.

It’s stickier than a used honeypot.

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