Toronto, again

Wed, 23 Apr 2008 01:21:19 +0000

Montreal Day 3 Index Milwaukee

I'm doomed to only spend these weird half-days in Toronto. I'm going to be passing through Toronto no fewer than four times on this trip, each time, frankly, on my way somewhere more interesting.

I checked in for my flight to Toronto last night, online. Here's something new I haven't seen before: e-boarding-passes. They send you an email which you're supposed to display on your "mobile device" instead of a paper boarding pass. And gee, it just so happens I have a "mobile device" right here. It's a bit weird trying to get through the airport like this. I get the impression that all the security people and so on have been told about these things, but it's rare for them to actually be presented with one. It's not a very efficient system either: each device is going to display the text with everything in slightly different positions, so you can't just quickly glance at the thing to get the checkin number, you need to carefully read the whole thing. A nice, but ultimately bad idea.

It was a tight run thing that I even caught my plane at all. I had planned to take the $14 bus from downtown, but couldn't find the bus station. So I had to take a taxi. $35, plus an unintended $5 tip when the guy seemed reluctant to fork over the change. Just thinking of what that would have bought in Bolivia gives me the shakes.

Anyway, on the other side I'm an old veteran of Toronto now and had no problem getting to the hostel. As to what to do in Toronto: nothing. The only thing here that interests me is the zoo, but it's so far from the city and so big that there's no point visiting for just an hour or so in the afternoon.

Last time I was in Toronto I got chatting to a guy who recommended the Japan Rail Pass. It turns out you can only buy it outside Japan, in advance, so I'm very glad I found this out now. It so happens that there's an authorised agent in Toronto, so I got that sorted out. That feels nice. About EUR200, which pays for itself even after just one return journey.

But apart from that, most of what I tried failed. I was unable to get through to the Syrian embassy in Ottawa to ask about how to apply for a visa, so I'm just going to have to turn up at their doorstep and hope. The internet connection here seems really unreliable, so I was unable to get through to any banks. I was unable to pay the Chinese for my Chinese course. The Internet sucks, man.

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