Toronto, Pt 1

My flight from Los Angeles to Toronto was thankfully rather uneventful, which meant no free upgrades to business or first class (yeah, like that was going to happen), but no baggage lost or overbooked flight either, which is equally as good. I landed at the inappropriately-named YYZ airport on time, picked up luggage, and met up with the ever-fun Dom and Zoe, who I haven’t seen in nearly two years. They have an absolutely lovely place right in the heart of downtown Toronto, but it’s in a quiet area since it’s on one of the rare one-way streets in the city.

Toronto is lovely: its downtown is segregated into a number of districts, such as the fashion district, the entertainment district, the financial district, the distillery, Chinatown and little Italy. Dom and Zoe’s place is in the middle of the fashion district, which borders the entertainment district, Chinatown, and the financial district: i.e. absolutely perfect for me. The fashion district provides plenty of shopping opportunity, the entertainment district provides, well, entertainment, Chinatown provides awesome cheap food, and the financial district provides lots of commercial shops to check out. Downtown looks much like New York and feels a bit like it too: square blocks, lots of commercial shops, food places and cafÈs interspersed with each other, and an energetic, alive atmosphere. Outside of downtown, I’ve ventured out to Danforth Av, a.k.a. the Greek district, a.k.a. the place where they filmed My Big Fat Greek Wedding (a totally excellent movie, err, or so I’ve been told).

One thing which is a contrast between Toronto and Sydney (or even Australia in general) is that stuff in general is cheap: a very filling meal can be had for around $7, compared to around $10 for the same thing in Australia. Clothes, electronics, CDs, etc are all significantly cheaper. About the only thing which is similar to Sydney’s prices is renting a place (not to be confused with buying a place, which is cheaper). But in general, your dollar goes a lot further here than in Australia, even with the 15% GST which isn’t included in the prices.

Speaking of dollars, I managed to find quite a few goodies in the city, including quite a few CDs:

  • Amon Tobin: Live in Melbourne
  • Juno Reactor: Odyssey 1992-2002
  • The Best of Delerium
  • Satoshi Tomiie & Hector Romero: Undulation 1
  • LTJ Bukem: Earth, Limited Edition CD+DVD

and also Saturday Night Live: The Best of Will Ferrell (Volumes 1 and 2) and Christopher Walken, and to top it all off, quite a number of new Luis Royo books and portfolios. Yeah baby.

Our night life mostly consists of chilling at home watching movies and venturing out for some supper or tea, although we did watch Resident Evil 2 the other night since one of the guys that Dom works with did the special effects for it. Total schlockfest, but so much fun — especially if you like seeing Milla Jovovich and similarly sexy girls going kung-fu on zombies, which I quite like. We also saw Dr. Strangelove, which is even more amusing the second time around.

I’ve also been managing to mix play with work: making some (slow) progress on making a proper xine framework build on Mac OS X. But for now, I’m about to head out to CN Tower and see if I remember anything from my visit there when I was a young’en. Tomorrow, I’m hopefully meeting Wolfgang Thaller in Hamilton to talk Haskell geek stuff, and buggered if I know what I’m doing on the weekend (besides heading out to Boston for Monty’s on Sunday, that is). Coming soon!

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