Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Being in Toronto

Saturday, 15th July

Toronto is, to say the least, an interesting place. Take today as an example.

It began, after a decent but expensive breakfast at the Sutton Place hotel, with a pedicure and manicure – something I believe is a civilizing thing to do if you intend to wear sandals without socks (if you intend to wear sandals with socks, especially white socks, then its time to get back to Britain). A man came in and wanted his bikini wax. I was there at 0930 – by 10am the place was packed – almost all men, almost all wanting waxing (some just their legs). Just doesn’t happen in Edmonton.

Caught two parades which followed each other down Yonge Street. The first was five persons wide and over one thousand lines of people deep – a celebration of Hari Krishna. Amazing. It was pure 1960’s / early 1970’s. I though these guys had died out, along with Bhagwaan Shree Rajnish and Dallas, but no they are alive and well and busy in Toronto. Unlike their Dutch counterparts, the Toronto Haris’s have a lot of East Indian members – they used to avoid these guys like the plague.

Behind these Hari’s and their thumb-bells was another parade with pipe bands. It was the annual Orange Day Parade – a parade to celebrate Irish Protestantism and their support for William of Orange. In Ulster, this has often been a violent day – a parade of defiance which deliberately goes through the Shankhill Rd so as to aggravate Catholics. Here, given the peace and calm created by the Hari Krishna lot, all was fine. Mind you, given that the average age of those parading was 65+, I was not really expecting much troeuble (unless someone stole one of their walking frames).

By then it was very hot. So off to Sam The Record Man’s classical station, where I came upon fifteen members of the Huddersfield Choral Society singing various well known hymns along with a CD of the same. I used to watch these guys sing with the Halle – Messiah, Britten’s War Requiem – so a very nice half hour was had by all. I joined in. (Given that they almost closed their classical store some years ago, it is nice to see it so vibrant – all thanks to their classical music manager who is a “one off”).

Then strolling Yonge Street. The breast popping out count was 4.5 (the .5 was deliberate and frequent – so I am not sure whether it counts at all – she was a flasher). The too short a skirt showing panties count was 3 while walking, and six while sitting having lunch, coffee or my evening meal. The pan handler count was four and the guys reciting weird poetry three, selling weird things without a permit or license seven or selling themselves two.

Now the evening meal was interesting. A young couple – he with the jeans 28 sizes too big, crotch at the ankles. T shirt down to the knees, beanie hat and black and she white, see through blouse (no bra) and white skirt that doubled as a belt (black panties). Pasta place (very nice meal, including dessert and coffee for $17). He broke up with her as soon as she paid the bill. Told her he never wanted to see her again, but ate a good meal beforehand. She sat. He left. His trousers followed closely behind. She looked at me and said “he’s a jerk – I always knew it!”. She ordered another plate of pasta and kept pulling at her non existent skirt.

Walking back from my pasta, a couple were “at it” in the doorway of a store that had just closed. It was 6pm on a very bright evening. People inside the store, who were tidying up and getting the place secure, had a better view than those of us walking past. I think you could have made money selling tickets.

Back to the hotel. Thank goodness for air conditioning. The good news is that I have found several nice places to eat – great dim-sum at lunchtime (three dishes, nine dollars) and had a nice Nepalese meal last evening for $25, including a beer. The other good news is that I finished my writing assignment – another $4,000 in the bank. A good day.

Now tomorrow…

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