Monday, October 16, 2006

Toronto and Niagara - Friday

Another week(end), another trip. This time we went north of the border to Ontario. The plan was to leave Cleveland around 4pm on Friday and to show Toronto to my fried Kaushal and to meet up with a former co-worker of ours Sean who now resides in the Toronto area. I als gave Joel and Carolyn a call to see if they would be free to meet us somewhere sometime this weekend.

However, the good Lord decided that it was time for a bout of winter on Thrusday-night and he blanketed the Buffalo, NY region under 2 feet (60cm) of snow. Normally that wouldn't be such an issue since Buffalo is used to getting some snow, but getting this much, this heavy wet snow, this early in the season was new. It left 300,000 people without power and the main Interstate (I-90) closed in a circle of about 45 miles around the city. Since the normal route from Cleveland to Toronto goes over that road and through Buffalo we were forced to take a bit of a detour taking the Detroit-Windsor border isntead.

No troubles at the border (not even had to show our passports), but the drive from Windsor to London, Ontario is soooo boring. Flat, straight and pitch-black at night. Those first 110 miles (185km) are no fun. After London things lite-up a bit and you get a sense of civilization back.

From London to Toronto is about 75 minutes and it is an easy drive. I booked a room at the Courtyard Mariott in Mississauga (Dixie and Eglington W) so once off the 401 it was only 5 minutes to find the hotel. We checked-in and called Sean we arrived. He showed-up about 30mins later just in time for us to get soemthing to eat.

It was about 10.30pm since the detour via Detroit adds 1.5 hrs to a normally pleasant 4 hr drive and neadless to see we where starving. We tried the Belfast Lounge, but their kitchen closed at 10pm so they were helpful in pointing out that basically across the street there was a bar called 'Hoodoo McFriggins' that seerves food 'till midnight. Yes!!

In the parking lot getting the car we were approached by a very frantic looking guy who was trying to get money to get his wife and kid a bus-ticket home from the border where their car had broken down. He had about $ 80 CDN on him already and was about $ 10 short. His story actually sounded credible and sincere so I gave him $ 10. Good deed for the day fulfilled.

After that we went to the other bar and indeed they served untill midnight. We got a table next to the fireplace and ordered some Ribs and Wings accompanied by some local Sleeman Honey Brown (one of my favourite beers). About 10 mins after the food that same gentleman from the parking lot entered and sat down at the bar. Somehow he spotted us and immediately left. Guess a guilty conscience got the better of him. Well, he probably left for another bar...;-)

We had some good conversation and catch-up time with Sean over some well appreciated food and drinks. It was getting late fast and a little after midnight we decided to call it a night. We drove back to the hotel, dropped Sean off at his car and went to bed for some shut-eye.

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