Toronto [Cambridge] Marathon 2006

Friday June 30

Not starting at the butt crack of dawn has its advantages. But working, then spending hours at the airport kind sucks too.

So I'm getting ready to head out when I get a flood of emails and text messages from Christine. She's stuck in Atlanta because she was involuntarily bumped from her flight. So I'm search info on rights of passengers who get bumped . It seems if delayed for over 2 hours you can get $200. If international and over 4 hours you can get $400. Good to know. [] So the last message I got was she was not going to make it to Toronto. And has no hotel because Delta wasn't going to give her a hotel voucher since she asked for cash instead of "Delta Dollars".

So I get on my flight. But we wait an hour as they search for bags of people who didn't make the flight. You have to match bags with passengers. If you miss the international flight, your bags have to come off the plane. (FAA rules apparently.) Finally under way, I'm sandwiched between 2 Big guys who never discovered deoderant. And off We go to the great white north, eh.

Then deal with customs. Turns out you ARE suppose to fill out the forms. ( London trip reference) Took an hour to get my bags because a conveyer belt broke. Call James from a pay phone. James tells me Christine is still in Atlanta, since she started a fist fight with the Delta counter idiot. Bummer. Finally make my way out. As I come down the Concourse. I see James. "Hmm... who is that girl he's talking to? Hmm... looks like Christine. Hmm... I've been had!!" So I walk up and politely say "WTF!" And we laf and laf and laf... "We" being them.

So we head on to James bro's house. His wife is out of the country for a few months [I know some guys who'd like that arrangement ;) ] Finally we get there a little after midnight. It's almost time to crash since we have to leave at 6am for the race. We get the kids room and I get the bed with the plastic mattress, in case I have an accident I guess.

Pillow smacks to the head for "snoring" = 2.

Saturday July 1


But not so much at 5am. Loaded up on bananas and peanut butter. Geared up and headed to Cambridge, which aboot 45 minutes from Mississiagua, where James lives, which is aboot 30 miles from all that?

They didn't have mine or Christine's info of our pre-registration. But I guess they figured we wouldn't spend all this $ to come up from Dallas to screw them out of $30.

This race course was really nice. Very scenic out in farm land, a little hilly in spots, but smooth. It was put on by a local skate group group. There were about 120 skaters of all levels. Not a big do. The route consisted of a smaller loop then a big loop. The annoying part was the FINISH LINE was about 1.5 miles from the START LINE...where your car is!

Poetry in motion baby!!

Welcome to Speedsville daddio!!   
It was held near a school built in 1850.                  

Thought I had a chance to catch James and Christine but no luck. I did pack up with some slow folks for a while. In the end cut about 14 minutes from my Napa time. WOO HOO!! Of course James and Christine just BARELY finished before I did. [James claims they finished 15 minutes before me, but I'm sticking with "BARELY". :) ]. We left, skipping the awards, then thought there was a chance Christine may have won in her age group. It's looking good that she got at least 3rd place. Guess will find out later.

So off to lunch.
Dim Sum baby. James takes us to a place that's known for its Dim Sum. Little carts wheeled around with bowls full of all kinds of different things. We stayed away from the tripe, squid and chicken feet. But the dumplings rocked.         

Then back to James' bro's house. Passed by a really cool store I hope to make a visit to ;)
Settled down for a power nap! I look at my watch 1pm. Close my eyes. Open them, 2pm. How'd that happen?

Time to hit the tourist traps!! So off to Niagara falls.
We had to fight LOTS of traffic to get there.
Then wondered if they shut it down, turned off the water and closed shop.
Took lots of pix.
...and decided to take a boat ride, "The Maid in the Mist". Got some groovy blue plastic ponchos, which turns out you really need. You get really close to the falls and all the spray.

Back on shore we head to Toronto for dinner. Went to a market type of restaurant called Richtree. Kind of a cross between Central Market's "Cafe on the Run" and Etzee's. All kinds of stations with different food. You hand them your food card and they swipe, adding the price to your bill. Then as you leave, you hand the check out lady your card and pay your bill. It's self-service, but they still put an automatic gratuity. Wtf! STill, good food and great desserts.

Back to James' house to crash.

Pillows to the head = 5 +/-5, I lost count

Sunday July2

Got up about 5:30am to crash on the couch to get some unmolested sleep. Booted the Kitty who sleeping there and "snored" to my heart's content.

Fiona then reclaimed her couch.
Once it was determined I was to become the biotch to be upgraded on the flight back, I had to do my master's bidding as she relaxed.
About 9am packed up and donutted at Tim Horton donut shop. Dang! Still hadn't made it to my favorite store.
Down to Toronto to spend the rest of the Canada money we got. Spent about 2 hours in the CN Tower - world's tallest observation tower 1,400+ feet high.          OK, it's only 12 feet tall. ;)
Seems every family in the greater Toronto area with a toddler and stroller was there, and wanted us to take their picture.

Met my first Canadian moose.
Some friend of James'.
Who ALWAYS had to "butt" into our pictures.
HA! I'm so funny. Yea, ok, anyways...

Took lots of pix up there.
A glass floor... kinda freaky...
Ever Wonder... about James??

As I like to make friends EVERYWHERE I go and help futher American / Canadian relations, I noticed one of the elevator girls looking disheveled and despondant. "Having a good day?" I ask. Knowing a "no" will follow and I can then lighten her burden with a "well you're doing a terrific job, keep up the good work, etc". Instead, I get a "yes". Caught off guard by this change in events the Brain-to-mouth-Filter disengaged and I blurt out "you don't look it". Before getting a chance to salvage the moment, as the elevator doors close I get a WTF look and a sarcastic "thanks a lot". Followed by a group "WTF did you do now" look from James and Christine. Mmmmmm Nike's taste good.

Back down on the groung
we saw 2 innings of the Phillies vs. Blue Jays from the nose bleed section. Turns out the Phillies won 11 to 6. :) Sorry James!! :P            

A whole tour about Scareltt? Wow!

Interesting sculpture in the baseball statdium.
Then more shopping. That's when I discovered InukShuks.

Inukshuk means "likeness of a person" in Inuktitut (Inuit language) and is a well known symbol in Northern Canada. They are made rock slabs, large and small and built into the shape of a person with their arms or legs out stretched or more traditionally, piles of well mapped out rocks.

An open leg on an Inukshuk found near water or a coastline points to an open channel for passage to navigate your way, and if the Inukshuk is in the middle of land, the open leg points towards a valley as a route to pass through the mountains.

The open (longer) arm of an Inukshuk points you in the direction you should be going. A marker Inukshuk placed near a lake shows that the fish can be found in the lake at the exact same distance the Inukshuk is placed from the shoreline. Stone markers also mark food caches along a path (this type of marker is more a pile of stones and sometimes the caribou antlers will be placed on top so you know what food is there)

The purpose attributed to Inukshuit is that they serve as markers, or signposts, to help guide Inuit across the treeless tundra of the Canadian Arctic. Kinda the world's first GeoCaches. ;)

So we're walking back to the car. And I'm kinda dragging.
Looking concerned Christine asks "are you having a good day?"
"Yea I'm fine."
James chimes in "You don't look it!"
"No I'm fine ... I'm... oh shut the @#$@# up!"
And we laf and laf and laf... "We" being them.
Thanks Karma.

Got bumped up to first class. All it cost me was to fix a sprinkler. No one else was up there.
So I got to ask every flight attendant "Having a good day?", as Christine looks on in horror... Not again... ;)