Friday, July 3, 2009
You like the weather here, eh?
The past two days we have woken up and looked at the weather channel predict thundershowers all day long. We have prepared with raincoats, but gone out to enjoy our day anyway. On Wednesday, it only rained for the thirty minutes we were inside the power station tour. Yesterday, it rained prior to our arrival at the zoo, and as we left but the entire 5 hours we were there - not a drop. It was overcast - perfect for a zoo day where the walk through the park is easily 5 miles. We werent hot, but nicely cool. My legs are sore this morning from the half mile steep hill down and then back up from the Canada section of the zoo. I degress......eh? That brings me to 'eh'. I knew Canadians said 'eh', but OMG at the end of everything they say almost! As a drama teacher I would be charging 25 cents for each use to try to train it out of the vocabulary as a lazy term like 'umm' or 'like'. I started off thinking it was darling, but after a day of listening I realized it was just a meaningless thing to stick at the end of a sentence to turn every statement into a pseudo question.
So.... yesterday morning we got a late start. Rich let me sleep in, which was nice. He was entering receipts and keeping up with expenditures. Then we had breakfast..I had yogurt and granola, he had cheerios and a zucchini muffin. No coffee....this hotel has the audacity to charge fifty cents for a crappy styrofoam cup of coffee. I refuse to pay it. No coffee until we are out and about for the day. Needless to say, makes for a cranky Merrie in the morning.
We finally got moving from the hotel room at 11am, and I suggested we shop at a shoe store. Rich needs new shoes. We got gas and coffee at Tim Horton's (like our Dunkin Donuts, one every block) and went to the outlet mall to look at shoes. Found perfect ones, but stubborn man that he is....he wouldnt buy them and I wasnt in the mood to convince so we left and headed off for Toronto.
It was a long drive and the roads were awful. I will never complain again about a US highway, honestly. It took us twice as long because it seemed like we were in traffic. You know, like the kind of traffic returning from the Cape the day after July 4th. We finally got to the zoo at 1, and picnicked in the car. I handed Rich his fruit first, he reluctantly ate it (he isnt a fruit fan but I am a fan of coercing him to eat right) then his carrot sticks, then his peanut butter and jelly (sugar free jelly) sandwich, then several voortman sugar free peanut butter wafer cookies. We passed the voortman factory between Niagara and Toronto, didnt know I had bought Canadian cookies in america!
We went into the zoo and I felt like a kid again. My grandmother took me to the zoo all the time...all the time. Some of my favorite childhood memories involve the smell of my Meme's perfume (tabu) mingled with the wonderful scent of Fanny the Elephant. We went to feed Fanny so often that I felt like she was a family Rich doesnt like zoos so I havent been to one since the last time my Meme visited Georgia when Laura was about two and we went to the Atlanta Zoo. I was almost trembling with excitement as we entered the zoo. The Zoo was broken into Geographical regions and our first stop was Australia and I wasnt disappointed. There was the most amazingly cute tree marsupial, his little hands wrapped around the trunk of the tree and he was sound asleep. I could have watched her sleep for a long time, but Rich eventually dragged me off and I wasnt disappointed. The kangaroos!!!!!!!!! I have never seen a zoo with kangaroos...and they were there, with their Joeys..hopping around. Oh it was so fun to watch them! Tigers, and emu, then on to the Eurasia section with oryx and camels, and a snow leopard with her two almost newborn cubs (to name a few it was an hour and a half loop through this section of the zoo), then..... oh then...we were headed to the reason for the trip. Moose sighting. We detoured to enjoy Beaver Tails (a delicious piece of fried dough the shape of a Beaver Tail. Mine was cinnamon sugar (i know i know, i shouldnt have) and Rich had one with chocolate all over the top) There was a brazen goose who tried to take a nibble of Rich's Beaver Tail as he lifted it to his mouth. It was so funny to watch him fight the goose for it!
Our treat finished, we were headed for the Canada section of the zoo. I was thinking...this must be the best section of this zoo....national pride and such..... we got close and saw signs..and suddenly I bagan to feel like Dorothy in the haunted wood. "Washrooms in this section not working, use the facilities up here", then "Steep hill not recommended for those in strollers or wheelchairs or who have a heart condition", then "It will take you an hour to complete this loop". I looked at Rich...and look determinedly down the hill - Moose are at the bottom. We began our descent. Down we went...down down down past chinatown down. We saw a racoon as we descended, and several cougar. These cages no doubt placed as teasers to keep the foolhardy engaged in the descent. At the bottom there were several sleeping Grizzly.....some Elk....and then....in the distance........a Moose. Just one, but there it was the Moose. I was so excited...for a moment...then my brow furrowed as the reality fully hit me. I had come down that hill to see this Moose and now I had to go back up. I looked at Rich, panic in my eyes...he patted a picnic bench and we sat......and like Jim and Sally in the Cat and the Hat book...we sat and we sat and we sat and we sat, but I didnt wish I had something to do. No - I wished the opposite that I could just live and sleep at the bottom of this hill. I did not want to go back up. So....we sat some more. The bathroom can be a powerful motivator however, maybe that is why the washrooms down in the bowels of the Canada section dont work. You have to go back up to find a washroom. So we ascended, I grumbled, panted, grumbled, cursed the Moose, cursed the Canadians in general and kept climbing climbing climbing climbing climbing climbing......................until I reached the first working washroom. Victory was mine..the Demon Hill had been vanquished at last!
On to Africa....and the most delightful episode of our zoo trip. The Apes. We sat on a bench next to a fellow in a wheelchair. The two young apes were playing, wrestling with each other right in front of the window and the fellow in the wheelchair started telling us all about the apes. He knew which one was which, when they were born and from which Mother ape. How they got along, who was the matriarch and the age of Charles the Silverback. I felt like we were hearing about them from someone who loved them, watched them every day and felt like part of their family - it made me feel like part of their family as well. I could have sat there for an entire day peaceful as could be watching those Apes. I think I did sit and watch them for about an hour when I noticed that Rich was gone. I turned to my new friend and said....oops...I think I need to find my spouse. I thanked him and reluctantly left him and my ape friends to go back out into the zoo. I caught back up with Rich at the other side of the Ape enclosure...he was watching Charles, the Silverback eating leeks and cauliflower. I smiled to see that he found them as fascinating as I did and off we went in search of Heffalumps and Woozles. We found Mandrills first...with a baby swinging from the ropes...such fun to watch but Rich tapped on the glass and beckoned with a finger and out I went to see the Elephants. They were cute, they were elephants, but they were not Fanny. I realized that I only had eyes for the one Elephant from my childhood - dear old Fanny. We went on - orangatangs! We saw one that reminded us of Laura - he had a blankie he just wouldnt let go of!
Then...we were done with the zoo. We had been there for 5 hours and I loved it, every minute of it...even the heart pumping hill trek. (My legs arent loving that this morning though)
Off we headed to find a geocache, it was close and an easy find. Then to Toronto...we were looking for a restaurant I had bookmarked. I had the address and the Nuvi took us right to it, but the restaurant wasnt there :( So...we picked another location I had an address for in downtown Toronto and headed into the city. It was a view of the city we never would have had. We werent seeing it like tourists, we drove through little portugual, chinatown, and other ethnic neighborhoods as we headed into the city. We saw the St. Lawrence market, and the theatre district,the CN Tower (tallest int he world), the Rogers Arena (largest retractable dome arena in the world), we drove on Yonge St (the longest street in the world) and the harbour and riverfront....and headed out of the city to find some dinner. Those Torontonians sure like to find their way into the Guiness Book of World Records. Lots of tallest, biggest, longests.
We pulled into a restaurant at 9:30. It looked like a dive, I didnt care. I was hungry. It had been a long time since that Beaver Tail. I ordered a New York Strip Steak, salad and taters. Rich ordered a big mouth burger. His was ok. My steak was the best cooked, best seasoned steak I have ever had. That meal could not have been more perfect! Score!
We got back on the road and arrived back at our hotel in Niagara at 11 PM and went straight to bed.
We head off this morning for Quebec - long travel day.
I will regale you with more of our trip tonight..same bat time, same bat channel.......