You guys! I’m back! The bar is OPEN. Let’s clean up all these old coasters, wipe down the bar top and start a new thread. As always, I appreciate all you keeping the lights on in my absence. My vague idea to post a little from Canada fell apart; when we had wifi, I was consumed with following Twitter and the Trump/McCain situation. My eye sockets got a good aerobic workout from all the rolling, of course.
But, as is the custom these days, the Trump/McCain thing now seems like ancient history, because a few days have passed.
Instead, in the great tradition of American vacationing, let me bore you with some photos.
It was quite hot when we were there. So much for traveling north to escape the heat. I know it’s summer, but still — I’ve reached the point where I am no longer amused by having a sweaty head all the time. Day one we went to the Ex, i.e, the Canadian National Exhibition, which promised to be a version of the Ohio State Fair, but, sadly, didn’t deliver. However, there was a union dispute around it, and we got to see our old friend, the big rat:
Who makes the big rat? Does it sell exclusively to unions? I’ve seen it in Lansing, in New York and other venues, always in the context of a labor dispute. Anyway, the Ex was the bad parts of an American state fair and none of the good; “the barn” contained not row after row of prize livestock, but one or two examples of same, with copious signage explaining them to city folk. Disappointing. I wanted to see kids in dairy whites or cattlemen’s cowboy hats, snoozing between classes. Oh well — next time I’ll go to the one in Columbus.
The following day was a heat-warning day, so it seemed a good time to check out the Toronto islands, just offshore from downtown, a large city park. You get there via ferry:
And, once there, relax and enjoy. You can rent bikes…
…and ride them to the end of the complex, where you can behold the skyline:
Very impressive. Although I was taken by this freighter docked across the way, likely a salty (i.e., one that leaves the Great Lakes). Note the lifeboat, stored at that terrifying 45-degree angle. It’s safety orange:
Not exactly the open rowboats of “Titanic,” but then, you wouldn’t want those in the pitching waters of a Great Lakes storm, would you. I wonder how they’re launched, if they wait until the nose sinks enough that it goes down at a gentler angle, or if everyone just climbs in, straps in and boom. That splashdown would be a whiplash-inducer for sure.
Oh, almost forgot the one impressive thing about the Ex — this display of “paper lanterns,” although I suspect the paper may have been rather heavily coated in a way to make it more like fabric. Anyway, in a dark room this was quite beautiful:
And here you thought carrying the weight of the world was your job.
After that first day, we did a lot more — shopping, eating, going to shows, including the summer revue of Second City and a Shakespeare in the park production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” I bought some sandals and Alan bought a Patagonia vest, both on end-of-summer markdowns. It was a good week, even as hot as it was. Oh, wait, one more: What dry-aging beef looks like in process, from the St. Lawrence Market, an indoor food Mecca:
On Friday, after our return, I went ottering — my friend Bill’s word for swimming in fins and a lifejacket — in the St. Clair River, while listening to selections from Aretha’s funeral on the drive there and back. What an event that was. Bill told me about how some firefighters he knows were sitting around the station one day when a fancy car pulls up and Aretha got out with her driver/security guy. You know her famous purse? Some of them have locks on them, and one had malfunctioned. It didn’t need a fire ax to open, but she dated a Detroit firefighter for a while, and knew they had the tools necessary to fix it. They did so, and she posed for selfies all around before riding off into the distance.
Speaking of selfies: The photos I just posted are most of what I shot in the course of a week. I couldn’t help but notice, in the depths of this dense-packed city, how so many people spend so much time just taking photos of themselves. Two cute girls on the doorstep of a yoga studio — selfie. People on the ferry — selfie. In that paper-lantern exhibit? “Selfie spots” where a single light is trained on you, to capture your face and the illuminated sculpture behind you in the proper exposure. If you stand there, an employee rushes up and offers to do it for you. Man, I am growing tired of all this.
(That said, I took one of Alan and I sailing yesterday. Because I am large, I contain multitudes.)
Anyway, I have some more thoughts about the Aretha funeral, and I think I’ll trickle them out over time, as they haven’t quite gelled yet. In the meantime, enjoy the holiday if you’re reading it Monday, and the rest of this short work week. September is upon us.