Toronto, baseball, raving, The Falls and gummy bears.

Time to spend the weekend with this legend ! Oi Oi!

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The weekend had finally arrived! Time to head up North to see my boy Henry in Toronto. Henry and I have been friends since around 2010 and I knew that only being five hours south there was no way I couldn’t head up and say hello for the weekend. I had asked Mabel to join me about a month back and I’m glad she had said yes. Not only because I had never driven on the right side of the road, driven any real distance in an automatic car and had never crossed the border myself, but I wanted the company and to show Mabel that north of the boarder they know how to party right!

My legend of a roommate Jake had offered to take us along to Grove City to pick up the rental car on Friday morning, so come 0730 we were in the jeep and heading along to start our weekend. We picked up the Chevy (nice motor) and we were on the road by 0815. After a quick stop on the Interstate for coffee and donuts, we were back on the road and crossing the Pennsylvania/New York state border line. We listened to some old punk pop music, drank our rubbish coffee and before we knew it we were approaching the Canadian border crossing. We headed over Rainbow bridge and had a quick exchange with a lovely immigration officer and five mins later we were parked up in Niagara Falls.

The Falls were amazing! We grabbed some Boston Pizza and a drink and walked down to take in the sights!

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Very cool! We even hassled a nice English guy to take a quick photo of us. Cheers mate!

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After feeling the fresh mist of The Falls, we were back in the car and heading to Henry’s in West Toronto. We hit the freeway and before we knew it, with the help of Mabel’s GPS on her phone we were arriving outside Henry’s house! Super cool to see such an old house in the middle of a built-up area, filled with high rise flats and local shops.

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We made our way inside, dished out the hugs and met Henrys girlfriend Anna and their pug…Frank. What a legend he is! Mabel was super excited to see Frank as she has been missing her dog Molly since she has been away. This point was proved when myself, Anna and Henry were in the Kitchen and we could hear Mabel talking to Frank in full conversation.

Was great to get in, crack open a can of bud light that we had picked up in a seriously dodgy area of Buffalo, (we just typed in liquor store to the google maps…not the best idea) as we wanted to grab beers before we had to cross the border and start paying the high taxes on Canadian beers. The thinking man! Henry chucked on some records and we had a great catch up, got to know Anna and got ready to head along to the Baseball! Toronto Blue Jays vs Tampa Bay Rays! Couple of cans done, we headed out got on the streetcar (tram for all you Edinburgers out there) and headed along to the Stadium. We jumped in line and argued with the ticket guy for a while before having to go to customer services to find out the tickets Henry had bought on stub hub had been sold again after he bought them. Sore one. We quickly decided just to buy new tickets as they were already deep into the 2nd inning. Big up the lovely customer service lady though, you tried!

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Beer and a hotdog got, we headed to our nosebleed seats to sit down and see the game. After one beer and the dog we walked around the other side of the stadium to nip into a quieter section and enjoy the game with a lot better view. Now, I don’t know if it was because we moved and upset the energy in the stadium but from that point the Blue Jays fell apart. With a three-run lead going into the 8th, Tampa Bay hit three home runs (4 runs) and that was the game. We grabbed our jackets and got back on the street car, once again without paying, and arrived back at the house to find Anna and her friend tucking into some cans. We joined them, chatted shit for an hour or so and then headed down to their local for a beer. It was great to sit around drink beers and just relax, probably the one of the biggest things I’ve missed about home. It’s great to sit in the bar here, but being a dry campus, it takes away the joy of just chilling with a cold one and listening to some good music. After the bar, we arrived home, had some left-over pizza and another beer, then it was bed time! Day one in the 6…done!

The next day we woke up and took this beauty out for a walk and Henry explained how the development in Toronto is creating somewhat of a housing bubble, in a similar way in which is happening in Vancouver right now.

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Was interesting to hear and see the beautiful sights of the water front.

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When we returned, Anna was all good to go, so we headed to get the best pulled pork roll I have ever eaten. Amazing! If your ever in Toronto check out Porchettaco on Dundas Street! http://porchettaco.com. We walked over to the park to have a beer and our sandwiches and watch the dogs run about, Mabel once again in her element!

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After our sandwiches, we went for a quick pint to rest the legs and walked down to Kensington Market. The Market was amazing, filled with local produce, meats, clothing shops and anything else you could think about! This is also where we were handed free drugs. This was also Mabel’s first experience of Canadian liberalism at its fullest. To be fair they were pretty similar to legal highs at home, in the form of weed laced gummy bears. We had a good laugh about that, picked up more beers and ordered an Uber home.

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We also during the day tried to see the CN Tower from as many angles as possible. For the LOL’s eh! We did not too bad.

Mabel also decided that she loved it so much she was taking it home with her. Good work!

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Once home we stuck some records, introduced Mabel to Henry and Anna’s favorite slice of British Television in the form of…Masterchef. We also played the Masterchef drinking game where we take a drink every time baldy Greg says ‘I love a pudding’, they pronounce a word from another language wrong or serve something with ‘crisps’. Canned up, we had our amazing Mexican dinner. It was so nice of Henry and Anna to prepare Pork Carnitas for us as Mabel has been craving good Mexican food since she arrived her in January. Mabel also made us her special Guacamole, taught to her by her Mum, which Henry described as a ‘game changer’ in the food game. The secret ingredient will remain a secret to everyone apart from everyone Henry told at the bar, the Rave later on and his parents as Mabel made it. He was pumped up as always!

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Fed and watered we headed to the bar to meet henrys friends for some pre game cans before our night of dancing. Unfortunately Anna couldn’t come as she was working a 12 hour nursing shift at 0700 the following morning! The three of us hooked up with the mates a bar which had the cheapest beers we found in town. $6(CAN) a tin. Ouch! We had great chats with all Henrys friends, whom were super nice and before we knew it we were in taxis at the back of midnight going to the rave in which we had been sent the location hours earlier. Now this rave was not technically legal but the venue was amazing. We arrived in an old industrial estate and headed into the dark building. We got in, bought our drink tickets and danced the night away! The headliner was a Montreal native, Marie Davidson. She played live keys, a drunk machine, samples and spoke some French poetry over the dark and 80’s influenced beats. She was unbelievable! Will be trying to catch her in the future for sure.

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At around 0315 we headed home, walked in, spoke to Frank, finished a can and off to bed! What a day!

If I said it was easy to get up and start the day before 1130 I would be lying. However, as Henry pointed out, our livers have been trained into Undergraduate mode, something he has lost over the years, so we felt pretty good after a can of mountain dew and some pasta. 1330 came, we packed up our things, said our good byes and we were back on the road heading to Slippery Rock! We made a quick stop in St Cathernies, the home of the mighty Alexisonfire (one of my favorite bands and song that I have tattooed on my arm). I had no Idea why but I just wanted to be there. We also managed to get Mabel her first Tim Hortons. Yum!

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We then headed down to the boarder and started to think what we were going to do when America wouldn’t welcome back in Mabel with her Mexican passport! We wiped the sweat off our brows, got our best smiles on and proceeded through no bother. Trump’s influence obviously hasn’t travelled north yet! To be honest, even if Mabel hadn’t got through I think she would have been more than happy to head back and live in Toronto with Anna and Henry. I was happy to hear her say that Toronto had topped her favorite Cities since arriving here on exchange. If I’m honest with myself, I think I might be the same…Detroit is a very close second.

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We stopped in New York State for 15 mins to have some fresh air before the long drive home. I unfortunately made it a lot longer after taking a wrong turn and driving us into downtown Buffalo and then another that showed us areas of rural Pennsylvania we had no intention of seeing! Our five-hour drive, quickly turned in McDonalds for dinner and eight and a half hours later we were back dropping the car off.

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My legend of a roommate then picked us up as there were no taxis running to Slippery Rock. Home, knackered and buzzing from such a great weekend! I know you will read this Henry so I want to say, thank you once again! Yourself and Anna were amazing hosts that made our weekend the best one yet on exchange! You might even see Mabel back to live with you before you know it! She was buzzing! Legends!

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And that’s it. My tales of the States are coming to an end. One week today I will be home and boring as ever. I have three essays, two exams, a presentation, last karaoke night, dinner with friends, a block party and an all-day bender to enjoy before then! Keep it locked.

Bye.

Greg.

What I am reading: Skagboys – by Irvine Welsh. (This book is never ending)

What I am listening to – Everything punk pop. Yellowcard, Less than Jake, Fenix TX, Blink 182, Bowling for Soup, New Found Glory, Paramore, Knuckle Puck and everything else that came on shuffle in the car!

Checkout Marie Davidson too. Excellent!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAOYFJpxJHNNx1kk-_EFRPg

 

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