chris vs. the arctic

chris: 72 // the arctic: 47

Toronto

December 31
New Year's Eve in Style
Said goodbye to my family and flew from Halifax to Toronto, Ontario in the early morn. Met up with Lauren, Kate, Kari, and Christy at the Toronto Hilton. I reacquainted myself with Yonge St. and bought a completely new outfit for the New Year's party. We went to a closed party at 606 King and got completely plastered. At least I did... During the stumble back to my hotel, I realised how truly convenient Japanese convenience stores are. I can walk down to any street corner in J-town and get my late night munchy solution. Not in Toronto. Room service was slow and the pizza place wasn't picking up. I went to bed hungry. Just as well, I suppose. I had already eaten enough in the past week...

Party PeopleNikki and EmmaMe and Lauren
Me and KariMe and KateOrange Disco
Uhhh...Apparently Passing OutOrdering Room Service

January 1
Hungover
Joined the rest of the nation in waking up hungover. The streets of Toronto were completely empty, save several homeless people and a handful of 20-somethings with disheveled hair and smeared mascara. We dispersed and I followed Kate back to her house in Oakville.

University Ave. New Year's DayToronto Towers

January 2-5
Back-to-Back DVDs
Transferred to Orangeville with Lauren. We spent three days drinking Tim Horton's coffee, shopping at big box stores, and watching the entire first two seasons of "Arrested Development." I don't think I've ever laughed as much or for as long as that! Lauren is moving to Australia this week to start med school, so I made it a goal to distract her from packing. I succeeded. Hence her handing me back to Kate...

January 6-7
Shopping, Sights, and Sadness
I followed Kate again, this time back into the city. She had to work, so I wandered around T-dot (Toronto) and went on a random shopping spree at 10 AM. Afterwards, I met up with Kate at the Royal Ontario Museum (where her design firm is currently working). We had lunch amongst a crowd of screaming kids with her cousin and coworker. They managed to sneak me a visitors pass to the ROM, so I explored the newly renovated museum and found a favourite exhibit -- Ancient Egypt. That night, Kate and I went to the top of the CN Tower and had some beers before a pub dinner. The next day, Kate and I went to see "Brokeback Mountain." I have to admit, I have never been affected like this by a movie. I was completely devastated (and the feeling lasted for a week). After the movie, it was more sadness at Lauren's going away party.

CN Tower in BlueUp High
Toronto from the CN Tower

January 8
24 Hours of Hell
On two hours of sleep, at 3 AM, my shuttle came by to take me to the airport. It was the beginning of a hellish trek back to Toyama. After waiting more than an hour to check in (because the counter was closed), I was directed to U.S. customs. (I had to get to Chicago from Toronto for my flight to Tokyo.) For some reason unbeknownst to me, I was subjected to every single screening check the U.S. has to offer. First, I was asked a lot of questions by the passport guy. Then, I was directed to a small room to have my baggage rummaged through. Next, my baggage was X-rayed and I was sent through the Gates of Eternal Annoyance (a.k.a. the metal detectors). I always set them off! So, of course, I was hand-scanned. Then my shoes were scanned. Then my carry-on was checked for gun powder residue. Then my carry-on was rummaged through. Then my person was searched physically. I wanted to yell this sooo bad: "Is there another hoop I can jump through for you?!" After my ass United Airlines flight to Chicago, I got on my sweet JAL flight to Tokyo. Except for several periods of waiting, I smoothly made my way back to Toyama and my freezing house. It's good to be back!
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