Andrew and I arrived early to ComedySportz World Championship in Buffalo in order to take a mini-vacation up in Toronto. The first night we stayed at the airport Motel 6, it was a one-nighter and cheap. As we were checking in at the front desk one of the other patrons came up to find out where he could get some ice. Apparently, all the ice machines at the Motel 6 were out of ice so the front desk clerk suggested going across the street to the microtel and stealing their ice. The hotel guest was put out and about to go to his room when another patron walked in with thirty bags of ice acquired from the microtel, he was laughing and saying “I ain’t proud.” I have personally never needed ice when at a hotel, but I am not beyond seeing the need for a couple of cubes in order to colden-up a drink, or maybe a bucket for some sexy champagne times. But when I see someone in a hotel with that much ice under their arms, all I can think is my door will be double bolted and I am going to take care to make my kidneys extra hard to reach tonight.
Andrew and I got into our room and were underwhelmed, to say the least. We showered the muck of travel off and got dressed again in order to feel comfortable enough to lay in the bed – I was afraid my “clean” sheets were from the microtel’s laundry. We got up early the next morning and headed to Toronto.
About twenty minutes after crossing into Canada, Andrew realized the probability of moose sighting from the highway was probably slim and fell into his usual car-trip coma as I drove. The hotel in Toronto was a far cry from the Motel 6 we had left, and that was a great relief. The concierge gave us a map with areas circled on it and we went on an adventure.
When I had lived in Niagara Falls, growing up, I had only been to Toronto once and that was to see Phantom of the Opera with my high school. I knew nothing about Toronto. For instance, did you know it is the location of the Hockey Hall of Fame?
That’s the building you see behind Andrew and me. We never went inside. Andrew like playing hockey and he likes knowing about all things sports, so he vaguely follows hockey, but neither of us are big fans. When I say I am not a big fan, what I mean is I tried naming 3 hockey players – not just current players, bu players who have ever played the game in the history of the world as professionals – I got two: Gretzky and Lemieux. Andrew named a dozen, or so, more to see if I could recognize any others and I did recognize Orr, but strictly because of the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. I went on to try and name some hockey teams and got a good 8 or 9 out before petering out to ust saying, “Oh yeah, I think I knew that!” every time Andrew named another team.
On the suggestion of the concierge at the hotel we went to Toronto Island. To get there we took a ferry. As we were approaching the island a child near us pointed to a bouy and said, “Look mama, a landmine.” Another child pointed to a swan that had its head in the water, “Oh oh, a shark!” Which made me realize, the language barrier between the countries has gotten worse – or as they say in Canadian, “pancake.” We walked aroundthe island quite a bit then headed back to town. We went on a tour of the CN tower which was mostly terrifying with a dash of holy-fucking-Christ! when we walked over a two inch thick sheet of glass at 1122 feet up – I almost cried.
We left Canada the next day and headed to Niagara Falls. Andrew fell asleep ten minutes into the drive. It was fun showing him around Niagara Falls. Both the bevvy of Indian (from India) restaurants and the Casino (from Native America) were new to me. Otherwise, Niagara Falls was pretty much the same. As we were driving through town I remembered and related many stories of my growing up years, like the coffee house where I used to skip classes with my friend and we’d smoke and drink coffee and do crossword puzzles. Or the time I was walking on crutches to my physical therapist from school and someone I didn’t know came up to me and smacked me in the face. Or the time I was walking home from the bar job I had and some guy pulled up next to me and tried to negotiate a deal for sex. Ah, my teenage years.
We got back to Buffalo, checked into the Hyatt downtown and played with the tumbleweeds in the street as we awaited the rest of our Tournament bretheren to arrive.
(to be continued)