Winter in Toronto~ Some Mischievous Travels Part 1

While it's good to make the best out of what life brings you....
and to revel in the simple things...

There comes a time when you just have to shake things up.
For me, in my life, it is time for a change of pace and scenery and conversations.
 Harry & I live in central New York and we are in the month of February.
That means winter.
MID winter and it can get a bit long in the tooth right about now. I mean, really....
You can get a bit punchy.

Case in Point:
When time lapse photos of piles of snow freezing and melting becomes a big deal, you realize that you just may have fecking CABIN FEVER.

It is also winter break for me at the college.
So, I thought.... why not have a real “Winter” vacation and go and celebrate winter?
To revel in the beauty of nature, the starkness of the season, the harsh reality of cold wind , the comfort and warmth of friends and fire and family.  

Intrepid travelers, we are and left our home driving north into Canada on a stormy snowy day… after all, we are Northern New Yorkers. I was born even more far north than this and lived through the blizzard of 1977 when the National Guard was called in to our area in Watertown and the all terrain vehicles got stuck and couldn’t reach us!
Read: We do not fear winter.
 When we crossed into Canada we were surprised (and rewarded) to have dry road and a bright clear day. We actually had suckier weather at home! How’ere the wind was very wintry and it cut like a bitter cold sharp knife. I do love the fact that, like us, the Canadians don’t mind winter. It is what it is and it’s so nice to be here now, in this weather and season! I see that the city is very active with folks out and about. Undaunted by the weather, it is life in a cold winter land. Warm goose down jackets, earmuffs,  good solid winter boots and thick mittens make waiting at the bus stop for every day Joe, so much more comfy.  This is a city that has a lot of culture and there’s lots to see and do here!

So, I talk Harry into setting aside some time to depart for an adventure and we shuffled off to Buffalo...on our way to Toronto. 
We waited for our chance to cross the border….
and when no one was looking…
they let us in to Canada.

What were they thinking? Well, my dear old dad was born in Cornwall…and we were off to visit Kristin & Jeff,  to play some music and to play in general.  Harry and I haven’t been to Toronto  in about 14 years since we went to the Ontario Renaissance faire and visited Castle Loma, and it was nice to come back. So much has changed! The city is beautiful, and busy!
Toronto is a beautiful historic city, but with the addition of modern architecture.
It is a city that is constantly building and moving...

Both rural and urban. 

It is a city of diversity and the tolerance of living together.
And on another old Church... this sign.
Our first night here started by going with Kristin and the kids to the U.S. Embassy Consulate to pick up Jeff at his job there, and his workday was done.  It was an interesting experience to be sure! Kristin pulled into the Consulates’ parking driveway and requested entrance. The security officer slowly opened a bomb proof gate, and when it rolled back, he came out with the tools he needed to inspect the car for safety’s sake. It was a special detector to check for bomb residue all around the perimeter and under carriage of the car. He checked the underbelly of the car with mirrors reflecting underneath the vehicle for possible pipe bombs.  He opened the hood and trunk to see if we are packing any terrorist weaponry. Aside from a little lipstick, a savage wit…and some adorable children in tow, we were deemed not to be a threat, and only then were we let into the parking lot. It is an important and unfortunate reality and reminder in the daily life of government workers abroad.
And no, I didn't take pics of this. I didn't think "it would be prudent at this juncture."
 After getting our friend and the daddy of this family, we are off to China Town for dinner!
Check out the signage...

We went to a beautiful Chinese restaurant where we had so much fun and so much food! Definately a different world here! And so bright and cheery!

Kristin and Jeff suggested that the four of us adults all order an entree of our choosing. We’d also get some Won ton Soup, some Egg Rolls, Tea and special dessert. Of course to start things off, why not try a Chinese Beer? We imbibed in a Tsingtao while the kids had a soda for a treat too.
Our many course meal was served on this large round table on a large “Lazy Suzan” which was handy and also fun for the kids.

While I haven’t been eating meat since New Year’s, I was happy to have a treat and enjoy some Peking Duck, so crispy and sweet! I have to admit, that when it came, and the waitress dressed it out at our table, a moment’s reflection on the fun movie “A Christmas Story” with Ralphie and his family at the Chinese place for Christmas dinner came flooding into my mind. I even thought I heard the words:“It’s smiling at me” just before she chopped off it’s crispy head.

My parents raised ducks when I was small and duck is very delicious when cooked to perfection….but I had never experienced this particular recipe before.
This duck meat dish was served with small pancakes, some brown sauce, and vegetables as a wrap. The duck itself was carved before our eyes and we ate it wrapped in lettuce leaves.
Other delicacies were found at the Dim Sum and Seafood Restaurant. There was Seafood and veggies, a Szechuan Seafood course and one that I ordered just because it sounded delicious and different and just too weirdly wonderful NOT to order it!
It was: “Buddhist Tofu with Fungi and Chinese Vegetables.”
It was all very delicious and fun and sampled a very different, wild, sweet, tofu for dessert!

We reveled in each others’ company 
and the kids (Sarah, Laurel and Grant) kept us all amused :)

We did lots of walking through China Town and we had a great chat into the evening with a nightcap or two.
Certainly a good start for a great other worldly winters’ break!!

Stay tuned for the next adventure...
More stories and pics tomorrow....

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