Last days eh? Always such a mix of emotion. I think we’d both gotten to a stage where we were ready to go home. I can only speak for myself but I miss the routine of it all. Which is a funny comment because in a couple of weeks I’ll have to develop a whole new one when I give up work completely to study full time. I know we both miss Archie, some might argue that he is just a cat but pets mean so much eh? He’s grown as we’ve grown. I miss Melbourne too, I miss the familiarity of it, I miss my friends who’ve been absolute rocks in my life these last few years. I hope in the future I can say that I’ve been there for them as they’ve been there for me.
We rose late, we’d negotiated a noon check out with our delightful Air B&B host, Liz. I can now reveal a little about the place we stayed. The day before we checked in we got a message to say that Air B&B were banned in her building and when we arrived we had to either tailgate someone into the building or get the concierge’s attention and let them know that we were her ‘friends’ rather than paying guests. I wasn’t too impressed. Claire who is much less uptight about sticking to the rules was much calmer. I muttered to myself for a whole day but I suppose that’s a little bit of anxiety about what if we get there and we can’t get in. I calmed myself with the thought that this apartment was nearly a grand cheaper than any hotel. We arrived, tailgated someone and went straight up to the apartment without a bother. It was perfectly positioned, had everything we needed and the bed was comfy, who could ask for more.
We do find the whole Air B&B thing good but we’ve noticed a lot of hosts will contact you on the day of check out and basically beg you for a 5 star rating and then ask that you put any possible improvement in the private message box just to them. I’m not sure I truly agree with this because as a customer of Air B&B, Claire and I both check the ratings and would prefer if they were honest. We don’t judge on a couple of bad ratings and unreasonable demands but I guess the feeling is by the Air B&B hosts that people do. Saying all of this our host was great, she would contact us nearly everyday to check if there were any problems and if so fix them, she also suggested a restaurant for us and gave general tourist advice.
We finally left the apartment right on noon, and we were sad to leave it. It had been our home for the last seven nights and we’d got used to the traffic noise, the steam whistle blowing (which we figured out yesterday was people on the brewery tour blowing it, like we had) and watching the crowds flock to Blue Jays games. The location had been ridiculously central and we loved it.
We’d amended our plans slightly and taken out the Royal Ontario Museum. We’d both have loved to have got there but there wasn’t enough time and we’re both to remember not to rush (remember coming back from Berlin and moving and doing job interviews the same day). Instead our plan was to head to St Lawrence Market to pick up a tortilla warmer we’d seen and wanted to go back and grab. We’d been served tortillas in one of these in El Sabor in North Melbourne a few months ago and had been looking out for one for a while, so even though it was bulky and we might have found one in Melbourne we weren’t going to turn down a lifetime of warm tortillas. We grabbed a coffee there as well and a cake, in my case a peanut butter slice. Peanut butter I used to hate but this is now very much one of my weaknesses.
We dropped into the Hockey Hall of Fame to pick up some sports merch I’d wanted and not been able to get when I went previously and then onto our final stop Wayne Gretzsky’s sports bar which sounded interesting in the Lonely Planet. Of course for those that don’t know, Mr Gretzsky was an extremely famous Canadian hockey player. The bar was large with multiple tv screens, most of them showing Premier League Darts. At this point Claire amazed me again, like with our Toronto FC experience, by seemingly being quite interested in the darts. The food was typical bar food and I do feel a little guilty that we have been in a lot and it’s not really Claire’s cup of tea but in fairness to her, she has rarely complained. My final meal was a turkey burger and some sweet potato fries and I drunk my 2400th unique beer.
We had to pop into the Intercontinental hotel because we’d left our bags there. We’d found out they accepted anyone’s bags for a charge of $3. However when we got there the Bell hop charged us $5 a piece, telling us the price had gone up today. In my English way I just agreed, whereas Claire decided very loudly to tell him she had been told $3 and then deliberately gave him every coin she had. We hopped on the train to the airport.
Upon arrival we checked in and found my bag was 8 pounds over, whilst Claire’s was a bit under. They were about to charge us more when Claire decided we would repack the bags and produce a third bag. It’s a silly rule eh? You can take two 50 pound bags each but have no more than 50 pounds in each bag. So even if you have only one bag and it weighs 58 pound they don’t just let you have the 100 pound limit. Hence the repack.
We then passed through security and for a quick drink before waiting for our flight out which finally got out about 30 mins late. A short 1 hour in Vancouver and then back on to Sydney.
Of course I’ll miss being on holiday. There is no nicer person to spend time with than your significant other eh? That’s not to say that spending every day for three weeks with somebody doesn’t pose its challenges. They get to see the sides you usually hide in your quieter moments. The frustrations about everyday things that boil over for a few moments. Relationships come with their fair degree of disagreements and arguments, in a way they are the oil that greases the chain. All too often I think people believe these are the precursor of a failing relationship with their idealised views but I believe they are the opposite, they teach you how to negotiate with your partner and your partner gets to see you when you least want it. These things help you hopefully build a relationship built on rock instead of sand and are nothing to be scared of. I wrote a year ago about how showing vulnerability is so important to a relationship and I truly stand by that.
Half way through the major leg of our flight, I get a strange hankering for Japanese food. A gyoza would go down nicely now. But with my no eating policy in place I’ll just dream I can get that for breakfast in Sydney. And, I’ve never loved the sight of pie face so much! A giant sausage roll and a coffee, all for the bargain price of $11! Ouch. Welcome back to Australia (the Japanese hankering had gone)
On the way to Pie Face and through immigration and customs, I got stopped by every level of security, including the canine kind. Claire’s bags rolled nicely off the travelator and mine were nowhere to be seen. Claire spotted a bag out the corner of her eye at the side of the travelator; we went up and said to the customs guy standing nearby that it was my bag. He asked what was in it. After 24 hours travelling, I was a bit grumpy and said back to him ‘what do you mean?’. He said the dog was trained to stiff out tobacco and did I have any in it. I confirmed I didn’t even smoke and he asked if there were any wood products in there, still my answer was no. In the end he just said ‘fine’ and let me go. Maybe the dog just got it wrong or it smelt that cannabis on the beer festival glasses we brought home. Next the bomb detection lady got hold of me going through the security gate; I obviously met her gaze at the wrong time. She was the nice and kind though. In airports I always figure there are two kinds, those who will generally chat and have a laugh with you and those who in no way wish to communicate with you like a human being. I was lucky that I encountered the first type today.
The flight back to Melbourne was late, but at least we made it, with just an hour and a half turn around, having to get our bags and re check them in. We got a rude awakening in Melbourne when we walked out, especially me in my shorts and t-shirt. Having gone from 38c in Toronto we were now faced with winter conditions.
We picked up our very expensively boarded cat and home we came to a freezing house, but there isn’t anything quite like home eh. Another fantastic trip finished.