Thursday, August 6, 2009

We fail at Toronto

My friend Ruru lives way out in the boonies of Markham, far beyond the entertaining and tasty areas surrounding Commerce Gate and First Markham Place, and all the way where civilization begins to peter out. I kid... sort of.

This week, Ruru is taking an intense life drawing course in downtown Toronto to prepare her for her soon-to-begin arduous journey through graduate studies in medical illustration. As such, she's staying downtown with her older sister. Since I happen to work downtown, we decided to meet up in this southern metropolis and have some fun.

Things began smoothly enough with dinner at a ramen udon restaurant near the Art Gallery of Ontario. This was actually a rare find that my work friends introduced me to - a sparkling gem of cleanliness and flavour buried deep within a ghetto and rundown looking mall. Not to mention that the noodles are abundant in portion and diminutive in price! This bode well for our frugal Asian student sensibilities.

The trouble began once we finished eating and needed to find something else to do. One would think that in fifth most populous city in North America, there would be things aplenty to keep us entertained. Sadly, we were drawing blanks. I suggested to Ruru that she should come back uptown to try Wii Sports Resort, but as enticing as that option was, she was understandably concerned about making the trek back down later that evening.

Now Ruru is slated to live at UofT's Grad House next year, and since she had never visited said residence before, I floated the idea of asking Kushima to show us around. Grad House also has plenty of amenities including foosball, billiards, and video games. However, as it turned out, Kushima was busy shopping and eating with his parents, so we were on our own. Fail #1.

Because we were already in the UofT campus area, my next suggestion was to head over to the medical student lounge. The lounge also has foosball and billiards, and because it's keycard access only, it's almost invariably deserted during the summer months. But as luck would have it, today the lounge was full of my classmates who needed the space to film an orientation video for the incoming class. Fail #2.

"Have you ever seen the UofT bookstore?" I queried. UofT's bookstore is several orders of magnitude larger than that of our alma mater, Queen's. It also sells a much more diverse and interesting range of items. Confirming that Ruru had never been, we set a new course. Unfortunately, it was half past seven, and the bookstore closed at six. Fail #3.

At this point, we began to ponder the prospect of spending more money - on drinks, bubbletea, or dessert. Much to our chagrin, we couldn't think of any half-decent bubbletea joint in our immediate area, so we settled on Starbucks. Lucky for us, we had passed a Starbucks on our way to the campus bookstore, so we headed back that way with visions of smoothies tickling our senses. However, as we approached the aforementioned coffee shop, we realized that the inside had been gutted (bare concrete floors and haphazardly arranged wooden boards everywhere) and that this option too was closed to us. Fail #4.

As we finally settled in at a nearby Second Cup (Ruru, who had rebuffed my offer to buy her a drink, proceeded to order the cheapest beverage on the menu), we considered how thoroughly bad we were at enjoying Toronto - one of the greatest cities this side of the world. This partially, we decided, was attributed to our uncoolness - neither of us enjoying either a) drinking or b) clubbing. When you think about it, that's a lot of what city-folk do. But to be fair, Toronto had refused to cooperate in our quest to enjoy it as well. I think it was trying to tell us that we would have been better off playing Wii Sports Resort.

While we were sipping away at lemonades and iced teas, discussing the finer points of geography and whatnot, Kushima called me back and said that he had completed his family activities and was now ready to Grad House it up. We packed up and headed over to meet him. As it turns out, Kushima is an excellent tour guide and did a really great job of showing us around and selling Grad House as a passable place to live. I highly recommend him.

However, after a brief tour, Kushima ditched us to hang out with his middle school friend, once again leaving us to our own devices. We dropped by Rabba so that Ruru could pick up some bread for lunch today, but other than that, we ended the day there. So yes, we fail at Toronto... and grammar.


shirls said...

"I highly recommend him."
"So yes, we fail at Toronto... and grammar."
made me LOL.

Joyce said...

Oh wow, you documented our failure so thoroughly... It was definitely more amusing to read than it was to be there... lol!

The life drawing course actually had nothing to do with medical illustration. In fact, i saw it as my last chance to loosen up before i have to get all crazy technical. T-T;;;

(And hey, to be fair, i really like iced tea! It just happened to be the cheapest thing on the menu! >>;;)

And yes, we fail at grammar. 8D;;;

Joyce said...

p.s. i do NOT live in the boonies!!!!!! >:O