Monday, November 10, 2008

Toronto: the good vs. the bad

Things That Are Awesome About Toronto So Far:

  • I feel safe walking home.
  • the subway comes very often, there's a video screen that reports how many minutes until the next train arrives (it's never been more than 4), and it's so clean.
  • I heard an announcement today concerning the buses: From the time of 9pm until 5am, women traveling alone can request that the bus driver stop between stops. Awesome way to take care of women, if you ask me.
  • Whirlyball.  I went tonight with ACL as well as the Jersey Boys cast (though the Jersey Boy from the elevator was not there) and it's this great amalgamation of bumper cars and lacrosse.  I had a blast, actually, and even scored a goal or two.  We also played one round of laser tag; I wore a vest and felt like Jack Bauer as I ran through the course shooting everything that moved.  The only downside is that I wore a white t-shirt that shone like the noon day sun under the black light...Oh, and there are only two places in the states that has whirlyball--not sure where they are, though.
  • There is a piano in my apartment building.
  • The American dollar is worth about 20% more than the Canadian dollar.  So going to, say, the apple store is great because their computers are still the same price as in the states, making it so that if you buy a mac here you get a 20% discount.
  • A lot of the food stuffs at the grocery stores here are written in french, making it very interesting and making you feel worldly-wise.

   Things that Are Not Awesome About Toronto So Far:

  • While on the subway the other day, there was a 10 year old boy who was hard at work picking his nose and eating his findings.  Seriously.  The thing that surprised me was that his dad was right across from him, talking with him about the Toronto Maple Leafs and everything, and didn't even mention to his son that he might want to spare the rest of us the sight of snot stringing from his nose to his finger and landing eventually in his mouth.  And when the boy started trying to wipe it on his little brother, making the little brother visibly and understandably upset, the dad simply said (to the little brother), Well, you don't have to sit there...I understand that this could very well have happened anywhere on the map, but the fact is that it happened in Toronto, in front of me, and was not awesome.  I started feeling a little sick to my stomach, actually.
  • Toronto taxes their consumers out the wazoo. Really, because Canada has socialized healthcare, they tax on every little thing possible, making it so that when you order a $5 hamburger, the bill ends up being quite a bit more than anticipated because of all the little taxes that show up on the receipt.  And the thing that stinks for us is that we are not reaping the benefits of their socialized healthcare, rather just helping to pay for it. So Canadians, I hope you are enjoying your visits to the doctor; Merry Christmas.
  • A lot of the food stuffs at the grocery stores here are written in french, making it difficult to understand what, exactly, they are describing, as well as making you realize that you aren't that worldy-wise.
    The truth is that we are all loving Toronto and having a blast here. It's a beautiful city, supportive of the arts, and very tolerant of all different types of people.  It's a lovely place, truly.


jason said...

Actually I seem to remember when we were on our senior class trip in Montreal (another beautiful town!) one of my classmates broke an arm and Canada's socialized medicine did pay for it... So maybe you are still covered. I may be wrong though.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time you could get those GST /HST taxes refunded when you left Canada, too bad that's apparently no longer...

Anonymous said...

There is whirlyball in the Chicago area if you are still on tour when ACL comes here.

Mom said...

This is what I read on a Canadian website: Canada does not pay for hospital or medical services for visitors. Make sure you have health insurance to pay your medical costs before you leave for Canada.

It was really good to get the rebate from all the taxes paid when we left Canada. Unfortunately that ended in 2007.

You'll be home soon, Jess!

peaj said...
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peaj said...

Glad that Toronto is treating you nice. i like the clean/frequent public transportation.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Ooh, if there is whirlyball in chicago, you better believe we'll be there when we play that city! thanks, anon!

Nina said...

The good things about Toronto sound pretty great. I'm particularly fond of the idea of a video screen that reports when the next train will arrive. Beats looking impatiently down the dark tunnel for the happy little lights.

I'm not sure about whirlyball, but pretending to be Jack Bauer sounds like a good time to me.

kathiek said...

I am glad to know you are enjoying Toronto so well! The clean subway and the stops between stops for women traveling alone on the bus late at night are good things.

Jessica Latshaw said...

Yes Nina--the report of how much time till the next train makes a huge difference!

And Kathie--I like how they seem to take care of the women traveling alone, too;-)

erin said...

Ahhh....stringy snot. Nothin' like it.