domingo, 4 de novembro de 2012

Journey to Utopia: Day Four

It was a cloudy and cold morning. It was drizzling but this would not be a problem since most of our early activities were basically indoors. Our morning would be at the Royal Ontario Museum, which is not Louvre-sized but impressed from the outside with a kind of inlaid glassy pyramid on the façade.

The museum was divided into several different wings and had exhibitions of Asian (especially, but not only, Chinese) artifacts. After this, we went to the mineral area. There were some projections, you could read more about the origin of the rocks by using the interactive screens. The highlight was the flourescent minerals glowing in a dark corner. Also, there was a section of precious stones and there were about 30 cameras there.

After the rocks, we went to the Natural wing of the museum. All types of animals and I put one of the cutest ones to illustrate.

And of course, the cavern simulation, dark and scary, full of bats. I don't know why I always remember my younger sister when I get to places like this.

And suddenly, while we were visiting the Roman sector, learning about the Empire and all that, the lights went off. I was just touching one of those interactive screens and as I touched it, darkness. I thought, wow, this is really interactive.
The emergency lights came on. Then in a minute they went out and so here we were again, in the dark. We started wondering what had happened. A security guard who spoke (bad) English with a very strong accent started  to tell us we were not allowed to move so that we wouldn't start bumping into the pieces. Dale thought they were robbing the museum. At 11am? He was sure they were taking the Chinese burial place which was about 3 ton heavy. I was skeptic about such possibility. (My knee and people in the dark on the back)

We walked to the couch that there was near where we were waiting. We didn't feel like walking around, as other people were doing that but the security guard would come up from nowhere, out of the shadows and tell them off. "Sit on the floor, don't move". Not on the floor, baby, we are posh here. Emergency lights, 30 seconds, gone. This was the view we had from our floor of the main lobby.


30 seconds and off. =\
We waited and waited and nothing happened. What could one do in the dark in a museum, in the Roman wing? Why not an interview and a pseudo-documentary of how they finally, after 20 minutes, decided to evacuate us, first making us walk in circles and then leading us to the main lobby where there were more employees who didn't have a clue what was going on and why the power was taking so long to get back on. (it is not a file problem, most of the "documentary" was recorded in the dark, to give you the real impression of the conditions we had for a conversation):

Finally, after almost an hour, someone came closer and said. We are closing the museum and giving you a coupon for coming back until the end of the month. The thing is, and I forgot to mention it before, we had bought the tickets for the extra exhibition of dinosaurs and we had left it as the last to do. No refunds, I imagine, so we would have to consider coming back there eventually that week. And the conference would start the next day.

Anyway, back to the streets, it was cold but not really drizzling anymore. We walked by a very fancy street and some candid camera got me while I was trying to sneak out a sale at CK (empty-handed, if you are a good observer). I just hope this does not jeopardize my I-don't-like-fancy-brands reputation.

And we started our walking tour around downtown. We probably walked about as much as we had the day before, maybe 5 km. Behind the fancy street there was a narrower but pretty street and this unconventionally designed square.

More beautiful buildings and different styles of architecture. (I wish I had my architect friends power to say this is rococo or modern-whatever style).

And we reached the Village. It is basically some blocks of bars, stores and apartment buildings dedicated to the gay community. Rainbow flags everywhere, all the stereotypes walking past you. A wonderful experience. The only thing I saw there and could not really explore better was a restaurant where you are served by blind people (if I understood correctly) and in pitch dark. It must be so interesting. Next time, I have to eat there.

The tradiotional street signs decorated according to the part of the city you are in. No way to miss it.

The next pictures are: the most famous (and gay) intersection of Toronto - Church St and Wellesley St. It doesn't seem so, but my super guide and friend told me that and even Wikipedia confirms it. The second is the picture of a bar where they shot some scenes of the American version of a TV series I used to follow when I was younger - Queer as Folk.

Here I am standing next to the sign showing Younge St. Why is it special? Just because it is used to be "the world's longest street". Apparently here my guide was outdated. According to the usual sources (WIKIPEDIA, 2012), Guinness Book considered it the longest but they found out Highway 11, which was supposed to be one with it, was not.

Here is Dundas, the Maddison Square of Toronto. (OK, it is more impressive than the picture shows it. Bad angle.)

Our next stop demanded subway and bus. It was not within walking distance. I was interested in going to a place Dale had never been before. He had no idea what we were going to find. And so we headed for the Indian Bazaar. I was expecting a kind of big supermarket full of stores and the smells of India and some Indian music in the background. My mistake. Just as Kesington, the Bazaar was not a mall, but a street with stores and a restaurants. We walked three blocks and that was it. At least I managed to take a picture of this rickshaw. The flat tire may be evidence this one was more for tourists to see than to use.

And more customized signs. Walking away from the Indian lands, I suppose we were going West since we arrived at Mediterranean shores, we Ulysesly reached Greektown. OK, our day hadn't been that type of Odyssey but one can imagine. Again, you could tell by their noses and eyebrows and Greek signs and Greek flags we were really in a small version of a place where just around the corner we would find an acropole or some temple of whatever sort.

We didn't find any temples, but as we were hungry and our plan was to have Mediterranean food, Dale took me to a restaurant he had been before. It seemed fancy but prices were reasonable. The toilet was very interesting but I had left the camera upstairs. The dishes were delicious and I ate till I had to unbuttom my jeans. (and there was no plate breaking thing except for a waiter who dropped one during our time there)

So, we were really tired as we got back home. We then had to plan the following day and we decided we were no longer going to Fort York since it would be exactly the price of the dinosaur exhibition we had already paid for and not visited. So our mission the other day would be to go back to the ROM and then me heading for the conference.

2 comentários:

  1. I would like to correct a detail on your text. Yonge St. is in fact the extension of Hwy 11, so you're wrong and I'm right. :)

    1. I still don't know, my dear friend. As I believe Wikipedia, but I also respect your knowledge, I decided to do some more research and what came out of it was not something that supported your side of the claim. Take a look at and and let me know what you think.