Vegas – day 3 – Redneck Magic Show, Stratosphere Tower

My long day at the canyon and magic show earned me a lie in and another day by the pool.  I found the ladies I was chatting to the other day down there, it was nice to have easy people to chat to.  I enjoyed being around my fellow English.

I did not wear enough sun cream.  It would seem that a splash here and there of factor 6 was not enough for 6 hours of unclouded Vegas 30 degree heat.  It hurt so much.  It hurt to wear clothes or move.  My skin would not stop burning.  I have never burned my legs or arms before, craziness.

Me and me burning body had a cold show, some soothing aftersun and trotted off to the Stratosphere for a show.  This was the show I tried to see on my first night – they emailed me and said because of the mix up, they would refund my ticket and also send me a new ticket for the show.  This was a show on a much smaller scale to the other two.  A much lesser known magician with seating for around 40 people.  This was the Redneck Magic Show.  The guy was not like other magicians, a tattooed muscle model who mixes humour and magic.  The show managed to entertain and baffle me with the magic without needing the big display and huge props.  The tricks were mostly card tricks, cutting ropes, signing $100 bills and then burning them and they reappear somewhere else.  I cant even begin to figure out how this happened!  He was funny and unpolitically correct, which is right up my street.  I would love to see this show again!  There was one moment where he was swallowing a long balloon wearing a Hello Kitty tutu dancing to the the song from Deliverance.  He later pulled the balloon back out and it was somehow now a balloon animal – a shitsu! 

After the show, I went up the Stratosphere Tower.  I was searched more than I have ever been for the CN Tower.  I stayed at the top until the sun had set.  The views of the mountains behind the city were gorgeous, and it was pretty seeing the city and strip gradually light up. It was cooler and windy which was nice on my sunburn, I leaned against cold surfaces at every opportunity.

After the tower, I decided to go get a tattoo.  Unfortunately, despite the place being near the Stratosphere, it suddenly became verg dodgy where I was walking.  I got a cab, but the tattoo place was unfriendly and questioned why I hadnt made an appointment (despite inviting walk ins on their sign).  I didnt get one – it was too expensive and I cant really afford it anyway.

I cabbed back to Circus Circus and saw a trapeze act in the hotel before bed.  

Vegas – day 2 – Grand Canyon, Criss Angel

I prebooked a trip to the Grand Canyon for day 2 – with a brutal 6.35am pick up from the hotel.  Friends of mine were in Vegas at the same time as me, and one of them wanted to do the Grand Canyon trip so she booked on at the last minute.  The coach trip started with breakfast pastries and a cup of tea before starting the journey.  The coach driver provided a running commentary giving lots and lots of information along the way about Vegas and the strip.  We stopped at Hoover Dam which was originally called Boulder City.   Just before getting there, we had to stop and have the coach searched.  The “Dam Police” boarded the coach and looked in the overhead lockers and on board toilet etc and then sent us on our way.

The journey was mostly through bare desert terrain with big cacti to look at and occasional ramshackle looking buildings.  Now and then there would be a small community which seemed deserted.  Some of these had beauty salons, post offices and usually a trading post.  I loved the isolation of the ramshackle houses, I think they would have suited me well.  We had a second stop where we were all given lunch boxes with sandwiches, crisps and a cookie before reaching the canyon approximately 5 hours after departure.

I had booked the helicopter and boat trip add on.  I ummed and ahhed a lot about whether to do this as it was pricey making the entire trip around £250.  It was worth every penny.  Everyone had to be weighed and given wristbands for the helicopter and then 6 passengers boarded with the pilot.  I have never been in a helicopter before, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  I was next to the door and the whole side where I was sat was glass.   The helicopter flying over the ground to the canyon didn’t seem too high, until we reached the edge of the canyon and flew out.  Suddenly we were super high above the canyon, and when we titled to the side, it was exciting and a little bit scary.  Amazing.  The views were incredible and we hadn’t reached my favourite bit yet.  At the bottom of the canyon, we landed and headed for a boat.  We were all given life jackets and the boat took us out along the river.  It was quite fast and it was a great feeling just flying across the water at the bottom of the canyon with the wind blowing in my hand.  It was the same feeling off freedom as galloping across the moors, not that I have done this for some time, but it made me want to.   The boat stopped at a couple of points just floating so we could take it all in and take photos.  I loved the view from the top, but my favourite view of the whole day was the view from the riverboat.  Incredible.  We flew back up to the top and then got a shuttle to the tourist zone at the top.

The first stop on the shuttle was called The Ranch.  There were lots of Wild West style buildings, ice cream, a saloon, horse riding, a gun show and a little a magic show.  The Magic show was good fun with a guy on his own doing card and coin tricks.  First, the magician told us he had a prediction behind the curtain he pointed to.  He had six coins from different countries and asked a man to split it in to two sets of three coins.  He then asked me to choose one coin – I chose Nepal.  Then he opened the curtain and there was a map with a piece of paper saying Nepal pinned on Nepal.  There was horse riding which I quite fancied, but when I asked they said it was very ploddy.

The second shuttle stop is Eagle Point.  It is called Eagle Point because of the ways the rocks have formed to show the shape of an eagle.  The ranger pointed out there is also a sleeping dog.  It looked like the dog off The Never-ending Story to me.  It is amazing how close you can get to the edge with no fences.  There were a couple of signs that said you couldn’t go closer than 5ft, and rangers acting as border control when I sat too close.  Apparently no one has fallen over there which amazes me with the uneven surface and levels of stupidity in the world.   Eagle Point also had the Skywalk which is a glass walkway out over the canyon.  I decided not to do this as it didn’t protrude very far and the photos and views were identical to if you just stand next to it! This was a relatively quick stop as our coach drive/ tour guide said that the best views are at Point number three.  

The third and final shuttle stop is Guano Point.  This began similarly to Eagle Point in terms of high canyon edge, no fences etc, but then you could walk up onto a big rock formation with amazing views from the top.  The sun was crazy hot at 30 degrees, so after a walk around, it was nice to get back on the air conditioned coach!  Obviously, I was moaning I was too cold and had my cardi on ten minutes in to the journey back.  We went back through the Hoover Dam and had one quick stop for refuelled on the way.  Other than this, after pointing out some celebrity houses – Clint Eastwood, Goldie Hawn and many others, our driver put on a film…. one of my favourites…..  National Lampoons Vegas Vacation.  I love all things Grizzwold.

The coach driver said we could get off at any stop, so we got off at the Luxor a Hotel at around 645pm where I knew one of the shows I wanted to see was playing.  Twenty minutes later, I was in my seat for the Criss Angel, Believe show, just in time for the show to start.  This is one I hadn’t heard of, but the reviews were fantastic and when I mentioned him, people said I should definitely go.  The show was exciting, it was filled with all the bits that Copperfield missed – pyrotechnics, live music, mini skits in between, slutty dancers and breakdancing ghouls.  It was big, loud, glitzy and I was on the edge of my seat.  He tuned hankies in to doves, so many doves, flying around!  He sawed a woman in half (no idea how this happened as he had audience members come and check both ends of her were real before he saws and then pulled the pieces apart), switched places with assistants, disappeared, swallowed razor blades and string and then when he pulled the string back out, it had tied all the blades together.  There was a big screen with creepy images and rock music from the guitar players.  He levitated.  Now, i have no idea how this happened.  I have read online the secret of some of the basic levitation tricks, but he levitated, then went in to a box and floated around in there with the lid closed and then floated back out and around the stage.  My only criticism of this show is that towards the end, he did a whole segment on childhood cancer and had faces and dates of children he had met and who had died.  He said his own son had cancer.  I completely get the wordiness of the cause, but it did kind of dampen my excitement taking a very serious and sad turn.  The show ended by saying about donation boxes, which was a great idea, but the bit in the middle did take some of my buzz.

I was exhausted by the this point.  I got an Uber back to the hotel and had a burger and a quick drink in the bar before crashing in bed.

Vegas day 1 – Pool, Copperfield, Fountains

On the plane…
With my more recent travels being road trips within Canada, it was about time I boarded a plane for my first plane trip of the year and am on the way to VEGAS! I am excited about this one, but also for some reason feel a little nervous. Its a busy bustling place to be in on my own, although as I write this, I think back to New York – if I can still enjoy the touristing when I am in a city full of unhelpful New Yorkers, I am sure this will be fine. I have a ticket to one of the three magic shows I want to see for tonight, and a super early wake up for a trip to the Grand Canyon tomorrow. I am hoping I will be able to get the tickets for the other two shows once I arrive.  
I am very much looking forward to some time to relax and some sun. I see now why Canadians are so keen to have a sun holiday in the winter. Whilst the snow is pretty and fun, the winter is long. It feels like every day the sun shines is a cruel taste of the summer that is yet to arrive. Despite this longing for some sun, I remember the humidity and each day of sun also reminds me I am one step closer to a sweaty summer of heat warnings! Thank goodness I swim in the lake, unlike many locals!
Anyway. Vegas. I have very little concept of what time it will be in an country at any time and what the money will be worth as three time zones to manage for communication purposes and three currencies to consider when assessing value is all too much!
Day 1…
Made it to the hotel, Circus Circus, and checked in. I was a bit nervous about the hotel as it was one of the more reasonably priced ones and I didn’t want it to be awful. I had a choice whether to stay in the main building or an outbuilding – The Manor. I went for The Manor as it is closer to the pool. The building made me worried, the entrance and the hallway are a little run down. Luckily, I opened the door to my room and breathed a sigh of relief – clean, nice, a safe, good size, air con, wardrobes with lights inside that come on when you open the door. Quick change and I was down by the pool in the sunshine. I spent a couple of hours in the sun, found some nice ladies to chat to. Just lying in the sun made me feel more relaxed than I have in a long time. It actually made me a bit homesick for pool/ sun holidays to Europe. The beach by me is great in the sun, but its a different kind of relaxing for me lying on a lounger by a pool. It was a little less relaxing when I purchased a Malibu and Coke for $18 (I think that’s about £15).  

When I thought on the plane about a weird nervous feeling…. I was right, this is where some mishaps began. The hair dryer in my room wouldn’t work, and after waiting 30 mins and a new one not arriving, I was going to be late for the show I had booked. I also looked at my receipt for the room and realised that I had been charged more than my rate. Luckily, the manager in reception was really helpful and refunded me the extra as somehow it had charged me based on four people being in the room. He also had a hairdryer in the room for when I got back. Running late, I got a cab to the Stratosphere for my 6pm show. At the ticket pick up desk, I was told it wasn’t on until Thursday. They gave me a free ticket to ride to the top of the Stratosphere – I may do this after dark one evening. Determined not to waste the evening, I enquirer about the other shows I want to see and was told that one wasn’t on that night and the other was sold out. Not to be defeated, I found the monorail. It is like a street car in the sky. You can see the tracks at the side so all you see is a shear drop all around! I got off at the MGM to see if I could get a ticket to the Copperfield show. Turns out, not sold out! Got a cheeky upgrade as the show was about to start and I just needed the one seat.
David Copperfield was exactly as in the pictures, a big mop of dark hair that cannot be natural. The theatre was not too big, there were no bad seats in there. I had a much more reasonably priced Malibu and found my seat. The people beside me were lovely and we chatted waiting for the show to start – they were from Oklahoma and I loved the accents. Each table had a smart wooden box on it for mobile phones to go in to stop people recording or taking photos. The Magic was really good, lots of it blew my mind – I was desperately looking to spot mirrors or ledges or anything to give a clue as to the secret behind the tricks. I love the classics like the pulling a bird out of a box or bucket. He had a duck and did not disappoint with this one. There was one where he lay in box with his head sticking out and what must have been fake feet, or was the head fake as well? Who knows? But the box then shrank so it was as if he was only a foot tall in the same box. I have no idea how it happened, it was so good. There was a story tying the tricks together – if I’m honest, the story was a bit naff and I would have just preferred a string of tricks or some banter in between. We all know that he does two shows a day, pretty much every day, so when he says this is the first time I am opening a letter from my father, it seemed disingenuous. At the start we all had to send an email with our hometown in the message and our locations all appeared on a map. He then sent us all an email, told us to check it appeared and not to read it, then phones back in the box. At the end of the show, we were told we could read the emails. The email had a prediction on of a number of things that happened – I am baffled. I have no idea how this happened, unless every volunteer was a set up? But then how can everybody throw frisbee that precisely to get the right volunteers?! Despite being impressed with some of the tricks, I am not sure if this is one I would see again.  It was good, but I don’t feel satistifed, I think it’s the rubbish linking story that took the shine off.  Luckily there will be more to see and compare.

After getting lost in the MGM, I found my way out on to the strip. It was really nice walking around seeing the big hotels and lights. Not too hot. Not too busy. I just strolled in the evening, not making eye contact with the less savoury looking characters, and taking it all in.    I got supplies so I have breakfast for while I am here.  I randomly came across a Zoltor machine like on the film Big.  I was delighted that I could actually put a dollar in and it came to life.  Not only did the machine verbally tell me that I should laugh often, it gave me a pretty fair assessment of me in my fortune card.  As one who doesn’t believe in any of that stuff, it was weird how accurately this one fitted.

I got to the the Bellagio and waited a couple of minutes for the fountain show before getting a cab back to the hotel.  Back before ten after all that ready to get some sleep for a busy day.

Becoming a Tourist

I am officially a tourist.  My two working holiday visa expired today. My friend kindly took us to Niagara Falls and treated us to a hotel last night for my birthday.   The started smoothly with her locking the keys in the car and having to call the breakdown people!

To end the visa, I had to be out of the country today.  This meant we had to leave Canada and then reenter with me coming back in as a tourist.  We left Canada – at this point, I could be left in no mans land if both countries decided not to accept me.  At the US border, I explained the situation and we were given a piece of paper saying we were being refused entry to the US due to the reason for visit being to “flagpole”.  We had to take this back to the Canadian border where the guy at the booth said we were fine to go back in.  I was not getting a passport stamp as I did not get a stamp for US.  I said that I wanted one as I was worried when I go to Vegas on Tuesday, airport border people would think I had outstayed my visa with no evidence to say that I had left.  The guy said we were fine to go back in and it shouldnt be a problem.  He said I was not being referred to the office, but could go if I wanted a stamp.  I did.  This was all very nerve wracking – I got all nervous unsure if I could take my seatbelt off to lean over and speak to the man in the booth, we declared two cans of cider in the car which he seemed to find amusing.  

When we went to the office for the stamp, I again explained I was ending my working holiday visa and wanted to come back in to the country as a tourist.  The man wanted to see evidence of my flight out of the country.  I had a whole folder full of paper with all my other details of travel, proof that I could support myself etc, but they just wanted to know I was leaving and see the flight booking.  At this point, it is entirely at their discretion how long they will let you come back for (up to 6 months).  He stamped my passport to exit the country by the end of July.

I was not charged any money other than $4 to cross the border to come back in to Canada.  The whole process took around an hour.

Time to enjoy our mini break… by this point it was pouring with rain.  We checked in to the hotel.  Realised I had forgotten my rain coat and headed out.  We got some Beavertail, well I had Beavertail, Erin had Tims, and looked in some shops before walking along the Falls.  Then up the hill and in the Skylon Tower for a drink at the top – disappointingly the only hot drinks were coffee based, so I had hot water and lemon.  It was nice to see the view anyway and have a sit down to dry off a bit.

We looked around the shops in the casino mall and then walked back to go to the Haunted House which was fun.  Kelseys for dinner was delicious and a man with a guitar sang Sweet Caroline.  My food was good.  

When we got back to the hotel, we curled up to warm up.  I was so cold and all my clothes were wet, so I put my beanie on.  I must have drifted off within 10 minutes.  I woke up sooo hot as we had the heat on.  I had the best nights sleep though.  I was out so quickly and was so cosy.

We accidentally slept through breakfast, so we went to IHOP and had one last drive around the falls before heading back to Toronto.  Of course, it was sunny today! 

Week two with Dad in Canada 

After our trip to Quebec and Montreal, the pace did not really slow down.  I worked the next day while Dad pottered around the beaches and we went downtown for some touristing in the evening.

We went to see the CN Tower just as it was getting dark and stayed up there until the city was all lit up.  I hadnt seen it at night, so it was nice to see another different view.  Dad said he wanted to have a steak at some point on his trip, so we went to The Keg.  The meal was spectacular. We had steaks and creme brulee for dessert. 

Tuesday came, along with more clouds, so our indoor plan was implemented and we went to the Science Centre.  It was interesting, there was lots to see and do, though too much information.  We ended up staying until it closed.  We were amused by how they managed to put a Canadian spin on many things that we were sure werent really invented by Canadians! Lightbulbs, the telephone… I must google.

On Tuesday night we went to the pub quiz down the road with friends.  We didnt win – but 5th out of 11 teams is not shabby.

Wednesday was a quiet day around the beaches and the ravine, and I had work in the evening, so I sent Dad downtown to explore.   

We hired a car on Thursday and went off on an adventure to the St Jacobs cattle auction and Farmers Market.  The auction was fun to see and the market was great in the sunshine.  There were lots of market stalls indoors and out with such a random selection of stuff for sale.  The whole place was run by mennonites who I think are similar to the Amish.  They were wearing bonnets and the men had on hats and braces like on the TV.  There was a lot of interesting stuff they made like ragdolls wearing dungarees and quilts, bonnets and all sorts of other stuff.  We could have stayed all day, but we planned to go to Niagara Falls, so we tore ourselves away to go and admire the view, and the journey behind the falls.  We were just walking back to the car when the rain started.

Toronto Islands had to be on the agenda and, luckily, we had a sunny day on Friday to visit before the baseball game.  We were very proud of ourselves as, having eaten lots of sweet treats, we cut down by shaing and shared a muffin, then shared a beavertail later shared a burger and fries at the baseball.  Probably still too much junk!

The last full day arrived.  Packing, beaches, drinks on the patio of a pub on the beach until dinner and some drinks with friends. 

Last day, we were up surprisingly early to do some last shopping at the Eaton Centre.  I got a few summery tops and we were delighted to get chocolate samples.  Dad managed to get two.  We had a last stroll on the boardwalk.  The waves were big and people were out surfing on stand up paddle boards in wetsuits.  There were lots of people taking photos and the beach was getting washed away.  Apparently the lake has never been this high.  The chairs we were sitting in on Saturday were surrounded by water.

My friend lent us his car so I could take Dad to the airport.  

It was such a fun two weeks.  I am so lucky that I get on so well with my Dad and we enjoy the same things and have the same stupid sense of humour.  I have so many funny stories and memories of this trip – the lesbians on the ferry that Dad asked me if I thought they were boyfriend and girlfriend or mother and son, not realising my earring fell off and landed in the bag of nuts until Dad nearly broke a filling, defending English weather, introducing good friends to him, lots of creme brulees, him singing “on the boardwalk”, bagels – so many bagels, street cars, free chocolate, chocolate shots

Dad and Daughter roadtrip to Montreal (and Quebec)

Our time in Quebec over and it was time to make the trek to Montreal.  We got there earlier than intended and headed straight to the hotel to check in.   We stayed fairly close to where I stayed last time, and I remembered my way around fairly easily.   Having the car the this time and going back over the same areas amazed me with how much ground I had covered last time on foot.

Unfortunately, the hotel did not manage to put us in rooms near each other, or even in the same building.  Hotel was okay other than that, and the fact that my bathroom was so small, I had to sit sideways on the loo as there wasnt room the other way!We got there in the early evening so drove down near the Old Montreal for a walkabout and to see the Notre Dame Basilica.  The square was busy, so we had a quick look around and then went for some dinner.  Dinner was at the chocolate restaurant, Juliette et Chocolat.  It was shots of chocolate, meringue floating in custard for Dad and chocolate fondue for me.  I remembered the place from last time, it was so good!  We didnt stay late as I wasnt feeling 100%.  I slept really well in the hotel and we had tea and toast for breakfast.

Sunday morning involved some walking around the shops and port, sitting in the sunshine (yes, we finally had a break from the rain and an opportunity to don flip flops).  We had maple taffy rolled in the ice from a sugar shack.  We went to Notre Dame to look around inside.   We just strolled around the city after, and it was lovely.  

I had to take Dad to try Fairmont bagels, so we went to get bagels and the drove to Mont Royal to sit and eat them in the sun looking out over the city.  Mont Royal is a park/ mountain in the city that has a lovely parking area with a view over the city, and lots park and green at the top to visit.   

We didnt want to be back too late (it ended up being 12.45am), so we decided to have some more tasty treats from another Juliette et Chocolat.  This time, chocolate shots followed by a sundae with warm chocolate sauce for me and a crepe for Dad.  I wanted everything on the menu, all the treats in the bakery counter and the entire stock of the chocolate shop.  We got some desserts to bring back and a few bits from the shop.

Back to Toronto.  The drive was just under 7 hours with a couple of short stops.  The road was full of pot holes and we were tired, so it was slow, steady and even more tiring.  

Despite the huge amount of driving, the whole trip was totally worth it.  I loved all of it, but the highlights (other than chocolate based food) were definitely Montmorency Falls in Quebec city and just strolling around Montreal.  So happy the sun joined up on the last day.   Before coming to Canada, 2 or 3 hours seemed like a road trip, now, if I want to go somewhere 7, 8, 9 hours away, I just do it.  I love the opportunities this will open up for me. 

Dad and Daughter roadtrip to Quebec (and Montreal).

Thursday morning came and, after an impromptu Jays game followed by packing on Wednesday, we were tired and set off a bit later than planned around 9am.  The drive to Quebec took a staggering 9 hours.  We did stop a few times for supplies and leg stretching – it is lucky we always have lots to chat about.  There was still snow on the ground at the side of the road as we got further east. We had a small debate over whether it was snow or plastic bags, apparently it couldn’t be snow, it’s not cold enough.  Dad eventually realised it was snow!  

The hotel (Hotel Universal) was nice and the rooms were spacious and had a bit of posh towel folding going on.  We had some food at the Boston Pizza in the hotel and then a sauna, then retired to take baths and sleep.  

The rain forecast had not arrived when we woke up, so we drove to Montmorency Falls and were able to see all we wanted just as the rain hit.  There is a short walk to the falls where you can go out on to a pavillion that sticks out over the water allowing a breathtaking view of the falls.  We both turned the corner and stepped out with a ‘wow’.  The falls are higher than Niagara Falls, though considerably narrower.  We walked accross a suspension bridge over the top of the falls and you can look down and see the ice still at the bottom.  I loved seeing the different layers in the ice that have built up.  The steps down to the falls were closed for the season, Dad vetoed the idea of climbing the barrier.  I did convince him to jump up and down on the suspension bridge though.  

We drove down to the bottom of the falls so we could see the view from the bottom as well.  By this time, it was getting colder.  It was one of those weather situations where you leap out of the car, briskly walk, with little trots to the best spot to see the falls, take a picture, share a quick mutter of appreciation and retreat.

Time to see Quebec City.  A city within old fortification walls, still surrounded with cannons.  Unfortunately, all of the other places we could have been had better weather than Quebec – Toronto and UK were dry and we were at risk of water damage.  We briskly walked around seeing some shops.  The Chateau Frontenac was a lovely detailed fairytale castle with turrets, now a hotel that we went to for Afternoon Tea.  Unfortunately, noone bothered to collect us from the sign saying we had to wait to be seated, so we went elsewhere for burgers and poutine.  We saw some cannons along the fortification walls, and walked back up through the shops.  I found some winter hats reduced in Roots which offered me a little more weather resistance.  I was delighted to find a Christmas shop, Christmas songs playing.  I picked up a wonderful new decoration of a snowlady holding a frog to kiss.  It made me think of me, always on the lookout for a prince.  We pottered around a shop full of such random stuff – cutlery (handmade with all different woods, apparently juniper will always smell peppery which was interesting), knives, leather goods, pistols, clothes, fur hats etc and all sorts of supplies for those models with the little soldiers where people make a scene to play with and re-enact battles.  I bought some red polka dot origami earrings that I loved.  There was a whole interesting range including earrings made from the crane origami shape.  When I asked about them, I found the lady working there made that collection.

Throughout the day, we were on the lookout for a pastry shop.  Somewhere to sit seeking refuge from the rain, and have a tea break. We went in many to check the ambience and menus – luckily we held out for the right one and found Paillard.  The place was packed with fresh breads, pastries, cakes, chocolate and creme brulees.  Of course, we had creme brulee.  It was spectacular, and blowtorched when ordered so it was perfectly warm from being freshly caramelised.

Back to the car and off to the hotel.  Some lazy time, a sauna, jacuzzi and some dinner at Baton Rouge.  Delicious but a little pricey.

We had a good sleep and went back to Quebec City today for another look around the streets we missed.  Breakfast was, of course, at Paillard – bacon and cheese croissants.  Dads turn to do some shopping and we went for a nose around the Chateau Frontenac to check out the view from the top floor.  Can anyone pass a maids cart without being attracted to the smellies?  We are way too silly for this sort of opportunity and I got a little hysterical with the comedy of the casing of the cart.  I would return the hand cream in return for a glimpse of that security footage.

A hot chocolate, a walk in the rain, pottering in the shops and we went for a talk on the history of Old Quebec.  The model lit up as the video and voiceover talked about each area and sound effects were alongside it.  Not something I would usually do, but 20 minutes was the perfect amount of time to be interesting to me.  

A quick hunt for a book on the history of Quebec City for Dad and we set off for Montreal.

When Dad came to town…  Round 2. Part 1.

Another month, another visitor.  A repeat visitor again. Dad is back and we have a fun filled two weeks in the diary.  

Day 1 was a gorgeous sunny day for strolling around the beaches.  A little windy by the water, but nice for walking and getting his bearings back.  It looked good enough to swim, but we are not silly.

Day 2 took us downtown with plans to potter around the Eaton Centre and then head for the Science Museum.  Normally, an excellent planner, I dropped the ball and did not check the Science Museum opening hours.  In my defence, what sort of toursit attraction closes at 4pm?!  We did a spot of shopping and met the Welsh and the Scottish and went for mac n cheese balls and warm cookie and ice cream desserts.  We got tickets for the Jays vs Red Sox game and sat down in the 100 level.  It was weird being there not working!  I kept wanting to say “Hey, hows it goin’?” to people and direct them to their seats.  After a fair few losing games this season, it was nice to be at a winner!

Day 3 saw us heading East for a roadtrip…. 

Pulling teeth

Having a tooth whilst awake is not one of those things that is not as bad as you think it is going to be.  What a horrific experience.  

Having been in a lot of tooth pain, I had to go to the dentist. I had prepared myself to have a filling (I find this traumatic enough in itself) and found myself being sent off to a surgeon for an awake wisdom tooth removal.  I was offered a video clip to see what was going to happen, I firmly declined.  The four injections were terrifying and painful.  I could not actually feel the process after this, so that was good, however, it was still awful having my mouth propped open and all the drama.  They kept saying breathe through my nose, how do you breathe through your nose when its all snotty and blocked due to crying through the whole thing?! Luckily there was a nice lady wiping my tears and holding my hand.  The worst bit that I was not prepared for was being able to HEAR the tooth being ripped out – like the sound of the roots ripping when you pull a plant or weed up.

I asked to keep my tooth, it was huge! They wouldnt let me.

Afterwards, I found myself being given gauze to pack it and hopefully the bleeding would eventually stop.   I didnt think of having to do this and didnt not want to touch it or go near it.  Luckily, a friend was able to pick me up and a few hours later it had pretty much stopped bleeding in time for work.  My face was huge and I did not realise that two codeine on an empty stomach would make me very sleepy and very spaced out.  I couldnt smile at my customers because it hurt, I managed a teeth baring grimace later in the night.

I had to work the next day, but then my friend took me out shopping and, by the evening, I was ready to consider food.  Luckily, the pub we ate at did mashed potato with cheese and gravy for me.  A pint of cider is incredibly potent on an almost empty stomach and drugs.  I slept really well.

I am glad the tooth is out.  I am incredibly annoyed about the insane bill.  Canadian dental care is a nightmare – people are not entitled to it free or low cost unless they are on benefits, or if you have a job with a dental plan.  Those of us in the middle of the road working hard, but in jobs without dental plans are left to suffer.  The dentist said one to two weeks recovery time.  Four days later and it is still bruised and sore to move my face too much, but I feel okay other than this.  I slept lying down fully last night, the swelling has mostly gone and I think today I can eat something other than mashed potato or soup.

I must remember this experience and not let it fade as I must never have a tooth out while awake again. 

Being a Quiz Host

The last three weeks, my random life has had me hosting quiz nights at a pub down the road.  A guy I met through the Brits in Toronto Facebook group hosts them here and in the UK and he asked me to host a few for him while he was back in England.  I was so nervous at first about the use of the microphone.  I am used to being in front of groups, but the tools of my trade are usually flipcharts and PowerPoint.   The microphone went surprisingly well and was fine after the first five minutes.  Luckily James sent all the info and quiz questions, so I just had to find some cheesy jokes to start the night off and make up an interactive round and I was well away.  The first week, I had people unrolling toilet rolls on their team mates, week two they were writing poems with random words to be included, and last night had to build the tallest freestanding structure.  It was so fun to see that everyone joined in, got competitive and seemed to enjoy these!  I had about 25 people the first week, then 42 and 33 last night.

I had so much fun hosting these….  I only read the answer out once by mistake! And I have learnt so much random stuff.  Who knew the hole in a guillotine for chopping people’s heads off is called a lunette? It has been nice seeing teams that came last gradually climb the ranks, and teams that started with two grow as they bring their friends.  And this is in just three weeks.  Next time, Ill be back on the other side competing for the title.

(Quiz Coconut if you want to find one – and