up & down endless streets in the GTA

Man, unlike any other thing organic or inorganic in the universe, grows beyond his work, walks up the stairs of his concepts, emerges ahead of his accomplishments.

John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath (1939)

*****
An unknown force compelled me to go, and I’m still unsure as to why. Perhaps to see the most beautiful sunset as the plane was descending, or perhaps I’ve got a screw loose and have no boundaries. 
No matter to reason, the GTA ( Greater Toronto Area)  spoke to me in a lover’s whisper to feel her out, explore her depths and charms.
So I did.
I stay on Bloor street, across from the University and the ROM. A perfect location to start my wandering of the city in the morning. After a long day in the air, I’m ready for food and drink.
Little India, Chinatown, Little Italy, Oh Canada!….the choices are endless and overwhelming. I let the bottle of wine pick my food, and settle on a nice Canadian Red, complemented by Atlantic smoked salmon on toast and Indian Butter Chicken.
I sleep well.

 

 I awake to the alarm, but not mine, the hotel fire alarm. Panicked, I revert to primary school education and feel the door for heat, smell for smoke. The announcement comes over the speakers to evacuate the building using the stairs. I quickly dress and flee to the street with other haggard confused guests.

 

Only a kitchen fire, all is safe now. Please return to your rooms……
I surmise that no more coffee is needed, and start my day.
No map in hand, no GPS on the phone, I use intuition and luck to find my way. I go to Philosopher’s Walk at the University, marveling at the buildings and architecture.
I see, for the first time, black squirrels throughout the city, parks, buildings, vacant lots. I am reminded of the Pied Piper of Hamelin and the rats.

 

 Continuing the journey, I enjoy green organic tea in a local coffee shop, and read for a time. I’m in no rush. I see Lake Ontario, the waves are ice cold as winter seems to try and drown out the remnants of Fall. Children playing, students chatting, people shopping. A peaceful weekend.

 

Hunger strikes, and I find a little house that serves Ethiopian food. The authenticity is palpable, the food divine.
I finish eating, and walk more. Aimlessly and content.
The night comes, and with it my main reason for the trip, the Iron and Wine show down by the pier.

 

lead singer for Iron & Wine
 I see a Persian drum for the first time, played by an Iranian beauty. I tell myself I love her, knowing that I’ll never see her again.

 

The show rekindles me, ignites my own uniqueness, and confirms the notion that one should be true to them self, their ideals, and not compromise to appease the masses.

6 Comments

  1. I haven't been up to Canada since I was little. I definitely would love to visit Toronto. It seems like a very international city. Although the black squirrels are a little creepy.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?