Tuesday, 16 October 2007

The drive from Detroit into Toronto (by the way, did I mention that I was travelling by car — solo?) was uneventful. It was impossible for me to read the distances on road signs and have any idea how far it was. Thank goodness for my trusty GPS.

The border crossing was kind of surreal. I got asiked all the expected questions: Any fruits or vegetables? Any meats or plants? Any cigarettes? Any narcotics? Purpose of my trip? When I said it was for a concert the boarder guard wanted to know the name of the band and why I hadn’t flown in for the show. Eventually I was allowed to pass with a curt “Have a safe trip.”

In Toronto, I was sort of in a state of shell-shock. While it looked like an American city, it was still odd, especially the electrified street-cars running down the middle of the road. Literally. You had to drive on the tracks to get around downtown. The flip-side is that Toronto is a great city for walking and mass-transit.

After I checked into the hotel (cheap and close to the club), I had to go see CN Tower. How could I pass up the tall building?

Supposedly its the highest observation deck in North America, but it doesn’t feel like it. Somehow Sears Tower in Chicago felt higher, even if CN Tower has the stats. I went up to the observation deck, and the “Sky Pod” which is that extra bubble you see on the needle — 30-odd stories above the main observation deck.

I also went out on the glass floor which was disappointing in a way. Their Web site leaves the impression that the glass floor is much larger than it actually is. I guess I was expecting something like the inner half of the floor to be solid and the outer half to be the glass panels. That would give those afraid of heights ample opportunity to look through to the ground below while the more daring could walk the whole perimeter on the glass. The reality was a section of glass panels maybe 30 feet wide and 12 feet extending from the outer wall toward the center of the building.

All dissapointment aside, it still took me at least 15 minutes of peering over the edge before I could actually step out on the glass. I tried to take a couple self-portraits, but I couldn’t seem to get the angle right. I resorted to doing the souvenir photo thing, and even that didn’t turn out great. It suffers from the same thing that screws up most pictures I’m in — I simply can’t loosen up for photographs. Every picture of me tend to catch me looking goofy, or worse, stuff and posed.

I took a series of pictures from the SkyPod, one looking straight down from each section, all the way around. 36 sections in all. I hope to assemble them into a sort of mandala from the sky as long as enough of them turned out.

It was also from the SkyPod that I saw a 30+ stall roundhouse maybe two blocks away. I later discovered that it’s now a brewery and restaurant. Pity. Although there were a couple railroad artifacts in the vicinity, so I was sure to check them out.

The next day I slept in, then spent most of the afternoon wandering the area surrounding the hotel just snapping pictures. It was my first real foray into street photography, so I’m still not sure how well I did. Toronto is a beautiful city and it was fun to just walk around and check things out.

After that it was lunch at a nearby pizza place and a quick nap before the show.

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