115 – The New Canon

201103_14_03 - Canon Rebel T3i

201103_14_04 - mud

201103_14_17 - Sun and Needles

201103_14_25 - LOL Butts

201103_15_05 - Thai Pipe

201103_15_07 - Peep Hole

201103_16_03 - Flight

201103_16_13 - Helicopter in the Window

201103_16_16 - Chatr

201103_17_02 - Again in the Snow

201103_17_04 - Bus at an Intersection

I got a new camera! It’s amazing! All the pictures above were taken with it. Whenever I get a new camera (which has only happened three times, including this one), I suddenly see the world differently. Now, I see footprints in mud, and sneakers hanging from phone wires, and unusual pipes that don’t seem to be doing anything other than look important. One thing I miss with my previous camera is its zoom though. I’m going to need to go and get a lens soon. And those are pricey.

I just need time to go out and play with it. Mysteriously, I have a family of small mannequins that I really want to use for a set of photos… I can not wait! But they are heavy. If you want to help, let me know.

This Canon T3i (ESO 600D) purchase is just one (albeit the biggest) of many purchases that I think has made this March a crazy expensive month it seems. But, thanks to me doing my taxes very early, I can afford it for the moment! Of course, the next big thing, also coming this month: Nintendo 3DS. That one I can’t wait for! I’ll take a picture of it with my camera, then turn around and take a 3D pic with the DS. It’ll be epic. Or not.

And yes, those are shots of Toronto.

009 – Home

Last Tuesday started early. Incredibly early. But I used Mississauga Transit and Go Transit all by my lonesome to make it to downtown Toronto to catch my train. I had only seen the GO Transit side of the Union Station, and was disappointed that it wasn’t all international train station-style… but the I walked into the actual station in slight awe.

200708_07_02b - Inside Union Station

Union Station is really pretty. I love all the little details all over the place. I was only disappointed that the lighting within was a bit hard to work with – plus my only battery had started to flash red.

200708_07_03 - Train Station

I was early enough that I could walk around and take a few more pictures – luckily my battery survived. There was some construction happening outside, which really sucked. Plus I didn’t want to go too far with my heavy bag.

200708_07_05 - Union Station

I just noticed in this picture that there’s a sign to Toronto City Hall. Had I known, I would have went to check it out – one of two landmarks I’ve seen before (the other being the Chum building). Walking around the block got boring, so I went back to the station to wait.

200708_07_07 - Front and York

Between the Air Canada Centre and Union Station were these random smiling rainclouds. Unfortunately the wall on which they were doesn’t get rained on, it smelled a little yellow.

200708_07_08 - Happy Rain

The Etch-A-Sketch came in handy.

200708_07_09 - Flutter By

The train itself was awesome! Fast, smooth, legroom, purchasable food and drink… what else could you ask for? I was the closest to the back of the train, so I was instructed on how to open the door and to break the windows in the event of an emergency. I slept for half of the trip anyway! Fortunately, there was no need to put my new skills to the test.

200708_07_10 - Boarding

For 4 hours later, I made it home. Ottawa. I didn’t go all the way to the Ottawa train station though, because I can get home faster from the station in Barrhaven. But someday, I have to go to the Ottawa station if only to check it out!

200708_07_12 - Home

008 – Lunch and a Lake

Previously on Ben’s Blog: Ben was stuck in Toronto, so he did his best to have fun, including a slumber party at Janet’s. Janet lives high up. People look smaller than ants from that high.

200708_05_01 - Floor 19

After waking up, the lot of us eventually made it down to a restaurant for lunch. Along the way, there was this mascot-girl advertising soup or something tasty, so we sampled.

200708_05_04 - Takeout

The place we ended up is called Soban, it’s in Koreatown (supposedly). The place was very clean and simple, very Asian. Every table is equipped with a doorbell-like ringer that you use when you’re ready to order, of if you need the waiters. I thought that was pretty cool.

200708_05_05 - Menu

While deciding what to order, Janet started taking pictures with my camera. Then Prashanta pressed the doorbell-like button and the waitress came, so we hurried up and ordered.

200708_05_08 - Waiting for Lunch

200708_05_07 - Discussion

Shortly after we ordered, the waitress brought us appetizers. Free appetizers. It was a nice collection of potatoes, cabbage, noodley things, and tofu. I didn’t eat the tofu.

200708_05_09 - Free Appetizers

I ordered a barbecue chicken dish. It came surprisingly quickly! Alex thought it was his, and I got his, but I didn’t order beef. We switched. The food was really good. And it was better with chopsticks. When I use chopsticks, I find that I get lazy with them over time. So towards the end, I had to concentrate more!

200708_05_10 - Korean Chicken

After lunch, Prashanta and I left Janet and Alex. We headed back to Union Station so that we could go back to Brampton and rest. I was disappointed that the station didn’t look all international-style… at least not what I saw. I just had to take a picture of the TD building because it’s so cool.

200708_05_14 - Dominion

Then we went home. The End. Until Tomorrow.

Tomorrow came. We decided to go into Mississauga to see lake Ontario and the Square One mall. It’s one of the largest malls in Canada.

We went to a place called Port Credit, an area either within Mississauga that borders lake Ontario. Since I don’t live near a major body of water, it’s always interesting to see nothing but water and sky. There is a gazebo from which people can look out.

200708_06_08 - Openness

There’s a marina just to the right. It was packed with boats. In fact the horizon was littered with white sailboats doing their thing. Prashanta was tempted to go and find out if he can rent a boat, but we figured that it would be too expensive. Maybe he should ask the cell phone guy??

200708_06_05 - Marina

We walked along these huge rocks that made up the pretty shoreline. Parts of them were covered in some slimey aquarian plant life. It was kinda of fun stuff, but I wouldn’t touch it at all.

200708_06_09 - Slimy Plant Life

From where we started, we could see a man further down the shore by some trees. We walked and eventually got to where he was. Prashanta, being the talkative monkey that he is, struck up a conversation with him that included Afghanistan (where the man is from), languages, heart surgery, and the weather. He was drinking a tall beer, taking in the breeze. Sounds like a Sunday afternoon to me! Prashanta and I got him to take our picture. I should have taken his.

200708_06_13 - It's perfectly okay to give your camera to a stranger

After that, we made it to the Square One mall in Mississauga (on one transfer might I add). The mall felt like four Bayshore Shopping Centres (a fair-sized mall near where I live) squished together. It was large, but not very impressive. We spent too much time in this game store that sold boardgames and fun things like that and in a bookstore (looking at Harry Potter and a huge photobook of Toronto).

200708_06_16 - Dome

Before leaving, we went to the bathroom and whatnot. Prashanta tool longer, so I waited outside and started fooling around with this curved mirror. I love curved mirrors. This little girl, walking out of the bathroom with her mother (I imagine), she stopped, tilted her head, and curved her body, “what’s he doing?” she asked curiously. He mom told her to keep going, and I think the little girl might have said to her mom that I was the strangest person.

200708_06_18 - What's He Doing?

That brings us to the last leg of our outing – and the second-last attraction I’ll see before leaving: Playdium. Playdium is one of the largest, if not the largest arcade in Canada, and this location is the only one left. How could I say ‘no’ to an arcade??

200708_06_19 - Playdium

Inside was like a paradise. Except for four things: there’s no Mario Kart GP, no F-Zero AX, no Taiko Drum Master, and no classic gaming area. I would totally play the original Pac-Man or Donkey Kong or Space Invaders… the early arcade stuff. Kids these days need to appreciate what came before House of the Dead and Time Crisis. A large portion of the games involved shooting and racing, not even fantasy, unrealistic racing which was sad. But they did have really awesome mushroom-like lights.

200708_06_22 - Glowing Mushroom

While I had a good go at the arcades (and realised just how much I suck at Dance Dance Revolution) Prashanta leaned toward the carnival section, where you could get tickets and redeem them for prizes. But our tastes in Playdium met at the air hockey tables. I’m really not too good at that game, but it’s fun!

200708_06_23 - Air Hockey

Once all was said and done, it was time to head home. Well, to Brampton. It was a long day, but really fun! And the next day (Monday.. I’m slightly behind in this blogging business), it’s time to head back to Ottawa…

200708_06_26 - Reflecting Sunset

007 – Ohayo, Toronto!

One of the most satisfying moments in life when visiting others is finding out that they have the same shampoo that you use back home. One of the saddest moments that follows is the realisation that the bottle of shampoo is effectively empty.

I would describe Saturday as a pretty awesome day. It’s the day that Ben took on the city of Toronto. Only before I could take on T-Dot, I had to warm up at a picnic event going on in the Brampton side of things. There was badminton and barbecue – but the barbecue was really strange. We thought that it was for lunch, but turns out that they were planning to have it much later… there was a lunch, but the main awesomeness that is chicken – was to be served after Prashanta and I were to leave.

There was badminton, egg relay races, and other fun kinds of activities.

200708_04_03 - Hitting Birdies

Prashanta was climbing trees like a monkey. He’s pretty monkey-like.

200708_04_05 - Monkey

Finally, the time ticked down, and it was time to go to the big city. It was interesting to get a ticket into the city. While waiting for the bus, we met a couple from Wisconsin. They were really fun.

200708_04_07 - Go Bus Ticket

After a bus ride (coach-style), Prashanta and I made it to Union Station where we met the wonderful and illustrious Janet! I couldn’t believe it’s been over a year since we last saw each other. We took a walk down to the Lakeshore and coped it out. Throughout the whole day, we must have seen half a dozen saxophonists all over the city.

200708_04_09 - Saxaphony

JANET!

200708_04_11 - SaskExplore Reunited

Janet toured us around some cool places, places we should see, places I wanted to see, just wandering. I told myself I wouldn’t take too many pictures of the CN tower, but I failed at that. This one is my favourite, I think.

200708_04_17 - CN Poking

Then, disaster struck. We made it up to the Eaton Centre because Prashanta needed to buy minutes for his cell phone. As we were leaving the phone store, a salesman asks Prashanta, “how much do you spend a month on your phone?” Janet and I waited by the entrance (and even explored other stores) because we thought he wouldn’t be long. I went in to grab him and discovered that the salesman had him considering a contract plan. It was shocking that he would even be considering such a pitch, let alone falling for it. After almost saying ‘yes’ (the salesman had his ID) and then saying ‘no actually…’ the salesman sweetened the pot and Prashanta couldn’t resist.

200708_04_23 - Sales Pitch

After what felt like an hour of waiting…

200708_04_24 - Waiting...

Prashanta got a new phone. Bye bye Virgin, hello Chocolate! The salesman (centre) and his manager (left) were happy. The store was also closing when we left!

200708_04_25 - Sucker and the Salesman

Without much to do in the mall (we had actually only stopped there to get Virgin cell phone minutes), Janet, Prashanta, and I were ready to keep going on our adventure. Only the long delay meant that Janet’s boyfriend Alex would meet us at the mall instead of somewhere else. I must say that compared to the Rideau Centre (central downtown mall in Ottawa), it’s Toronto counterpart has a much larger and vibrant big city vibe. Maybe it’s the big billboard screens.

200708_04_27 - Eaton Centre

The four of us wandered the city. We snuck through Chinatown and ended up on the University of Toronto campus. And it was getting late. We stopped at a building and ate courtesy of Alex (he brought us all pita wraps!!) before heading to Janet’s. From the field on campus, you can see the CN Tower. It was all lit up, though not blinking seizurely like it was built up to be (Prashanta is a liar). But it looked pretty cool, so I tried my best to get a picture without a tripod.

200708_04_33 - World's Tallest Night Light

Just as we were leaving campus, Prashanta found this building that he’s been going on about (and we thought he was crazy, which isn’t that uncommon of a thing to think). “A building with trees in it!” Turns out there was such a building, the Centre for Cell and Biomolecular Research.

200708_04_35 - Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research

We somehow managed to get inside the building at that late an hour and hung out for a bit with some bamboo. There’s a great picture of all of us in the bamboo jungle, but I didn’t upload it for whatever reason! I guess you’ll have to check out facebook whenever I upload to there.

200708_04_38 - Bamboo!

No trip to Toronto would be complete with a group of police officers standing around.

200708_04_40 - Police

We had finally made it to our pre-destination! Which is actually where the nonsense began – Eaton Centre! The area was so vibrant and bright for the night time, so we checked out a bit of the scene before proceeding to the subway.

200708_04_41 - Triad

No trip to Toronto would be complete without a ride on the subway. The TTC should thank me for easing its debt disaster.

200708_04_45 - The Subway

We made it to Janet’s apartment! She has a neat view of action from her high up balcony. The four of us, and for a while a 5th friend Bing, just told stories and jokes and ate and drank… it was an amazing fun night. We tried calling a friend from Vancouver, but she was too much in need to sleep to get into our antics. So we let her sleep. The tiredness eventually set in for us, so we slept.

200708_04_46 - Yonge and Sheppard at Night

See more Photos here.