June 17th, 2009

altar boy

description of HERE and stories of Then.

Yeah... even with a digital roaming package
i'm shocked at how much data is being transfered
i paid $20 for 20 Megabites
at their regular international roaming rate
it'd be $20 a megabite if i hadn't.
even saying that, i used 1 MB in ten minutes yesterday
so i shut off the roaming and am using the copious free wifi spots around the city

the city...

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when i arrived yesterday
i was exhausted
standard for me: not sleeping while i'm traveling
i jumped off the airport shuttle bus down at the water's edge
and thought about taking the ferry to wherever it would go
only $6.50, maybe i could see the city well from that perspective?

but the city looked too small to bother seeing from a distance like that
and i was honestly too tired to go tramping about on an island i knew nothing about
when i had this whole city to tramp around in

i was seduced by the people on the hill

there were two gentle slopes by the ferry port
with people laying half-clothed all over them in the sun

i joined them.
my body melted in the sun
and i napped for a half hour or something
when i woke
snapped some pictures
and i was shocked by the dandelions and clover in the grass
i kept wondering what was so odd about it...
and realized that most everywhere in the USA they spray the shit out of all the lawns
"sterilize it" in our weird puritanical way
all the little clover tops looked beautiful
i took a picture
and got dressed
headed on to walk through the city

i was quite shocked by all the people once i passed the freeway
the two blocks before i suspected Toronto was just like any other city in the midwest:
former glories now abandoned to the suburbs
(by the ferry port, there were signs for things, stands, a box office... all abandoned in the shoddiest of ways)
but when i crossed under the freeway there were THRONGS
of all colors and languages too
i wondered if they were coming from a parade?
it was about 4pm... i guess they were just coming from work
and there were some really beautiful buildings
the huge older ones
and even some of the more contemporary architecture was fascinating to look at

there were hot dogs stands everywhere, like in new york
but here there was about 10 condiments laid out with little spoons in them (wouldn't fly in germ-paranoid US) and five choices of dogs (beef, veggie, polish, italian, german)
and "cold pop"
i got an italian sausage and put a few things on it (spicy)
being sleep deprived i was afraid it would make me tired
but didn't.

i wandered up Yonge street mostly
til i got to Dundas square
then walked through the little university
then over the church...

i know it's Pride time
but this is really an amazing gayborhood
it knocks The Castro out of the water as far as i'm concrned
all of these bars as shops so close to eachother
for many blocks
flags everywhere
huge painting of cowboys holding hands

i found myself shocked to glee
peered into various bars
and saw a big bare belly through the bars of the black eagle
so popped in and chatted with the three people in there (including the bar-tender)
the hairy one told me about the place:
it has a grand-fathered law that allows it to have a legal functioning "back room"
i took a tour
it was HUGE!
and another upstairs bar and outside patio for smoking
i was going to hurry on, because i was pretty sure my friend Steve had arrived (it was almost 6)
but he offered to buy me a drink, so i thought to stay and chat.

he told me that the bar i went to as a kid was probably Buddies and... (something) up on Bloor. it's closed now, turned in a Hotel.
that makes more sense.
i couldn't imagine how my parents could have NOT known this was a gay neighborhood...
but 20 years ago it was probably very different
up on Bloor it wouldn't have looked so gay, not even now i'm sure it doesn't

surely enough
half way through my drink, Steve called
(with sleep deprivation i went for a Vodka-Redbull... but got a cheaper pre-mixed version called "REV")
so i was all hopped up and loose when i got to the hotel

we spent quite a few hours in bed
went out to eat (he lives up north in the North West Territories, 800Kms north even of Yellowknife)
and is a meat an potatoes guy
we had Thai in new york, he'd never had that before (i think he's in his 60s? late 50s... something)
we had Shawarma here and he was shocked by all the spices in it
it was burning in his mouth
i offered him my Ayran, because milk cuts spice better than water (which often makes it worse)
and he balked at the sour taste

i'm a culinary adventeror too... i'm always surprised at this
but he was alright (except for some pain he was having in his nuts because he'd not emptied them when we were playing before)
we walked around a bit
i love the blend of upscale shopping
next to lowly discount places
next to huge strip club/whore house looking places
next to a mall, next to a public square

all of that shit is ghettoized in the US
isn't it?

it seems so different here

after living in NY
everything everywhere else seems so small
and not real, somehow, like a stage set
and though i had this feeling for a while here
it very quickly fit itself over me like a comfy shirt
i'm very enamoured with the city.

back at the hotel
we played some more
(being a good friend, i helped him relieve his excess tensions)
and they lay in bed and talked

i was quite surprised
-- many times in my life i've heard people say to me
"i've never told anyone this before"
but i don't remember the last time i ever said that

til last night.
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but i slept well
still tired, groggy
"waking up and getting up have never been easy"
he's out now trying to get his phone fixed
now that i've written this all out
i'll go find him.