Stranger in a Strange Land – What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?
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My plane landed in Toronto. It was 1976 and this was my first time on an airplane and out of my homeland. I wondered if everyone in Canada wore plaid shirts and lived in log cabins. Unfortunately, I was like so many Americans who were unaware of what a civilized and even advanced country Canada truly was/is.
My party picked me up from the airport and we drove eastward on the 401 to a small town, Bowmanville where we checked in at the Flying Dutchman Motel.
Traveling down the 401, it was evident that Canadians lived in modern housing, just as we did in Chicagoland. They drove modern cars, dressed like modern people and most of the men were clean shaved. In a way, I was disappointed.
The next day, we went for a sight-seeing adventure through rural, small-towns of which every one of them had a river running through them. We stopped for lunch at a small Mom & Pop restaurant where the smells of homemade bread and soup were lingering in the air. Lunch was grand and the people were so friendly and laid back, I never wanted to leave! But, we had a date with Paul and Candy in a few hours and still had more sight-seeing on back roads to Toronto.
Right on time, we arrived at Paul and Candy’s home, business associates of Jim’s, we visited with drinks on the patio and discussed our adventures so far. Paul was the perfect host and had a marvelous evening planned for us downtown where we would eat at Captain John’s, an old boat reworked into a restaurant which was still docked in Lake Ontario, it was a very popular restaurant requiring reservations weeks in advance.
The surf ‘n turf were out of this world, and even though there was no room for it, I managed a few bites of the cherries jubilee flambe. Dinner was leisurely, relaxed, wonderful. Candy, Sharon and I talked girl-talk while the guys discussed business plans.
When coffees were finished and stomachs settled, we were off to our next adventure. It was another restaurant/bar which was famous for their Irish Coffee. Up until then, I had never tasted an Irish coffee, had no idea what it was. After drinking my very first one, I was guaranteed to never forget what an Irish coffee was. It was wonderful but oh, so powerful! It definitely turned on my “let’s-have-fun” mood.
Our last stop was to party the rest of the night away at the restaurant/lounge atop the CN Tower. Oh, the discotheque was incredible in its decor, I could not imagine how New York or even Chicago could rival that place.
This stranger in a strange land was so impressed with the sites, people, cleanliness, and tastes of Toronto, that I never gave it a second thought when it was proposed that we move there.