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North America » Canada » Ontario » Toronto
July 31st 2016
Published: August 1st 2016
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For those who read my blog yesterday, I have good news - the painkillers, the bandage, the a/c, and even the hard bed combined to give me the best night of sleep I've had in almost a week! There were points when I was walking around this afternoon when I completely forgot that I had any rib problems, or even that I was still wearing the wrap. I'd have to be very conscious about it to remember. That was great, and I still feel pretty good tonight. I've taken off the wrapping for a while, to let it breathe, to let my skin get a reprieve, and then to take a shower. But once I'm done with that, back on it will go until tomorrow night's shower. What a difference a day makes!

My main objective today was the Toronto Blue Jays baseball game at 1PM. They were giving away free baseball caps as a promotion, and of course I wanted one. Before that, I had absolutely no clothing items related to this team. And I'm not going to pledge my undying loyalty to them now, either. After all, they did lose the game today. I read online that the gate would open at 11, so I thought being there by 10:30 would give me a prime spot in line. Oh, how wrong I was. I was finished with my morning stretches/breakfast/etc earlier than expected, so I started my way towards the stadium around 9:30. It's a direct path down Spadina Ave, where my dorm is, towards the waterfront area and right alongside Rogers Centre, where the Blue Jays play. GPS said I could walk it in 30 minutes. So I took my time. I wandered through Chinatown, stopped off at McDonald's for the cheapest drink in town (even cheaper than they are in America), and got to the stadium around 10:15. Good lord, the masses had converged. I kid you not - there must've been at least 300 people already in line at each gate, and there were 14 of them. I know, because my entry gate was Gate 14. But I had to pick up my ticket at Will Call first, which just happened to be on the opposite side of the stadium from where I was. And from where my gate was. The ticket retrieval process was easy and painless, but when I got to my gate, I was informed by the guards that the line was, in fact, now across the street, behind a makeshift barrier. I had to cross the road and go to the end of the 2nd tier of the line for my gate.

So we waited. I got in line around 10:35. The gates weren't meant to open until 11, but around 10:50, we all started moving forward. These people knew how to deal with crowds efficiently. I was in the stadium with my new Toronto Blue Jays baseball cap by 11AM. Incredible. I've been to a lot of MLB games in my time, but this crowd takes the cake. I've never seen so many people in line before the gates open or inside the stadium. They even had a massive line waiting inside to get into the team store. But really, the thing I was most looking forward to (besides the game itself) was the view. All signs had said that the roof - which is retractable here - would be open. About 30 minutes before the game started, one corner was cracked open, and it stayed open until about the 4th inning. So I guess they can technically say the roof was open. But it wasn't raining worth anything before the game, and when it was all over and I went back outside, the sun was shining. How sad. I think the gameday experience would've been so much better with an open roof.

The theme for the game was Beach Bash, and somewhere inside the stadium they were having games and music with that theme. I couldn't find it, though I will admit I only walked all over the 1st and 5th levels. My ticket was on the 5th level. There's also a 2nd level, but I gave that a miss. That's probably where the fun was, alas. The stadium was full, since the Blue Jays had just beaten the Orioles last night to put themselves into the top spot in their division and knock the Orioles down to 2nd. But the difference in standing was only 1/2 a game, so the winner of today's game would be 1st and the loser 2nd. I sat between a retired couple from the area who occasionally asked me about my travels once they found out I was from Georgia. On the other side was an African-Canadian fellow who was very much into the game and knew all the players, etc. The way I used to be with the Atlanta Braves when I cared enough to follow them. So I had some company, as always. Add to that the guy in the group in front of us explaining the game to the German couple behind him, in German. That was very distracting for me, for a number of reasons. Anyway, the game was not terribly exciting, but baseball seldom is. The Blue Jays scored a run in the 2nd and 5th innings, I believe, to be up 2-0 and looking like they were going to make their weekend series with the Orioles a clean sweep. But then the Orioles scored 2 in the 7th to tie the game, and the rest of the game was scoreless. So we went into extra innings - free baseball! Of course I stayed. What else did I have to do? It took 12 innings, and I even called it and the winning team - the Orioles broke it open at the top of the 12th, scoring 4 runs and going up 6-2. The Blue Jays had no answer and thus lost. Womp womp.

The result didn't dishearten me, since I had no real stake in the match. After it was over, I bought my first Canadian souvenir (on my final day here!) - a Blue Jays t-shirt, and the cheapest one I could find. It's their 40th season in Toronto (or anywhere, really), so I figured it would be a good souvenir to get. This was a moment in time, and my 1st international baseball experience.

After the game, I did some meandering. I had in mind a search for some art deco buildings, but once I got to the first one, I realized that I hadn't brought my list with me, nor had I committed them to memory. I also realized that my feet weren't up to the challenge. My ribs, however, were fine. I remembered a poutinerie (yes, a local shop specializing in only poutine) that I had seen on my way to the game, so I looked them up - Smoke's Poutinerie. It turns out, they're a chain and have several locations within Toronto and other cities. One just happened to be 3 blocks from my current location, so I moseyed on over. I ordered the chicken-bacon-ranch poutine and was not disappointed. Reasonable price, too. I enjoyed that in the restaurant before heading back to Spadina Ave, where I needed to get some Canadian souvenirs that I had promised people. That didn't take long, and of course I ran into a group of young ladies from Dallas who remarked about my TCU bag. After that, I walked back to my dorm to get my stuff packed up and ready to go in the morning. I'm going to make a trip to my car tonight with all the nonessentials for in the morning, since I have to be out of the parking deck before 8AM. Which means I have to be out of here a little before that, so I can turn in the key and walk to the deck.

Two final notes, since this is my final full day in Canada. I've noticed that Canadians tend to say "perfect" when they mean "okay;" most of my white American friends would say "awesome" instead of "okay," in all fairness. And whereas Americans have bathrooms and Brits have toilets, Canadians have washrooms. Just another lexical idiosyncrasy I've picked up on in my 10 days here.

Tomorrow, I'll be back in America! I plan to stop at a Tim Horton's for breakfast somewhere. That place is now synonymous with Canada for me, though I've never gotten a single thing from there. So it's time to rectify that. My ultimate goal tomorrow is Cleveland, and I'm grateful that the Republicans have already left the town. I just hope it doesn't still smell like them. I've got a ticket for the Cleveland Indians baseball game tomorrow night, and I'd like to be able to enjoy it without the stink of politics.


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Tot: 2.521s; Tpl: 0.069s; cc: 13; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0314s; 2; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.3mb