New York, New York

I am home, again. By home, I mean Finland. It feels weird, and I think my dog has either forgotten me or then she’s hurt that I left her for so long.

New York will be hard to forget. And by forget, I mean get used to the fact that you have to come up with activities all by yourself, since there is not much to choose from. And now I will have to make my own food – I haven’t even touched a pan in 2 months. Soon it will be sushi time, but before that there are still many New York stories I haven’t told, and roughly about 957 pictures that I could show.

THE GREATNESS OF THE BIG APPLE.

The love for New York can be expressed in many ways

Possibilities to do whatever you want, at any time.

Eating pancakes at 12 am, no big deal. And you can order another side of butter, even though there is butter in the table already

You never know what’s around the corner.

Art takes new forms

Multiculturalism.

When in Rome…blend cultures!

Shopping.

Something for every style

Rooftops.

If there’s a garden, even better. Or a club.

Landscapes.

It is not hard to find beautiful buildings or other sights for the sore eye

Museums.

Graphic design museum in Governor’s Island, 5 min. ferry ride away from the city. Highly recommended!

Food.

Crispy rice roll at Momoya Sushi. Yum.

Open mind.

So gay so what?

All of the above and above all, I will miss the people I met in the Big Apple.

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Niagara

What’s a trip to Toronto without the Niagara falls, eh? I have seen some pretty impressive waterfalls elsewhere, but nothing compares to the volume of these water masses.

Water, the key to life

I was lucky enough to have my friend take a road trip with me to the falls. We visited the over-kitch “creep street” and its’ surroundings, and took the Maid of the Mist cruise (19.27$/person) to the falls.

Tourists cramped up in Maid of the Mist like sardines in a tin

The village around the Canadian side of the Falls is a combination of attractions such as 3 wax museums, laser tag, minigolf, and 3/4/6D movie theaters. It haves fast food joints and classics such as Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, and besides Starbucks, there is also of course Canada’s favorite coffee spot, Tim Horton’s.

Ice cream and hot dogs – the foundations of a good holiday

TIPS:
Niagara Falls: if you go on the Maid of the Mist, pack extra pair of socks
Travelling: For a long bus trip, take water with you! If you want to sleep, eye mask doesn’t hurt, either.
Air travel: Request a special meal – You get to eat before others even get their food. If possible, choose a seat from the front – You can leave the aircraft earlier. Take an empty water bottle – you can fill it after security check.
Pack facial wipes in hand luggage – the refreshment is needed.
The eye mask.

The Ex

134th Canadian National Exhibition – Canada’s largest annual fair boasts 18 days of interesting food, rides, exhibitions and attractions. This year’s program includes aerial acrobatics and ice skating, airshow, dogshow, horseshow, illusionist, program for kids and musical performances from starts like Nick Carter.

I went to the Ex on the opening day, Friday Aug 17th. I did not see any of the aforementioned talents, but a lot more – for example a booth showcasing interesting trivia about Queen Elisabeth, and a sculpture contest. The exhibition hall consisted of booths selling anything from Vitamix to beds, club-tubs (hot tub with loudspeakers and lighting system), steamers to carpets and specialities from different countries.

Finnish delicacies. I will never be so deprived of comfort food or homesick that I’d pay 4,25$ for a bag of candy!

In addition to shopping and cultural learning, you can visit the farm with animals in their farm conditions. The cows (or other animals, for that matter) did not look happy, chained and forced to listen to the constant noise of the visitors.

In the Ex, you can have deep fried candy bars, or bacon. I will not eat deep fried butter ever again!

The array of foods was stunning, to say the least. This year’s theme seemed to be artery-clogging with bacon. Some samples of the menu: deep fried bacon covered hot dogs, bacon sundae, Jack Daniels bacon sandwich, and that’s just to name a few. The most revolting thing was probably hot dog eclair. My friend, who tried chicken on waffle, found that quite exquisite combination. Before the deep fried butter, I was trying to maintain somewhat healthy habits (disregarding the various samples of nut butters, beer bbq sauces and other samples), and enjoyed my first ever raw food taco. 5,65 dollars well spent, I must say.

Fancy a bacon nutella BLT sandwich? Or maybe chocolate covered bacon?

Somehow, I spend 4 hours in the Ex, which is not that bad, if I might say. It surely was an interesting experience, even though I did not risk my life in the ancient rides. I risked my life eating the most unhealthy things one can imagine. Deep fried onion is another treat I am now through with.

It would be interesting to know, what kind of other fair delicacies there are, and if the deep fryer is this popular only in here (and in the States, I might assume).

Totoronto

Since I had a week without work before going back to Finland, I decided to leave the Webster and Manhattan, and go explore some new places. I have never been to Canada, so I figured Tronto would be a good destination. So, here I am hanging out in my friend’s pool, 20 mins. train ride away from downtown Toronto. This is definitely the best opportunity for me to relax and wind down from all the hassle and stressed atmosphere that devours you in Manhattan.

For several reasons, I decided to come to Canada by bus. First of all, it was 200$ cheaper than flying. The Megabus stop was 2 blocks from where I lived, and the bus on Sunday will take me back to 7th and 28th, which will be 2 blocks from the bus to the airport – yes, I will first sit 11 hours in a bus to New York, then 2 hours in a bus to the airport, followed with God knows how many hours in two planes and another bus to Tampere from Helsinki. So, even though this bus ride is approximately 11 hrs, the convenience of the locations was important.

I wonder how many Megabus trips are actually 1$, mine was 59$ each way

The bus ride here was not as painful as one would expect. I had printed out sudokus and ripped crosswords from AM and Metro newspapers, I stole a ziplock bag of cereal from the Webster, had more than enough other snacks to keep my cravings satisfied, and even though the promised wifi did not work, I occupied myself by watching How I Met Your Mother on my laptop. The bus left at noon (15min late, though), and was upposed to arrive in Toronto at 10 pm. Too bad my friend had to wait for an hour, since the bus was late (as it apparently always is). At the border we had to empty the bus, go trough customs inspections and load everything back in. I wonder how long that will take on the way back to the land of the suspicious…

Canada, thank you for giving me the first stamp on my new passport!

I came to Canada with no local money, and no telephone. Or, technically, I have a telephone, it just does not work. So I’d better not get lost or make vague plans. Needless to say, Google maps doesn’t work, either.

Yesterday I went to wander around downtown Toronto, which seemed rather small after Manhattan (not in a bad way, though). In the evening I got to experience a Canadian pub (tv screens showed ice hockey). Here they put vinegar in french fries! I was surprised, since I had no idea anyone anywhere would do that. Today, I went to Costco! Tomorrow, it’s time for CNE. I’ll tell you later. Canada, not bad. Lot’s of squirrels, and a whole lot of variety in restaurants.

By the way: a month from now, It’s Beppu time!

XOXO

I know I keep on saying how big the city is, and how much is going on all the time, but it is true, and that seems to affect my life in here quite a bit. I come across interesting things mostly unintentionally, which is delightful.

There are more tv shows and movies located in New York that I can count, which means that there are quite several film sets around. I, for some reason, have come across the set of Gossip Girl, twice. I am not a hardcore fan of the show, but it is fun to see those people who are try to get over the fact that they are actually seeing how it’s done.

Maybe the best day ever – Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick – yeah I googled) is across the street!

The crew behind the scenes is big, the actors’ appearance is constantly being polished and improved, and something as little as a small box that is accidentally in the shot can ruin the whole scene. And of course, where there are celebrities, there are paparazzi’s, too. And tourists. That is like the holy trinity of New York. I have not seen any celebrities other than in this kind of situations, though. They probably have people who go out and do everything so they don’t have to.

Lily (Kelly Rutrherford) and Chuck (Ed Westwick) with their ride

Now I feel intrigued to start watching the show, so I can see the scenes that I have seen being made. What season are they filming now?