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Letter from Toronto # 4

Day two in Toronto and a few observations from the area were in, they like their tattoos and they like their booze! There also seems to be a real World Cup mania here at the moment, very different from the States where no one seemed to care.

After a wee sleep in we all headed up town to get some breakfast, found a nice wee cafe and had one of the best sandwiches I've ever tasted, bacon, egg, tomatos, some sauce along with saute potatoes & a can of coke! My diet is apparently reduced to eggs & coke, I'm doing well not to break it! We had a quick wander to find a bar showing the world cup matches and then headed back to the house to chill. Were staying with some friends of a friend who lives and studies here in Toronto and they have been kindly showing us around. Nickson, Cat & Julia have been spectacular in their hospitality and I'm really hoping they can come to Aberdeen to see how we do things.

Anyway after some relaxing times before we knew it the balcony was full of girls and guys, Rob Reed & Dan Devlin being two characters of note. Rob for his infectous humour and interesting history and Dan for his Mary Pooppins style bag, he seems to be able to produce fine brewed Ales, Scotch and wines at will! Hes the kinda guy you wanna hang with at a party! His face lit up when I told him about our mild pricing policy and fine selections of Ale's available from ASDA, in real bottles too! All of the girls seemed to have tattoos at the party, I've never seen so many in my life.

Had another wee sleep in and then went for some more munch at a cool bar called Sneeky Dee's. The whole bar is covered in tags and graffiti and they do a mean breakfast. Weve been lucky enough to see a load of World Cup games as were not working while away. The bar two doors down had the game on in Spanish with supporters from Spain & Chile watching outside, they had a feelday when it finished and were all dancing in the street, stopping traffic and generally having a good time. It was great to see!

Later on I went for a walk down the west side to see what else there was but didn't find anything too exciting, I did however meet some cool people who run a small store specialising in screenprinting and craft goods. Kid Icarus is the name of the store and you should check out their website HERE! They told me they were planning a trip to Edinburgh so I gave them some tips and bought some nice cards for folks back home and for our generous friends in Toronto. They even do their printing in store, amazing considering the small size of the premises.

Later on we went to another bar that sells beer slops in pitchers for $10, we paid the extra dollar and got clean beers instead. After a few pints it was into a cab, bike in the trunk and off to find the best pool in Toronto. Apparently it has a water slide but you need a bucket of water to grease it up! This made me laugh no end. However as soon as everyone was over a voice called out "This is the pool attendant, please leave the pool or the police will be called, please leave the pool immediately", little did we realise they had a security camera set up. The security guard was fast on the scene but was digging some of the girls and I used my Scottish tones to convince him to open the gate and give us a half hour! He gathered everyone round and we all listened intently as he explained the pool rules, no diving etc etc and just as we thought he was going to open the gate he said " but not in this pool" as it had the camera! The sigh of sadness after that, thought we had it, the perfect end to a perfect night!

Little did we realise that was yet to come in the form of Liam shouting and rilling up some crack head home boy Vannila Ice impersonater. Things got tense and bottles were ready to be smashed, namely over mines & Bobo's faces. He wanted to talk to the cracker jack menawhile Liam got aggro from a safe distance, rendering them both as idiots forever in my mind. Well not Bobo since he was jet lagged and didn't quite grasp the situation. But needless to say no one was hurt, everyone walked away and Liam Cody has finally pushed my buttons beyond what I can take. At least he apologised and knows that when he does it again we wont be there to help, I aint getting shot for no cracker jack, even one of my best friends!

And now on our final day in Toronto things have gone astray due to the G20 Summit being held in town. Al "The Count" Nickson has been sent home early from work due to the downtown area being shit down for all the hippy protesters. We had a wander around to see what was going down and it was all pretty peacefull, even boring. But before we knew it a healthy sized crowd had gathered and the police equiped with riot shileds etc began to back off. The mob was acting aggressive but shear numbers became intimidating, one cop had a panic attack infront of a sit down protest? A bunch of hoods smashed up a cop car and then sat on top of it spouting off about the evils of capitalism but the audience was soon side tracked a looney who climbed out onto a sign and started preteding to dangle off an electricity wire, but he soon realised how stupid this was and climbed back, only to re appear and finally dangle off the wire!!!

We headed for home as things did seem to be heating up a bit and within an hour we were sat watching the same smashed police cae burn to cinders, tear gas was used and rubber bullets were fired. I don't know who fired first but seeing a lone police officer with no armour being abused and having rocks thrown off him was well beyond the score! We eventually had a seat on the roof and watched as smoke filled the skies, 3 or 4 cops cars were totalled and things went on till the early hours! I'm just gald they didn't have Kaiser Chiefs playing "I Predict A Riot". We ended up going to see some friends of Fish's playing in a small bar up Spedina. They were pretty good except for when we walked in and the first person I saw was the guy I'd asked to leave on the first night, he waved and smilled! But he was soon ignored again.

When we finally left the house of fun I couldn't hlp but feel sad, the gang who looked after us were a truelly amazing bunch and made us feel so welcome. Friends have been made, connections made and hopefuly exchanges will happen again in the future. Forever the song bellow will be associated with the balcony at 119 Baldwin Street! Until next time Tornoto, onto Chicago now!

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