Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Rocktober: the first bit

As most people who read this blog know I am a HUGE Beatles fan and especially a fan of Paul McCartney.  Let's just say I have seen him in concert a few times.  When I found out he was going to be in Toronto and in my friend Pat's home town of Buffalo I knew I had to go.  I then found out that Ringo was going to be playing in Toronto in between those two concerts and then The Who would be there too. Great excitement and I managed to score tickets to all four concerts...though it wasn't easy...sadly The Who postponed their Toronto concert due to Roger Daltrey being ill.  Oh well, at least it wasn't one of my Beatle boys who cancelled although it was disappointing. 

So on the morning of Friday October 16th at the ungodly hour of 6:45 a.m. I boarded a nonstop Air Canada jet bound for Hog town.  It felt SO good to be boarding a plane again as I had been home exactly four months and five days.  (but who's counting?)   They actually had to de-ice the wings of the plane as there had been frost over night so we were late leaving however we did make up the time enroute.

Once I retrieved my luggage I headed over to catch the UP express train to Union station.  This train just started running a couple of days before my arrival from Iceland in June and I took it then.  It is on the pricey side but worth it for the convenience.  My sister was there to meet me.  I suggested we visit the St Lawrence Market for lunch and a snoop around.  Dilemma?  What to do with my luggage.  There is no place to store your luggage in the station (duh...get on that okay Union station?) but they told us the Intercontinental hotel a few blocks away will store it for three dollars.  So that's what I did.  We then walked over to the market and had Peameal bacon in a bun for lunch.  It was good but as my sister said it needed something else with it. 

We then wandered around the market with the vague idea of buying something for supper that evening but all we got were some tarts to share and coffee beans for me to take home.  (I buy locally roasted coffee beans when I travel - then when I am grinding them and drinking the lovely result I think  "I got this from ____"  Okay maybe a bit weird but it keeps me happy okay? )

Yes I am possibly one of the few people in the world who drool over brussel sprouts...

We then headed back to get my luggage and take the subway to my niece's place where I would be staying the next two nights...but first I had to snap this picture quickly.  Love this building!  Reminds me of the Flatiron building in New York.

 Union station

The CN tower peeking around the corner of the tall buildings.  Toronto seems to have new buildings popping up all over the place.

When we changed at St George station we rushed for the train which was sitting in the station.  All of a sudden the door closed on me knocking the suitcase handle out of my hand and getting my arm stuck.  Luckily I was able to pull it out but it was scary.  And very luckily my sister was behind me so could take my suitcase and get on the next train.  If I had been behind her or on my own it doesn't bear thinking about.  Would my suitcase still have been waiting there for me if I had gotten off at the next stop and taken the train back?  Very possibly not..

Once at my niece's apartment I relaxed with a (much needed) glass of wine and we ordered in a pizza for the three of us.

The next day was Paul day!  However I still had things to do before the concert.  Late that morning I headed over to the Bata Shoe Museum which was about a 25 minute walk from my niece's place.

My niece lives in Korea town and right by the Christie subway station they have a tiger.  Backdrop is the beautiful leaves of the Christie Pits. 

 Street art along the way

The Bata Shoe Museum was a place I had wanted to visit for a while so decided it was time.  I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.   Here are some of the highlights for me.

Chestnut Crushing clog - from 19th century France  (just what every home needs) 

Skates from Holland...I have always loved paintings of skaters on the frozen canals of Holland.

I honestly can't remember the history of these shoes but aren't they cool?

First Nations foot wear

John Lennon's Beatle boots!

A pair of Elton John's shoes from the 70's

You wouldn't expect a crinoline in a shoe museum but it was kind of a tribute to women who burnt to death wearing these things.   As their frocks were so wide it wasn't uncommon for their dress to brush against the fire and then the air under the cage of the crinoline would feed the flames.  Approximately three thousand women a year died this way in the United Kingdom. Two of Oscar Wilde's half sisters died in this horrible way.

I then carried on via subway to the Eaton Centre where I then walked over to City Hall, stopping to see the old City Hall and Turkish people protesting against ISIS.

The Toronto sign was put up for the Pan Am games; I think they are going to keep it.  I quite like it. I do quite like Toronto - something that not many "westerners" say but then I've never been typical. (thank goodness!)

I discovered they were having the Toronto Waterfront marathon the next day...sadly the expo was too far away for me to get to in a limited amount of time...but better for my wallet!  Two years ago I would have been in heaven and would have known about the marathon being the day after the concert and registered for the half marathon.  I mean Paul one day and a half marathon the next...it didn't get any better than that!  And the Waterfront was on "the list"....sniff...but we won't go there now....half marathons are in my past life.  For now anyway...

I decided to I had better eat before the concert so went to a nearby cafe for an omelette.  I then headed to the Loose Moose pub for a pre-concert get together but unfortunately the host of it was late and didn't show up....so that kind of fell apart.  However my friends Pat and Debbi showed up so we walked over to the Air Canada centre and were lucky enough to see Paul arrive.  We didn't have to wait long at all.  I haven't seen him arrive at concerts in a while as I find hours of standing just isn't worth it for a couple of seconds - even though it is great fun and you do feel like a teenager again.

We had all eaten so headed back to Debbi's vehicle to warm up (it was darn cold out!) and a chat.

Then it was time to head to the concert.  Pat and Debbi were on the floor and I was on the side so we headed off in different directions and arranged to meet up afterwards.  Of all the crazy coincidences I sat beside a fellow I had met in Ottawa two years before.  My friend Donna and I had gone over to the Air Canada Centre in Ottawa to get some photos of the arena and this fellow jokingly said "you can't stay here".  We got to talking and to be honest I didn't think about it again.   I started chatting to the fellow who said he had seen Paul six times so I knew I was with another hard core which always makes me happy.  He recited where he had been and  I mentioned I had been to Ottawa.  He said he had met someone who had seen him forty plus times and had upgraded her ticket and given her other one to her friend and I realized he was talking about me!  I said "that was moi"!!!  We had such a laugh about it.  So it was fun to have a great fan beside me - it doesn't always work out that way.  If you are serious about an artist and want a good seat you do not go for two seats together - better to have one so that is why I don't usually sit with my Paul friends.  Sometimes you do end up together crazily enough - it has happened but mostly we are in different areas.

The concert was fabulous of course - it's never been anything else.  Almost three hours of nonstop music that takes you through early Beatles to the new stuff and I love it all.  As always when in Canada he sang "Mull of Kintyre".

My pictures were utter crap - the camera that did so well at the Regina concert really let me down.  Oh well - a big difference between the third row centre and being up on the side....  after I realized how crappy they were I just gave up and enjoyed the show.

Members of the Paris Port Dover pipe band - lucky enough to get to play with Sir Paul!

It turns out there was a get together after the concert but I hadn't heard about it so headed back to my niece's place where a party was just winding down.

Here is the Korea town tiger lit up at night.

My niece gave me a glass of wine and I sat quietly and in my happy place until all the guests had left. Then it was time to hit the hay - what a day!!!

The next morning my niece wanted to take her Mac in to the Apple store at the Eaton Centre to have it looked at.  We had looked at taking her car down there or a taxi but with the marathon on it was impossible.  My sister arrived and off the three of us went...sadly nothing could be done for the computer so back we came to the apartment.  Then we set off for brunch only to discover that the first place we had in mind was packed with a long wait and the next place was closed.  So we settled for a coffee shop and had sandwiches.

 From there we headed over to the Royal Ontario Museum to visit the Pompeii exhibit.   I assume everyone knows about Pompeii but I've learned that it's wrong to assume.   In AD 79 Mount Vesuvius erupted totally destroying the city while preserving it as well.  It is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world and gives us a look into the daily life of an ancient yet ordinary Roman city.  The exhibition featured such diverse items as kitchen ware, art work, jewellery, a gladiator helmet and even carbonized bread left in an oven by a baker fleeing for his life.

It was absolutely fabulous.  Since I was a child I've had a fascination with Pompeii and have been lucky enough to see an exhibition of it in Birmingham, Alabama and now in Toronto.  Will I ever make it to Pompeii itself?  Who knows but I sure hope so.  If you are squeamish don't keep scrolling down.  To me this was fascinating.  Yes a bit gruesome but it's history.

The remains of a beautiful tile.

This is a plaster cast of a guard dog was left chained up by its master who fled and left it. The dog likely tried to climb above the growing mound of pumice and rocks before succumbing.  This was the 8th cast done in 1874 and this dog is one of Pompeii's best known casualties.  Heartbreaking isn't it?

This mosaic of a dog was located in the same room the dog above was found.

Very wealthy family (a horde of gold was found nearby) killed looking desperately for shelter.  Their arms are at their faces due to the extreme heat causing their tendons to contract after death.

Plaster casts of victims

Such an interesting exhibit.

Afterwards we headed back to Erin's apartment where I retrieved my luggage and my sister and I set off for her apartment in Hamilton.  However that will have to wait for another blog post.

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