Touring Toronto and the Chinese Bus

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While neither of us wanted to see the adventures of Africa move away from its spot as the latest adventure, alas, life goes on and with it brings new destinations. While Toronto is no Tanzania, it has its own charms and little nooks and crannys particular to it. Emele, at the tale end of another press blitz, had scheduled a few extra days to see the city, and since it’s also home to my parents (not to mention a mere $25 bus ticket on Greyhounds Neon line), it seemed like the perfect occasion to meet up.

Oddly enough, though I’ve been to the city more times than I can count, I’ve never actually really explored it. The usual obligatory family visits take up most of the visit so when Emele had asked about the $5 Chinese bus to Niagra Falls, I hadn’t the faintest idea what she was talking about but was down for the trip.

Perhaps we were coming to terms with no longer being in Africa and still recalling the public bus transportation including a few Masai Warriors and live chickens, but we were slightly disappointed at the luxury of travel accommodations. But after a few late nights bar hopping in Toronto, the 2 hour ride to Niagra in plush seats was a welcome respite, albeit non-eventful.

Having researched the outting prior and perhaps reconnecting with our fractional Chinese ancestry, we had decided the perfect compliment to riding the Chinese bus would be to bring along some dim sum. The all day dim sum place, Rol San, hit the spot and came recommended not only by those on Yelp but a city local too and we weren’t disappointed.

While I suppose technically a bus ride using the provider can cost as little as $5, it is worth noting that if you are going for the first time that’s not the case. The actual initial cost, which includes a membership card for the casino is $20; it’s if you decide to go again that the next ticket costs $5. Not exactly cheap considering my ticket from NYC was only $25 but in the end was worth the view.

Niagra Falls a 177ft cascade of water (on the Canadian side) is pretty impressive. The outlooks near the falls are so close the spray from the cascade can thoroughly soak you in minutes, but it also means a steady though somewhat random display of rainbows. We managed to snap a couple shots, before getting our share of wetness and then headed indoors to meander around. Aside from the falls, the town of Niagra is home to several casinos, though to be honest we hadn’t stepped foot into any of them, neither of us being big gamblers. We chowed down on our dim sum in the food court, stopped in the shops and a few hours later got back on the bus to Toronto.

Back in Toronto, we thought what would a visit to Chinatown be, without a eating Chinese duck. We settled on a spot called the Garden Restaurant on Dundas Street W. Though the line was long, it was well worth the wait. Stuffed, but more than satisfied we walked the rest of the way back to Harbour Square and took in the streets of Toronto.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a missadventure if something didn’t go slightly awry. The next morning, Emele took the shuttle to the airport for a early flight. Having carried a bag for both of us the day before, I’d put her passport together with mine and  hadn’t double checked it upon handing it back to her that evening. Well, in short a slightly frantic phone call at 5:30 am was all I need to shoot out of bed and head to the airport to exchange her passport for mine.

With a laugh and a grin, we did a quick exchange and noted the befitting error…

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