Our first dinner in Toronto, at a steakhouse. The horse in the painting above Alex's head also happened to be our dinner as cows were considered to be disciples of Lucifer and driven out of Canada by angry, crucifix-brandishing mobs.
Prison camp, death of a housepet, that Naomi Watts movie "21 Grams" ... Few things in life are more painfully depressing than getting up at fucking 5 AM, particularly if you couldn't fall asleep 'til 3. LAX at 6 AM is not much more cheerful.
Hours later I was in Toronto, checking into our hotel. When I walked into the suite, Alex was already there. Although he only lived a mile away, he chose to crash with us for bonding purposes ... and somehow he had the largest suitcase.
"It looked a lot bigger on the Web site," was the first thing he said to me. He wasn't referring to his YellowFever.com profile photo, he meant our room. The suite only had one king-size bed. The couch in the living room didn't even have a foldout bed. A couple of weeks earlier I'd suggested getting two suites but was shot down. Now I realized what Alex's true intentions were ... no way I was accepting any drinks from that guy.
Rain showed up next. Since Paul wasn't going to be in for a couple of hours, we walked around downtown Toronto, trying to find my first Timmy Horton's. We were unsuccessful (Turns out there was one right across the street from our hotel), but we did find hot sausages in front of City Hall. (Damn, there are going to be so many gay references in these trip entries. So, so, so many.) You see, Toronto's got lots of sidewalk sausage vendors, which is great for me, because I'm ...errr, a big fan of sausages.
After grabbing coffee at the Second Cup on Queen Street, we headed back to the hotel and met up with Paul. Paul's the only one of the guys I hadn't met before, but they'd all met and hung out several times in previous trips. Fags.
The amazing thing about every person I've met from the online world is that they've all looked like their pictures. Paul was no different; and he even more-or-less sounded like what I'd expected. Like when I first met Rain, he talked a lot faster and more New Yorkish than I thought he would - like a radio announcer from the Forties. But that's because I was thrown off by his photos and expected him to sound like Kwai Chang Kane from "Kung Fu." I expected Alex to be louder and more slurred. As for me, Rain had expected me to speak a lot quicker. Paul said my voice was deeper than he expected. And Alex thought I'd have an accent. So essentially they all expected me to be a hyper prepubscent immigrant.
And so our trip began.
The Canadians were very proud when they completed their 1,815-ft CN Tower. But even though it was the world's tallest structure, the rest of the world didn't give a fuck. So Canada then constructed a 1,580-ft sign right next to the CN Tower congratulating themselves on their awesomeness.
Our first party in Toronto was a media industry mixer at this swanky joint called C Lounge on Wellington West. The coed bathroom even had a masseuse and a stylist. The C had a circle around it like this ©, so I asked if it was actually called Copyright Lounge, but they said, "No, it's just C Lounge," like I was the crazy one. Outside there were intimate cabanas and - get this - a giant wading pool. I guess it could double as an ice skating rink during the nine other months when it's not summer.
The one thing that pissed me off about the place was that my vodka was poured into my glass with an eyedropper. Seriously, bloop - just one drop. Most of the Goose evaporated before it even hit my mouth. At first I thought it was because the bartender hated me for my sparkling effervescence, but it was the same with everybody else. bloop Someone explained to me that vodka and other hard liquor were pricier in Canada. Why? Because it's smuggled into the country like cocaine? I pictured people acting as liquor mules trying to sneak through customs with a bottle of Belvedere planted inside their asses.
Afterward we walked over to this bar with a rooftop patio - forgot its name. As you can see in the photo, it got pretty cold that night and we almost lost Rain(hipstomp) to hypothermia. All evening we kept hearing the same excuse from every single Torontonian: "It's not usually this cold! Really! You shoulda been here last week, it was HOT, man! Like North Dakota HOT!"
These defensive comments were lost on shivering Rain, who's probably only got 2% body fat. The guy turned so blue he might as well have been using giant plastic pipes as a percussion instrument (NOTE: In case this went over your head, I was making a Blue Man Group joke ... ah forget it, you suck.). Luckily I found a walrus nearby and gutted it, stuffing Rain into its hot, steaming carcass - otherwise he might not have made it through the night.
You know, when I crop the photo like this, it kinda looks like Paul(naka_chan) and I are having a masturbating race. When you compare the two facial expressions, it's quite clear who's approaching it with the "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" philosophy.
That's the Scottish flag on my jacket, and it says Scotland across the back. For some strange reason, the homeless people of Toronto found my fake Scottish heritage to be the ultimate conversation piece. Lord knows how many vagrants would walk up to me and say something like, "You from Glasgow?" The first time I heard it, I responded with an "Ayyy, Captain!" as a joke. The next thing you know I was standing on the sidewalk for five minutes, trying to cover up my lie with another lie. "Hell yes, my great-great-great-grandfather was Braveheart's drinking buddy." Paul got so relieved when it was warm enough that I didn't have to wear that jacket, that homeless-hating bastard.
Structurally speaking, Alex(lexxy_pie)'s hair is like a Gehry building.
I'm not joking about this part: Throughout the evening, it was growing bigger and bigger, expanding like the universe. I kept waiting for it to collapse into itself like a dying star.
Later that evening we were all eating pizzas and gyros across the street from the Bovine Sex Club, when this stoned white chick staggered down the sidewalk making the type of noises you'd make when you've licked toxic amphibian skin secretions. She suddenly stopped in front of us and said, "Korean boys are fucking sexy! I want to FUCK you! I want to fuck you NOW!" I turned to Alex because I figured maybe he was up for this sort of thing, but he wasn't.
I have to admit I wasn't expecting that. I mean, how the hell did she know we were Korean?