Monthly Archives: August 2011

St. Clarens – my home for the month

So I finally got out of the Downtown backpackers inn, and into the homestay which I will be at for the month. The place is miles different from what I’ve been staying at before… Downtowner was really a pain in the butt to live in.

..Review time!
Pros: Bed to sleep in for the night, kitchen (though I didn’t really use it much), dubstep posters on the wall, half the time the people I stayed with were cool and fun to talk to.
Cons: The other half, seriously squeaky dorm bed frames, half the bathroom missing, no hot water for the first three nights, no internet (well, there was but the router didn’t work), really weird mattress, unidentified plastic bag with green stuff that noone dared to touch.

So, quite glad to be away from it, all in all. Hope the people I met and exchanged contact details contact me though! Anyway, after a serious mission to lug all my stuff to the homestay, one can suppose I am now Established. Similar to a canine marking its territory in pee – I’ve sniffed and prodded every nook and cranny in the basement that I’m staying in for some hint of potential trouble. But it all checked out, for now anyway.

Now, I say basement, but its really a separate room and is quite comfortable. Heres a sneak preview:

My bed

..hit the jump for more in-depth photo coverage. (so it doesn’t take a billion years to load this blog.. im learning!)

Continue reading

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Decisions..

So I’m kind of in the middle of three choices right now.

Option one: $500 per month. Requires me to take the subway ($3 each trip). Live with a South American married couple. Okay with rent until january, february. Furnished. No living room, shared kitchen and bathroom. First and Last.

Option two: $770 for ONE month, Food INCLUDED. Requires subway trip. Live with a South American family and two other ESL students. Well Furnished, great house, nice rooms, very spacious. Bathroom to myself. Upfront Payment.

Option three: Keep looking.

Will visit one more place today in central, $500 p/m, unsure if he’s okay with my job-hunting situation.

Decisions tonight!! Leaning towards homestay out of the above two options, as it gives me time to look for a job and time to look for a 1 Oct lease. Want to talk to parents (!!) but wifi at the hostel is having problems and now it’s too late in NZ. At a starbucks now – will be slurping my frap at a snail’s pace haha. Guess i’ll decide by myself. Let me know what you think, if you can.

Later Alligator

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Boiling Hot Thunderstormy Tornadoes

Hello Hello! Currently Im at the Starbucks along Yonge / College St. waiting for Hanee and chatting, looking for jobs and just generally updating!

Its boiling hot at the moment outside, i very nearly died trying to move my luggage from the lockers at the bus station of Bay & Dundas to the backpackers haha. I have my umbrella though because apparantly there’s a tornado storm warning for Toronto at some point in the present/future. Yesterday however, was a party of rain showers, thunderstorms and lightning flashes – You’d almost think you were at a strobe-light party! The weather here seems to be very undecisive and all over the place.

Anyway- No flat whites. No roundabouts. They drive on the wrong side. Paying for stuff here is weird – eg. when you see something on the shelf for 20 bucks, you’re gonna end up paying more about $27 / $30 bucks, minus tips.

Weirder are cell phone plans… so here you gotta pay for everything. like EVERYTHING. A standard Roger’s plan (not really much prepay here) is like $10 service fee – $10 unlimited calling within CA $7 texting, $5 for Caller ID, and little charges for stull like call forwarding, voicemail, call waiting, group calling. Its bullshittt. And did i mention you have to pay for receiving calls and texts as well?
So whatever that amounts to, add govt. service tax, and round it upwards about 10 – 15 bucks and there you have it. Strange.
(Mel if youre reading this and get deja-vu, forgive me)

News of the flat-hunt: First place I saw was a total stunner. Underground room with space for a queen bed, no windows, smelt slightly of urine, beside a yoga room.
..pass

Second place was.. okay, nothing much to say.

Third place was a couple of subway stops away, not too far from town, would be living with a South American husband and wife. I told him that I’d call him back this evening after i’ve checked out a couple more places today.

Today, Im gonna check out a homestay that i’d found – the lady hosts quite often and id only stay for a month. Which I reckon is quite good for me as It’d give me proper time and a base in which to find a job. As well as time to look for a possible Oct 1st place to live! So hopefully that will turn out well… details later!

….
Im just waiting for pictures to upload,,, la la lalala humming to starbucks music…

..thanks Kazu for seeing me off at the airport!!

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Quikpost: From one backpackers to another

Hi there again, yes im still here in Toronto and yes i’m still alive. Which is good news all around i’m sure. Just a quick post today before I leave my backpackers here on Pembroke St. and hauling my ass (and stuff) alllllll the 100 metres to another backpackers on Pembroke St.

Called a million places last night and this morning, awaiting replies on several places and going to check out a couple of rooms this afternoon and hopefully one this evening. Looking forward to having a proper place to stay to start the next phase of operations: A job!

Met some of Hanee’s friends yesterday. A little awkward but survived. Think I didnt come off as FOP (Fresh Off Plane) as I’d dreaded. Will meet her brother (tentatively) this weekend, I’m sure I’ll have another couple of updates by then.

In summary.. still alive, still optimistic, didn’t burn all my money in the first few days, havent yet lost anything. Woo!

Time to haul butt!

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Oh My Goodness How Am I Going To Survive This

So here I am in Toronto. Tally up one more naive, hopeful asian guy among the 5 million residents (49% of which are foreign-born) and who knows how many tourists here. Its a city with an interconnected system of subways, buses and steetcars, ‘loonies’, ‘twoonies’, and no flat whites. It’s also the place in which I am sitting here quietly thinking to myself ‘Where the heck am I meant to fit in here’.

My flights went well, although there was quite a lot of turbulence and thunderstorm action near the end. Seats were pretty good, there was an empty seat beside me on both my flights, which was pretty sweet. The Auckland to San Francisco flight ended up being delayed for an hour and a half, almost two hours – which almost made me miss my connecting San Fran to Toronto flight. Luckily it was delayed by an hour as well.
US Customs turned out to be pretty straightforward, though there was this one security guard that was really macho and made everyone really tense.

“YOU ALL BETTER STAY IN LINE TILL ALL YOUR BAGS GO THROUGH OR YOU DO IT AGAIN! YEAH, I CAN SEE YOU – YOU BETTER STEP BACK, YEAH I SEE YOU”

Tense, man. You probably had to be there though. Furthermore, enveloping all the hubbub of customs was the constant background noise of lost people being called for. English, French, Korean, Chinese, Japanese or German, you name it. It was literally nonstop though, because each foreign language had to be repeated in English as well. Strangely, its kind of fun not being the lost one this time.

Flight NZ4806 – Dinner – Butter Chicken (dry tsk) with rice and peas
Brekkie – Choco Chip Pancakes w/ Honey which were pretty good once you’re in the middle of your fourth movie and have bleary eyeballs.

ARRIVAL – was awesome, the plane banked pretty hard a couple of times, giving wonderful views of the marvellously super-flat and monstrous city that is Toronto. Before I realised it, we were on the tarmac, taxiing off into the dark.
The amazing smoothness of that landing however, was hugely overshadowed by the fact that there were loads of other huge international flights arriving at roughly the same time. I stood in line for Customs for nearly an hour and a half, shuffling along half asleep with three bags, bad breath and BO. When I finally made it though there were no problems and was soon waved along by the officer on line three, a.k.a ‘pretty cool sideburns guy’. I collected my baggage and shuffled along to meet Hanee.

..I’ll update a little more later, along with some pictures. I’m pretty tired at the moment and since i have to move along to the backpackers tomorrow, I figure I’d better catch some sleep.

[ okay, I was going to stop there, but Hanee is bleeping me on skype insisting that I keep going ]

Sooooooooo we got free coffee today from Coffee Culture. Upon ordering our Chai Latte and Regular Coffee Brew, the lady serving us gave us not two, but three cups of coffee. When we pointed out her mistake and subsequently tried to pay, she then did some sketchy calculations -ignoring us- and proceeded to GIVE us money instead.

All in all, after trying to balance it all out, we ended up with two coffees, a bottle of spring water, AND we were 0.70 cents up.

..I think im beginning to like Canada already.

Also,
[4:19:53 p.m.] Hanee: “say hanee is taking a great care of me”
[4:20:14 p.m.] Hanee: “she taught me how to cut stuff using chopsticks”
[4:20:31 p.m.] Hanee: “hanee is kindly and patienly teaching me korean”
..is what Hanee said.

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