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Old 08-30-2013, 08:31 AM   #1291
MrGoldfish
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I dig it.



Quote:
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
Here's something a bit different.

Neda had taken a whole bunch of videos on her iPhone, and I wanted to learn how to do some video-editing, so here's a trailer for our next couple of blog posts.

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Old 09-01-2013, 05:03 AM   #1292
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
Here's something a bit different.

Neda had taken a whole bunch of videos on her iPhone, and I wanted to learn how to do some video-editing, so here's a trailer for our next couple of blog posts.

I've been in that boat before.
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Old 09-01-2013, 09:58 PM   #1293
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Update from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/104.html



We are thoroughly enjoying summer in Toronto, catching up with family and friends, lots of eating, laughing, eating, being wide-eyed tourists, fighting traffic and eating. Over meals, we recounted our travels to our friends, and by far, the most common question they asked us was, "What has been the best part of your trip?"

Before we answer that, let's start from the beginning.


30-40 foot high geyser of drainage water spews above the Don Valley Parkway

We left rainy Guatemala hoping to catch the sunny season in Toronto. However, not a week after we arrived, we found ourselves stuck in the car on the highway during the worst rainstorm the city has ever seen. We normally get 75mm of rain the entire *MONTH* of July, but during a *TWO-HOUR* period, 123mm of rain fell down around us! Cars were stranded on the highway as water levels rose past their windows, city streets were flooded as people waded out of submerged subways and underwater parking garages. Power went out for hours throughout most of the city and as we watched the news from a safe place uptown, suddenly Guatemala didn't seem that wet and gloomy anymore...


Our ride for the summer in Toronto - picture by Neda's dad, Vjeko

Thankfully the rains only lasted a week and we were able to get some riding done.

We have amazing friends! So many of them have been so generous, offering us motorcycles, cars, accommodations and taking us out for dinners and cooking us meals. We're thankful to my parents who let us crash in their basement for a few days while we looked for a place to stay for the summer. Our friends Dave and Dee basically gave us a V-Strom as well as their car while they were away on vacation. Our other friends Jeff and Ed also lent us their cars for the weekend and I can't count the number of two-wheeled offers we got! If you're reading this, thank you all so much!!!


Big Shitty traffic

So what's it like coming back to Toronto after a year on the road?

It's like we never left. When my parents picked us up from the airport, we hit a traffic jam on the highway and it was such a familiar feeling, like we had just left a week ago. They say when you've been gone for a long time, everything looks and feels different, you even feel different in your old environment. I don't think we were gone long enough, though. We'll have to work on that...

I think the biggest change is how bad traffic has become. Toronto is now the 4th largest city in North America and has the congestion to match. I used to be able to judge exactly how long it would take me to get from any point in the city to another at any time of the day, arriving within 2-3 minutes of my appointment. Now I'm either 15 minutes late, or 30 minutes early - the traffic patterns have changed drastically in the last year.


Our condo was so high up, we could see outer space from our window!

While I was looking through the pictures Neda had taken on the contact sheet, this one looked like the earth from outer space. It's actually the sunset over the skyline taken from our condo. The shutter button on iPhone is on the right, but since she's a lefty all her pictures are displayed upside-down! So I warped the edges of the skyline a bit and got this cool spacey-looking shot.

We're on the 48th-floor of a condominium right downtown overlooking the western part of the city. Having never lived in the heart of the city before, it was great walking everywhere and being tourists in our old hometown.


Neda blames this injury on her being a lefty

We got our first serious casualty since the start of the trip. Neda had a major altercation with a can opener and sliced her finger very deeply. She blames the fact that the can opener was made for righties and not southpaws... uh huh... We had to take her to the hospital where they put 6 stitches in to close the wound. Unfortunately, there is a risk of tendon damage, and since it's her clutch hand, she's off motorcycles for the duration of our time in Toronto.

A friend commented, "You traveled around the world for a whole year on motorcycles and the only time you injure yourself is back home in the kitchen..."


Neda's Davy Jones impression

OMG, we really miss the food in Toronto! I think this city is the most cosmopolitan place in terms of food. While I enjoyed the Mexican and Central American cuisine, it's all so homogenous! And after months of rice, beans, tortillas and fried meats, we really craved soft-shell crab rolls, lamb vindaloo, curried goat, all washed down with some ice-cold Hobgoblin ale. We really miss all the varieties of food you can sample in Toronto, and I've got the extra 15 lbs around the midsection to prove it!


I competed in a Moto Gymkhana competition


Gymkhana is an ancient Japanese sport involving motorycles, swords and ninjas. Or in this case they are CBR250s...


I didn't do too well. But because this is Canada, everybody is a winner and gets a medal!


The Skydome is Toronto's baseball stadium. A few years ago Roger's Communications paid a lot of money to rename the building to, um... the Skydome...


Watched some local artists in action


The intersection of Yonge St and Dundas St is Toronto's mini Times Square


Cruisin' the streets of Toronto is a popular pastime for urban riders


In Toronto, green means go. In Toronto, red also means go... True story.


Fishing in Algonquin Park

Every weekend in the summer, tens of thousands (or at least it seems like) of Torontonians sit for hours in traffic on a Friday afternoon to engage in an activity called Cottaging, which I don't even believe is a real word. Then they'll sit for hours in traffic on Sunday afternoon to get back to the city. Minus the time spent sleeping, these urbanites will spend more time during the weekend Trafficking than Cottaging.


"We made it to Algonquin Park! Time to leave soon..."

So anyway... What *HAS* been the best part of our trip so far?

Reaching the Arctic Ocean in Alaska may have been the most rewarding achievement of our trip. Utah may have been the most scenic place we have visited. Mexico may have had the friendliest people in our travels. Crossing the Darien Gap by sailboat with our motorcycles may have been the most interesting part of our journey. But both Neda and I agree, the best part of our trip has been "Freedom" - the ability to go anywhere we wanted, staying as long or as short as we desired and not having any destination, plan or schedule to map out or stick to. *THAT* has been the most amazing feeling in the last 12 months!
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Old 09-01-2013, 11:15 PM   #1294
Blader54
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Hi guys! That's one awesome update!! I had no idea so many people lived in Toronto! Hope the rest of your stay there is as fun!
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:59 AM   #1295
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lightcycle View Post
Every weekend in the summer, tens of thousands (or at least it seems like) of Torontonians sit for hours in traffic on a Friday afternoon to engage in an activity called Cottaging, which I don't even believe is a real word. Then they'll sit for hours in traffic on Sunday afternoon to get back to the city. Minus the time spent sleeping, these urbanites will spend more time during the weekend Trafficking than Cottaging.

Hi

Been following your thread for a while now, and really enjoying it.

When/If you come over to Europe, there are plenty of inmates here who will gladly put you up and provide advice on what to see...if you want it that is! You are certainly welcome at our place in The Netherlands.

One thing....try putting 'cottaging' into google....and then stand back
(you may need to get on a european google like www.google.co.uk)

Mike
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:20 AM   #1296
Blader54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecbrxx View Post
Hi

Been following your thread for a while now, and really enjoying it.

When/If you come over to Europe, there are plenty of inmates here who will gladly put you up and provide advice on what to see...if you want it that is! You are certainly welcome at our place in The Netherlands.

One thing....try putting 'cottaging' into google....and then stand back
(you may need to get on a european google like www.google.co.uk)

Mike
That IS funny! Who'd a thunk it? I guess we are two peoples separated by a common language and that includes Canada....
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:58 AM   #1297
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H Mike, thanks for the offer!

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikecbrxx View Post
One thing....try putting 'cottaging' into google....and then stand back
(you may need to get on a european google like www.google.co.uk)
Yeah, I did Google "cottaging" just to make sure it wasn't a real word and was surprised when that came up. But there's a whole bunch of words we use on this side of the pond that have an entirely different meaning where you are, like "fanny" and "dogging"...
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:44 PM   #1298
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Yes I had to explain to a friend that it was best not to ask for a napkin in a restaurant, and that suspenders are in ladies lingerie. Which reminds me, why do they always call it "ladies lingerie"? To distinguish it from "men's lingerie"? Some of my friends here in the States watch a lot of BBC....but find they have to keep their closed captioning on so they can follow what is being said!
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:21 PM   #1299
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Well I've wasted 3 days but I managed it. What an extraordinary report and journey!

I love your wise cracks Gene, but it must also be said as I progressed I noticed there were a few less towards the end, and I figured you guys might have been getting travel fatigue.

Huge respect to you both for doing this.

A couple of comments:
I see you have some new boots already

Ive learnt that a 15 yrs old girl's birthday are a serious big deal in latin America, I suppose it is as important as a 21st for us or maybe prom night? I was reminded of this by that photo.

Your photos are excellent, you really have a great eye.
That pictures of the dancer in Cuba already commented on I think might be your best as well.

A question or two:
How much did it cost you to rent a place for a month in Guatamala?

If you were do this part of your trip again (Canuckland to central America again) what would you do differently? Do you have any regrets?


Finally, two suggestions:

When you make it to Peru, stay off the PanAm, its long, windy and boring from Tumbes down to Nasca. After that its pretty cool.

You are welcome to crash with us in Lima if we are in town.

Neil
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Old 09-05-2013, 08:07 AM   #1300
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How much did it cost you to rent a place for a month in Guatamala?
Our place was $850/month. It is a bit on the expensive side because it was high season. I think we could have gotten something similar for a bit cheaper if we had booked in advance. But you don't have to spend that much for a place in Antigua, we saw smaller self-enclosed rooms in hostels for around $300. Since we were staying for a whole month, we decided to splurge a bit.

Quote:
If you were do this part of your trip again (Canuckland to central America again) what would you do differently? Do you have any regrets?
I think we should have given ourselves more time to get to Panama to make our Stahlratte sailing. We grossly underestimated how long we were going to stay in Mexico - thought we were going to travel through it in one month, stayed for three! So it was a bit of a mad dash through Central America.

Other than that, absolutely no regrets. We could have done Alaska a bit earlier, but then we would have to contend with mosquitoes instead of rain, mud and snow. And I *HATE* mozzies. Despite vowing that we would not let anything affect our pace, we're finding the seasons still put limits on where and when we can go. Which is not a bad problem to have when you're on any kind of trip!

Quote:
You are welcome to crash with us in Lima if we are in town.
Thanks so much, Neil!
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:48 AM   #1301
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Updated from http://www.RideDOT.com/rtw/105.html



We're hosting a couple from Belgium who contacted us through our blog! After traveling through Northern Europe by motorcycles, they're now backpacking through North America starting in Toronto. When they originally e-mailed us back in April, we were just getting ready to enter Cuba and had no plans to to be back in Toronto, so it was quite a coincidence that we were here at the same time.


The Belgians take a boat ride

We loved hosting Eva and Thomas in Toronto, it gave us the motivation to actually get out and see all the touristy places in Toronto that we wouldn't normally have visited. If it wasn't for them, we probably would have stayed in our apartment the entire summer! The Belgians are vegetarians and nature-lovers - cut from the same cloth as Neda! So I had to hide a packet of beef jerky under my bed for the week... :)


View of Toronto from Centre Island

It was great seeing Toronto from a tourists' pair of eyes. Eva and Thomas told us that the skyline looked very futuristic. I never thought about it, but I guess coming from the Old Continent, everything must look so shiny and new here. The CN Tower and Skydome do look kinda spacey, even though the tower was built 40 years ago! Nowadays, the view of the skyline from the waterfront is being quickly disfigured by a forest of high-rise condominiums which is a real shame.


Toronto's Flatiron building


Fake Canadian Geese hanging inside the Eaton Centre

While taking the Belgians around town, I realized that I really miss being an expert on something. In the entire year that we've been traveling, we were in Input-Only Mode, taking in sights, sounds and information, not having any prior background and not being able to express any opinions with any depth of knowledge. Now we were entirely in our element. Being around friends, we talked with conviction about all things Toronto: our train-wreck of a mayor, the condofication of the city, real-estate bubbles, bubble tea, the proposed casino and island airport expansion, etc.

It felt good to be entrenched in the issues and politics of a place, instead of always merely passing through and scooping up an inch-full of surface knowledge, a snippet of sound-bites.


Eva sports the latest in Toronto baseball fashion apparel

One thing I am *NOT* knowledgeable about is baseball, so I had to be quick on my feet, both with the pocket Google and the MSUs (Making Shit Up). The Belgians peppered me with questions up in the nose-bleed seats of the Skydome, all the while we watched the Jays gets murdelized by the Oakland A's. When they go back home and explain baseball to other Belgians, I hope my name doesn't come up when they talk about foul-plays and fly-runs...

The Belgians told us that our baseball fans are very tame and well-behaved. They said in European sports, when the home team loses, there is always a chance of a riot! I told them that when our home team(s) loses *ALL THE TIME*, you simply run out of energy...


Bautista is famous Toronto T-shirt designer


Sunset against the open Skydome


CN Tower looks like the warp trail of a rocket when lit up!


So cliched, but we took the Belgians to Nigara Falls. Maid of the Mist earns its name.


I forget how fascinating it is for someone who has never seen the Falls


The Canadian Horseshoe Falls flows 2.2 million liters of water *PER SECOND*!


Add this picture to our, Take-Our-Tourist-Friends-To-Niagara-Fall collection... :)


Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara


A case of mistaken identity for Eva's hairclip


After a long day, Thomas relaxes in our apartment. Great picture taken by Eva!


Toronto's version of Grand Central Station - Union Station

We had such an amazing time with Eva and Thomas! We recognized the same joy of travel in their eyes, and there was always lots to talk about between the four of us. They continued their journey to Western Canada by train and we wished them a fond farewell, and I really believe we will be seeing our new-found friends again soon. You can read all about Eva and Thomas' adventures on their blog, Life is a Journey!


Look and Point - Part 1 of 2


Look and Point - Part 2 of 2

The Canadian National Exhibition is a 3-week long fair held in Toronto and it traditionally marks the end of the summer. It also marks the end of our vacation in the city, and since we lived so close, I met up with some friends to take in the sights.


At the Ex, you take your life in your own hands with the dodgy rides and dodgier food

Actually, the real reason why I went to the Ex was to try the infamous Cronut: half-croissant, half-donut, with a burger in the middle. There was an incident the week before when the maple-bacon jam topping the Cronut caused over 100 people to contract severe food poisoning. So after hearing that, I *HAD* to try it! But sadly, the Cronut was taken off the menu for good after the incident. :(


These swings are iconic - they've been in every TV commercial for the Ex for decades!


"Carnival, the wheels fly and the colours spin through alcohol..."


Betting on a good time

Our friends have been such a joy to hang out with this summer. They surrounded us like a warm blanket on a cold winter morning, and it was much more difficult leaving them this time around than it was last year. But there's still so much to see out there so we're suiting up for the next exciting season of RideDOT.com!

Stay tuned! :)
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Old 09-05-2013, 09:58 AM   #1302
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Awesome!!!!

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Old 09-05-2013, 11:00 AM   #1303
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Wow...Toronto has really changed. Thirty years ago I frequently sailed across Lake Ontario from Wilson, NY for a weekend visit.
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:41 AM   #1304
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Quote:
The Belgians told us that our baseball fans are very tame and well-behaved. They said in European sports, when the home team loses, there is always a chance of a riot! I told them that when our home team(s) loses *ALL THE TIME*, you simply run out of energy...
ha ha that was great, gotta send this off to my buddy who is a huge "anything Toronto" sports fan. Keep up the great pics and report
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Old 09-05-2013, 11:59 AM   #1305
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Hey Y'all!

Howdy Neda and Gene! Great to keep up with Y'all on this report!

Heal quickly Neda! Man, its your football throwing hand too! :)

Take care, see ya again down the road!
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