Sleeplessness and the Urge to Explore

Jet lag and time changes are either mortal enemies or partners in sleep rehabilitation; I have yet to decide which it is. We did not realize that the clocks changed during the night. What slackers, this part of the world is, we accomplished this the last Sunday of October in Europe.

After surviving more than 25 hours without sleep, after finally getting six hours of it, I was wide-awake and ready to conquer the day. Ron not so much. Somewhere in my life, I must have really pissed off the Sandman; when he comes to sprinkle me with his magical sand, he is definitely stingy with the portions.

Our first morning, we just wandered around to get a feel for the area. The claim that Yonge Street is the longest street in the world exists as a claim in our small city pamphlet we picked up at our home exchange. However, a bit of investigation shows that this is not true; Guinness Book of World Records corrected it in 1999, by dropping it. It seems it was a massive miscalculation. Regardless, it can be a hefty, hearty walk.

Fall ColorsStores and shops have lovely autumn flower displays decorating their outside. A small mall had an interesting Native American totem pole with the supermarket within still trying to sell Halloween cakes.IMGP0158

The highlight of our day turned out to be an accidental discovery. We bypassed breakfast at home due to a late start, but after three hours of walking, lunch was definitely in the plan. We were looking for one that had been mentioned in our little book, but the restaurant at that address was entirely different. A few doors down there was a sign for an art exhibit; the wind had sent it flying. A woman came out of the building to realign the sign, so I asked her about the restaurant. We got to talking about the show and the live performance scheduled to start in a couple of hours.

Pad Thai with ChickenAfter realizing the restaurant we wanted was no longer and the replacement was take-out only, we moved on. A block away was an Asian restaurant with mixed cuisine. Ron ordered shrimp with rice and I had Pad ThaiShrimp with Rice with chicken and shrimp, a combo I have never had before. Not only were the portions generous, the food was delicious as well. Both dinners cost us $15.

Deciding to return to the art exhibit, we were not at all prepared for what we experienced. This story will be mostly visual and in a separate post. There are a number of pictures explaining it.

A little more than two hours later, after more walking, I needed caffeine. Passing by the Infusion Café, where they use Reverse Atmospheric Infusion or RAIN to brew their coffee, we decided to try it. It sounds gimmicky and a way to raise prices. There are dozens of Starbucks here, but wanting to try something different, we realized the cost was similar at both places. I had a mocha coffee IMGP0192and Ron had the “I Feel Good” blend. My drink was thicker than regular coffee, with a layer of mild sweetness accompanying the chocolaty richness. It was delicious and sugar-free. Ron’s choice was equally hearty and rich in flavor. We were impressed. You can see their process here.

Check out this street art. It is a combined project with indigenous people and other artists. Check out the spelling of the names. Bet you cannot say them three times fast.

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Strangely, we saw a streetcar pass by with tIMGP0199he exact name of my hometown, Long Branch.

Before returning home, we went to a supermarket called Loblaws. I have been out of the North American continent too long. This store put me into real shock. The immensity was astounding. Eighteen cash registers? We could not get over it. Everything has its own department. The bakery section is the size of some of our convenience stores alone. There was one long and full aisle for yogurts only. There were many products we cannot get in Hungary. For years, I have pouted over the great recipes I have found that called for Pillsbury products to start. Now, they are all at hand and I am feeling overwhelmed by choices and the wish to cook.

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.