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Sunday, October 03, 2004

Holiday Diary (long)

This entry's more for me than everyone else but here's what I did on holiday. So it may be a little boring in places.

Wednesday 8th September

  1. Dave gave me a lift to Gatwick in the morning with my luggage, met the rest of my family soon after arriving by chance and checked in. Main suitcase was 20.3kg, but not a problem (limit is 20kg).
  2. Sat around a lot, had some proper breakfast/lunch and waited for the flight to Toronto. The bride and groom took a slightly later flight.
  3. Enjoyed the rush of acceleration as we were whisked off in a fairly northerly direction before heading out over the Atlantic. It's a 7hr flight.
  4. Of course, 5hrs time difference westwards means we get there shortly after we left and the tiring flight hasn't helped (although Raising Helen was worth watching and it was nice seeing the lay of the land by air).
  5. Collapse into bed and hope our body clocks sort themselves a bit.

Thursday - visit and explore downtown Toronto, mainly the Eaton shopping centre - has a massive Sears there (department store). All browsing, as it was easier to pick stuff up on the stop-over there on the way back home than carry it around the rest of the hols.

Friday - CN Tower

  1. Took loads of photos, had dinner in the revolving restaurant up the top - expensive but if you choose a main meal item you don't need to pay for the elevator ride up the tower. This has a constant view outside all the way up due to a window running the entire height of the tower's base and glass doors to the lift, so you'd better be ok with that if you ever go. One rotation every 72mins so by the time you've had dinner you should have seen every direction at least once.
  2. Also popped down to the observation deck where you can walk round the outside with wire mesh and concrete obscuring your view. Or you can look down through some glass panels in the floor further inside and see all the way down from 350-odd metres up. Good for "aagh I'm about to fall" joke photos.
  3. Shoot more photos after coming down from it.

Saturday - Niagara Falls (100 miles away)

  1. Meet Lindsey's friends Shelley at hotel, share car space on the hour drive to Niagara.
  2. Try out the "Maid of the Mist" boat trip - well worth it, I don't think you can really say you've 'done' the falls until you've been on it. Takes you right up close and being at the bottom rather than the top makes them all the more impressive. Definitely better to view them from the Canadian side than the USA side.
  3. Take loads of photos again - some really nice ones too.
  4. On the way home we stopped off at a canal which my dad was particularly interested in, think it's one of the longest in the world that'll fit commercial shipping down it. Used to be used to carry important ores or wood or something from the East down to Toronto. Lots and lots of gates too, as there's a fair old climb from one end to the other. We saw one ship going through just as we got there. I took a few pics.

Sunday - last minute look/shop (ie more film!), fly to Mexico

  1. Meet up with the groom's "Best Lady" (the best man being unable to attend) at Toronto airport for the package flight/holiday to the hotel near Tulum (south of Cancun on the coast), Mexico.
  2. Dad has fun trying to take his film through customs without it being X-rayed at all. We all sit and wait, while trying to make use of a Tim Horton's eaterie with varying eastern-origin accented staff, the Canadian mix-in didn't help.
  3. It's only a 4hr flight so the fact that the food/snacks/coffee gets worse each flight with Air Transat isn't of major importance.
  4. We land in Cancun early evening and by the time we get to the hotel it's dark so we can't see how nice it is. The bus transfer trip is uneventful and we pass the monotonous palm/coconut forestation that pervades almost the entire area without much comment. Lindsey's family have been there a day already (and are leaving a day before us), we happen to see them at check-in and are instantly lifted in spirit by their mood (after a drink or two it has to be said...). Lovely reception area, instantly get the feeling that I'm going to love this holiday and the chilled-out attitudes despite knowing very little about it.
  5. I just had to join them for free drinks - it's all inclusive, meeting Laurel (Lindsey's sister) and her other half Ethan. By the end of this evening I knew I was going to love the holiday.

Monday - Hurrah! Mexico

  1. The best bit of the holiday begins.
  2. Wake up, take a look outside, and feel even better instantly.
  3. Explore the hotel, walk round the 3 pools, down to the sea (ooo... about a minute's walk from my room), and the hotel lobby/facilities.

The rest of the time was spent on various outings that I will write about (maybe as an extension to this entry) to Chichen Itza and Tulum's Mayan ruins, sunning myself, drinking pina colada's/other cocktails and beers (not together!), playing in the pool or the sea. Plus there was the wedding of course! The only bad bit was suffering from bad pool water or something towards the end of the week and overdoing the sun on the last day without any suncream on (in the sea, snorkelling... so easy - but worth it). Made the trip carrying my luggage back from Gatwick far less fun. It's horrible enough with suitcases on the underground anyway without sore shoulders.

That trip from Gatwick back home actually ended up costing not all that much less than a taxi would have been! £12 for the Gatwick Express back into London, £2 tube to Waterloo then £10.10 single back to Farnham. Doesn't it annoy you how return tickets are only a little more expensive than singles? Well, the £10.10's return version was £10.80. 70p more! I seriously considered buying a return, just on the off-chance! It was never going to be used, but when it's only 70p more on a tenner, what difference does it make?!

Interesting stories - you'll have to check out other entries... I could mention the group of entirely leather (quite fetish) clad gentlemen and Transvestites I passed on the way out of the hotel one evening; there's the madness on the way back after getting off the Mexican flight back to Toronto; there's the talented spray-paint or glass artists demonstrating and selling their wares around the shop/bar part of the hotel, the time I got hit on in the club, mention of some lovely Mexican ladies I unfortunately never got any further than flirty conversation with,....

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