A while ago Adam and I went to Toronto to visit a friend of mine, Erin (people who know how to work their Internet would make her name glowy and then you could click on it and be magically transported to her blog to read about her adventures as she lives my dream life, but seeing as how I barely know how to turn my computer on, all I can do is this: http://madhatter848.blogspot.com/ So, there ya go) who was passing through as she works her way around the world. We went to the hostel (yeah, hostel not hotel, she's that bad ass) where she was staying. It's called the Canadiana and holy shit is it ever Canadian up in here, y'all. You can tell by the stuffed animal heads on the walls and giant wooden Canadian figures and free pancakes for breakfast with real imitation maple syrup..erm, yeah. This is where they got all that shit for the Olympics closing ceremonies. Anyway, the guy at the desk presented me with an envelope marked "Top Secret" which contained the directions we were to follow in order to find Erin and the Band Camp reunion she had organized. (Band rules, tell your friends!)
Erin, like anyone who knows me at all, knew that these directions would have to be painfully detailed and clear, since I am quite capable of getting lost in my own kitchen. When I visited her in BC this past summer she had to write out step by step instructions to get me through bus/skytrain/ferry transfers that would otherwise have left me sobbing on the sidewalk or bound unwittingly for Yellowknife. Even with those instructions I failed to get off a bus at the right place and missed my ferry, then on the return trip I gave up after only the second of eight or nine steps and instead made friends with a nice young man on the ferry who took me on a bus right inside the boat that then took me all the way to the train station, where we parted ways... and I proceeded to get on a train going in the wrong direction. Yes, I'm that dumb. The point is; I require really good directions. Erin certainly delivered. I am going to share those directions with you now, just in case you ever need to get from the Canadiana Backpackers to the Hard Rock Cafe in Toronto.
Step 1: Put your party pants on.
Step 2: Remember your room key. Trust me.
Step 3: Exit hostel. You are now standing on a wee step in front of the hostel, facing the street. Get the fuck out of the way, you're blocking the doorway! You're not the only guests here for chrissake...
Step 4: Walk down the steps. At the bottom, you'll be standing on the sidewalk of Widmer street. Turn to your left and begin walking. Widmer dead-ends very quickly, with an Extreme Fitness on the right-hand corner and a parking lot ahead. The street you have dead-ended at is Richmond Street.
Step 5: Turn right. You will need to keep walking, passing Extreme Fitness, a cinema and Chapters on your right. Chapters is on the corner of Richmond & John Street.
Step 6: Look up to your right. Oooooh! CN tower! Like a freak accident between a Tim Hortons doughnut and a Juno award. The World's Ugliest free-standing structure!!
Step 7: Turn left and cross Richmond Street. Walk away from the CN tower! Flee the tower! Run, run away! You will now be walking North on John Street. Do this for ONE BLOCK ONLY. You will see a pub on your left called the Friar & Firkin. Ignore this pub. You do not want to stop for a drink. Resist the urge. You've barely begun your quest!
Step 8: After ONE BLOCK on John st. you will find yourself on the corner of Queen st. & John st. Looking to your right, you will see Much Music's famous studio. To your left will be a Second Cup and across the street is a Starbucks. Resist the urge for overpriced refreshment and walk to your right, past Much Music. You are now on Queen street.
Step 9: Pass the Condom Shack. Giggle. (*note: after exiting the shop, be sure to go RIGHT to keep yourself headed in the right direction).
Step 10: Walk, walk, walk, walk. You will pass Duncan st, Simcoe st, University Ave, The Sheraton Centre, Nathan Phillips Square, Bay street, James street and the Hudson Bay building. You will then find yourself at the corner of Queen & Yonge st. This is NOT your final destination. Do not sit on the curb and cry. You're almost there! Cross Yonge street.
Step 11: Turn left and walk North on Yonge street, AWAY from the monstrous tower. The Eaton Centre Mall will be on your left. You will be on the right side of the street.
Step 12: Walk, walk, walk. The Hard Rock Cafe is on the right-hand side of Yonge street, corner of Yonge and Dundas.
Step 13: Enter the Hard Rock Cafe. Ask hostess for the 'reunion table' if you are unable to spot me dancing on a table already.
Step 14: Get your party pants hitched up and join the fun!
Step 15: Get Erin very drunk!
Step 16: Read these instructions backwards to find the hostel again. Unless they've moved in the hours since you left. Then you're fucked.
Follow the pencil mark route, for optimal sight-seeing pleasure.
Then there was a hand drawn map, complete with route marker and Points of Interest.
I think Erin needs to work for GPS. I would never get lost again. The best part is that the directions would be delivered in the truly fucked up Scottish/Australian/Canadian West Coast accent she has cultivated over the course of her travels. Entertainment AND accuracy? Done.
I didn't get lost! Whoo! We found the place and a good time was had by all...all five people, including us and Erin, who showed up that is. But no matter, we ate, drank, and made merry all evening and walked back arm in arm singing horrendously offensive camp songs (and this was a military camp so the songs were truly filthy) Then sat around at the hostel drinking with interesting young people from around the world for a while, until Erin got sick (she claims it was food poisoning, not booze and I'm inclined to believe her) and Adam and I retired to our private room, because having sex on bunk-beds is embarrassing enough without six other people sharing your room.
P.S. all this happened over a month ago. I'm just writing about it now because I only just found those directions in my coat pocket last night and I was pleased to find I hadn't lost them.