Friday, June 21, 2019

The Trip To EVE North

Once again, I turn The Nosy Gamer into a travel blog as I attend the EVE North convention in Toronto, Canada. Who would have thought that playing a video game would get me out of the house and jetting around the world?

This year, I started off with a couple of handicaps. I've been ill and need surgery on my sinuses, which is scheduled for July. In the meantime, I have to do a couple of things in preparation, which led to carting around some prescription drugs. I discovered that is really no big deal, at least where the TSA is concerned. I also took a pretty bad fall a week ago and my bruised and scraped up my knee. No serious damage, but my knees are creaky anyway and the fall didn't improve things.

Yesterday started with finishing the packing I should have done Wednesday, but was too busy yakking on Talking in Stations about the CSM election. I was picked up from home around 11 am and whisked off to the airport. It was my first flight on American Eagle and I was impressed with the concourse for the minor operators. The bar was practically 20 steps away, but due to the medications I was taking, I couldn't order a cold one. Thankfully, I finished that prescription this morning, so I'll be able to drink starting tonight.

The flight was uneventful once we took off. Boarding, of course, was an adventure, as the flight attendants had to do the dance of finding enough room for everyone's bags. Due to the problems I have with my knees, I chose a seat in row 1. Lots of leg room, which meant I could stretch out my bad leg. Also, checked bags for business class are free, while the rest of the plane gets charged $25. Considering the difference in price each way was $50, a little cost that was totally worth it.

When we landed in Toronto, the skies had let loose with a credible impression of Niagara Falls. Did I mention I forgot to pack an umbrella? First world problems a resourceful blogger can overcome! But first, I needed to get to my hotel.

The process for transportation was standard. Find the end of the queue at the taxi stand and wait. While waiting, I met up with an expat from the UK who had flown in from Philadelphia. The poor guy was stuck in Philly for a day due to weather, and he had theater tickets. Turns out his apartment was right on the way to my hotel, so we shared the cab. I know Americans might find this hard to believe, but US currency isn't taken in Canada. So he gave me $40 of the useless (to him) paper, which saved him the trouble of exchanging the bills to real money. The ride, including the tip I gave, came out to $85 CAD. Basically, I spent $25 USD for the trip, as my credit card doesn't charge me for foreign transaction fees.

I'm staying at the One King West Hotel & Residence instead of the Marriott Delta Hotel where the event is taking place. I chose the One King West due to its location within the city, as I plan to catch a few of the sites around Toronto. Good thing I did, because while my flight arrived on-time, the storm created quite a traffic jam. By the time I checked into the hotel, most of the stores had already closed. Apparently, a lot of Toronto shuts down at 7 pm, and I really needed to pick up some distilled water (don't ask).

I received an upgrade
First, though, my room. The lady at the reception desk gave me an upgrade with a better view and better amenities. When I walked in the room, all I thought was, "Wow!". I have a kitchenette, complete with a microwave oven, dishwasher, and washer/dryer unit. The microwave comes in handy for warming up the water. I'm just not sure what I am going to do with two televisions, as I don't watch TV, even at home.

My work area
But no matter how nice the room, my life was going to become a little more miserable if I didn't acquire some distilled water. Fortunately, a quick Google search located a 24-hour grocery store an easy 5 minute walk away from the hotel. A real, honest-to-goodness, huge grocery store. So I went down to the concierge desk to borrow an umbrella, and off I went.

I bought a 4-liter bottle of distilled water plus the Canadian equivalent of Hot Pockets (because I have a microwave) and settled in for the night. The store had a sign stating "We sell beer", so I guess package liquor stores are a thing in Ontario, but as I couldn't drink last night, I passed on the opportunity.

The next step after hitting the publish button is to head over to the Delta and register for the event. I've already did a little walking around, including going a block past the Starbucks to go to a Tim Horton's. After a decent breakfast, I'm ready to do a little exploring.

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