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24 October 2010

Well hello, Toronto!

I FINALLY landed on North America, by way of Toronto. Arriving on a sunny Friday afternoon, I immediately saw the familiar pleasantness and graciousness that endeared me to the Canadians whom I worked with in Israel many years ago. Even their sense of autumn fashion was mannered: with navys, grays, and blacks around me, I stood out like a sore thumb with my red sneakers and denim jacket.

Canada looks a lot like the United States that’s portrayed in Hollywood movies. The suburban commercial buildings are flat and wide, the bay-and-gable houses are charming and postcard-pretty, and the roads are tree-lined with the most closely controlled traffic I’ve seen. Motorists here seem to be more disciplined than their European counterparts. When my brother, an immigrant Canadian, told me that he unlearned years of driving habits in Toronto, I wondered at the enormity of habits that changed from those thousands of Asian and European immigrants.

I wasn’t prepared for how EXPENSIVE it is, though. My brother advised me to stop thinking in terms of rupees and pesos, and he was right. Staying frugal became the greatest challenge to my two-week sojourn in Toronto.

Thrill (and the autumn chill) would await me in this city.

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