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24 October 2010

TRAVEL TALES : High school reunion in Toronto

GEORGE DEL Rosario and Lois Kimwell-Mijares organized a last-minute dinner gathering of high school batch mates in Toronto, and when I asked for it to be postponed due to tangled schedules, Lois didn’t seem to be too sure about reorganizing it. On hindsight, I don’t blame her: it’s not easy for those living outside central Toronto to travel downtown. While public transportation is accessible, it gets confusing if you’re not familiar with the city streets and the subway stops. If you do have a car, there are car-parking issues and confusing one-way street directions. Most of all, it’s always a challenge to organize last-minute gatherings of friends living all over a big city.

Up and down Toronto

FIRST, THERE'S that lake next to Toronto. Viewed from the 23rd floor of the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel where I checked in during my last week in Toronto, Lake Ontario looks like a sea, not a lake. It’s vast. It’s dotted with yachts and ferryboats. It’s blue. Lakes are supposed to be green, but this one’s blue. I’m told it’s not even the largest of Toronto’s bodies of water. Lakes in the Philippines suddenly look like ponds.

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.

18 October 2010

Jet Airways bounces

JET AIRWAYS, India’s second largest airline, has always been consistent with its excellent quality of service in both domestic and international sectors. This is why I had to praise then scold the airline teams last week, when I flew from New Delhi to Toronto.

SIGHTED SITE : IGIA Terminal 3, New Delhi

TERMINAL 3 of Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) comes across as “world-class”: soaring industrial look, superb check-in procedures, convenient directional signs (for an airport this big). And then the expansive pre-departure area opens up, revealing an endless spread of carpeting. I shiver. In horror.