Twenty-four hours of freedom.
Twenty-four hours of escaping the daily routine.
Twenty-four hours without Mark.
I’ll take it.
Don’t blame me: I love Mark but after almost eight months of repeating the same routine over and over again (and another nine months of pregnancy), I’m slowly working regaining a little bit of freedom. The longest stretch of time I have been alone in the past eight months was about two hours. Now you can imagine how much I was looking forward to spending some time with Feng without having to think about feeding, diaper changing, burping, napping, etc.
Early in the afternoon, Feng and I made our way to YOW, the Ottawa Airport, to catch The Rolling Stones concert in Toronto, later in the day. Killing time before the flight, we realized we had never properly “visited” YOW—most of the flights we took from there were very early in the morning, and we were too sleepy to check out the place.
Ottawa Airport is small but pretty new, and the various flight-related processes, such as check-in and security check, were fast and efficient. We had packed everything we would need for the day-long trip in a carry-on to speed up the process when landing in Toronto. It was a bit of a headache though, because so many common things (shampoo, nail clippers, etc.) are on the prohibited items list. I had managed to find enough samples of cream, soap etc. to last for a day and had packed the best I could. Security didn’t seem to mind about me carrying matches and lighters, so I guess the rules are a bit more lax now.
We landed in Toronto an hour later, under the rain. It felt like April weather: grey, windy, damp and chilly. Good thing the concert was indoors at the Air Canada Centre!
Flying to Toronto always reminds me of my first time ever in North Amarica and in Canada, in February 2002. We were coming from Rio de Janeiro and the difference of weather had been brutal. The smell, the cold, the people… everything was new and interesting to me. Little did I know at the time I would eventually become a Canadian citizen, seven years later!
From YOW, we took the bus to Kipling, and then the subway. We checked in in a hotel downtown and took the subway again to our favourite restaurant in Toronto, The Olde Spaghetti Factory, on the Esplanade. Eating a nice meal without having to keep Mark busy was wonderful—I miss eating calmly, without drama, without fuss.
From there, we decided to explore Toronto’s underground world, aka PATH, the city’s underground walkway linking 28 kilometres of retail space. From one shopping complex to another, from one food court to another, we walked besides the never-ending crowd of commuters going back to their office tower or heading home.
We eventually arrived at the Eaton Centre where we rested at my favourite bookstore, Chapters/Indigo.
The concert was a blast but left us hungry. After the show, we walked on Yonge Street looking for something to eat but options were thin on the ground. We ended up getting a pizza and eating it in the hotel room, still sweaty and dirty from spending three hours in the mosh pit.
I admit it—I didn’t feel like going home the following day. Traveling had felt good, had made me feel alive again. Just for a day… a day of freedom.
You can see the complete set of pictures of Toronto here.