Despite expectations, I did actually fall asleep and was awoken by a knock on the door. It was Denis, the owner responding to my frantic email from last night. He was incredibly apologetic saying that he’s never seen or heard of any other reports of mice and offered a full refund and help to find a new place in preference to me feeling uncomfortable here. In the light of day, I reasoned that this trip is about being brave and facing fears and weighed up against this act of generosity and good will, I’ll suck it up and not waste precious time. I should add that the place is spotlessly clean if not nicely decorated.
Denis returned half an hour later with a $50 voucher to his favourite steak house to apologise. I didn’t mention the vegetarianism figuring Dawn and Sue could use it.
Time to get oot and aboot. I headed east on West Queen West again but this time kept going until the ratio of dingy little shops and too bright eateries tipped in favour of funky little boutiques and cool cafes. My first stop was a cafe with its own roaster. Here I wrapped my laughing gear around something I hadn’t had since leaving Sydney – a really good cup of coffee. A flat white no less – once the exclusive domain of coffee snobs in the antipodes, its now made its way here to similarly face the people of Toronto with that age old question: “but what’s the difference between this and a latte?” (Before the Sydneysiders bombard me with the answer, I know, less milk but in a standard take away cup you have to admit – same thing, right?!).
A little further up the street, I saw another familiar site – a roller derby girl putting up a poster for a bout this coming Saturday. I thought it would be fun to get a photo for my roller derby gang back home so asked if she minded. Of course she didn’t and we struck up a conversation about the comparative leagues here and at home. I learned a lot and suspect she learned very little given I’m a mere spectator. Her roller name: Punkii Bruizer!
I kept on past an eclectic mix of people and places as West Queen West became just Queen West, enjoying the laid back feel of the area. Then I saw a place I just couldn’t pass by – Swan Diner – an art-deco diner with wood paneling and chrome fixtures. I wasn’t hungry but I had to go in. I ordered a grilled cheese sandwich to keep up appearances never expecting it to be the most spectacular 3 cheese with watercress and pear grilled sandwich with a pickle on the side I have ever had! It will live in infamy!
Eventually, Queen West became just Queen St and it was evident that I’d left the enclave and entered the city centre. I strolled down to the Waterfront and back up into the downtown core via the CN Tower with a promise to go up another day.
It was still early when I was wandered-out but I wasn’t keen on going back to hang out with my rodent roommates so I found a cinema and bought a ticket for Thor in 3D – it was only $10.50 with the 3D glasses! At home, it’s more than twice that price. The movie itself was a pleasant distraction and if nothing else, reminded me of a dirty joke my mum once told me about Ita Buttrose.
It was dark when I came out and I could see the CN Tower lit up as I waited for the streetcar to take me to my front door. I haven’t seen any more mice tonight but I’m tired from the stakeout.