Sunday, June 12, 2005

My Urban Adventure

With my weekend clothes in my backpack and two maps at hand, I took a deep breath and said to myself, I can do this...

It was 3:00pm when I left my hotel room. It was hot. It was 31C. I walked two blocks to Matheson Boulevard for my first bus ride in North America. (Ye, I've been here for almost 14 weeks altogether and have always been pampered with the company car.) I did my assignment the day before by calling up the bus company and ask for the bus schedule within my area. I opened my notebook and I read bus#7 3:19pm. I was 10 minutes early. I was toasting in the heat of the sun when the bus arrived. I was thrilled! I wanted to take a picture of the bus entrance but I was too embarrassed to do that for now... Maybe later, I said to myself.

I took out my huge map and spread it like I had no seatmates. I'd rather look stupid than get lost, you know! (Despite the fact that I enjoy getting lost--but not this time, my relatives in East York are expecting me, in time for supper.) I realized how vast the airport was. It took a long time traversing the Airport Road alone. What I enjoyed most though, was seeing the Indian, Pakistanian, Iranian, Chinese stores and restaurants that lined up that road. International, ei?!

After 45 mins in my first bus, everyone took off at the Westwood Mall which is just more than 10kms north from my starting point. I took another bus from Mississauga Transit's bus depot (behind Food Basics). As per Customer Service's instruction, I should take bus#40 which departs at 4:00pm. I laughed out loud alone when the thought came to me that I had no watch nor cellphone. I peeped through my backpack to check the time... I was too embarrassed to have anyone see me check the time with my bulky desk alarm clock... Haha... I was soo desperate for a watch I just took it with me! With necessity comes ingenuity. Har har!

To this point I can attest that Canadians are one of the friendliest people I have ever met (aside from Filipinos, ofcourse). One lady, who was sitting beside me, asked if I need any help going to where I'm heading to. We chatted for a while and I felt better. She took off on the next bus stop. Then I realized I lost my purse. KIDDING! I am commuting in Toronto, not in Tondo or Quiapo.

After about 30mins, I found myself at the Islington Subway Station. Finally!!! My first bus took me north, while this second bus took me south. Funny, there should have been a shorter/faster way to get to the Islington station. I just convinced myself that the lady at Customer Service wasn't playing a joke on me. It was a Saturday. Bus routes change on the weekends and commuters don't have much choice.

I dropped a tooney and two quarters at the subway entrance. I patted myself at the back. I'm halfway through my urban adventure.

Riding the subway was a breeze. TTCwas easy to follow. There's just one long line from West to East of Toronto then right smack in the middle is a U-shaped train route going Downtown and North. (Way simpler than the NYC subways I heard of... like spaghetti.) At the TTC Subway, signs were all over. I am confident I will find my out. I particularly enjoyed our passage from CastleFrank to Broadview because we were over the Don Valley Parkway. There was sunlight. Then it gets dark again. After 2 more stops, I took off at Pape Station. Took bus#81 and sat beside a Chinese-looking woman who seems to be schizophrenic. She just laughed and talked boisterously, but she did no harm. I felt calm.

Then I made my first mistake; I took off one bus stop too early. I walked for more than a kilometer and missed the building I was supposed to take. I snapped pictures along the way then walked back. My aunt was teary-eyed to see my in one piece. She said she was so worried about me. I was sweating and quite exhausted myself. I found comfort in her arms and chugged a tall glass of cold water. Thank God I made it.

In summary, I took two buses, one subway, and another bus to travel from Mississauga to East York on a Saturday. It took 3 hours all in all.

This afternoon, my commute back to Mississauga was less of a hassle. A distant relative I met last night advised me to take Westbound and take off St. George. I took another train going North and took off at Eglington West. I waited for about 10mins to take bus#32B, which had a female driver. Quite new to me. That bus was jampacked! I felt like I was commuting in Manila! There was no aircon and people around me were sweating... just like me. The bus route ended at Renforth so I had no choice but walk from there to Orbitor. It was a good 2km walk and I simply took advantage of the scenery. I took a few pictures I hope you'll enjoy...
Flowers by Eglington
That's our office, the rightmost building
Picnic table and the many trees that line Eglington

1 comment:

Mathew Hanger said...

what an experience diba? you'll get used to it pag lagi mong gagawin. Unlike sa pinas na kahit anong oras/minuto meron bus... dyan at dito by schedule... mas systematic pero limited... and the fun part of commuting is talking to strangers or simply looking at them... =)