Toronto, the New York City of CanadaWritten by Clint Leung
Toronto, my city of birth, is largest city in Canada with a population of about 3 million (5 million in greater area) and it keeps growing every year as it seems to be first city of choice for immigrants from around world. With over 100 languages spoken here, Toronto is most multicultural city in world according to United Nations. This is actually a good thing since Toronto can be a model for rest of world in regards to showing how it is possible for different people of many different cultures and faiths to get along peacefully. Friends of different racial backgrounds and religions can be found here where they would probably be enemies in other parts of world.
Having lived in Toronto for most of my life so far, I’m always amazed on how city has grown as a tourist destination. Torontonians seem to take world class attractions like CN Tower and Skydome for granted since many see it every day during their commute. Of course, CN Tower is a very worthwhile visit as a ride to top is a must for every visitor.
Toronto has one of best redeveloped harbourfronts anywhere. This area has boutiques at Queen’s Quay, restaurants, cafes and galleries. Nearby Ontario Place and Canadian National Exhibition are annual favorites among locals. This is also where one takes ferries across to Toronto Islands. The islands are all connected via bike paths and offer a unique view of Toronto cityscape as well as a nice break from busy downtown. Located on main island, Centreville is a petting zoo and small amusement park for kids.
The action is downtown and probably where most tourists should stay. Although hotels prices are higher in downtown than suburbs, Toronto traffic is unfortunately not getting any better so it is best to stay where commuting is kept at a minimum. There is a very efficient transit system for those who want to stay outside of downtown area though. A walk along Yonge Street near Eaton Centre mall will reveal wilder parts of Toronto life. For latest trends, Queen Street West is where funky boutiques and bars are. For upscale shopping, go to Bloor Street between Yonge and Avenue Road as well as Yorkville area.
Cambodian Taxi Chaos – a Leaf, a Radiator and a MacGyver MomentWritten by Rick Chapo
The roads in Cambodia are vicious, angry slabs of asphalt filled with potholes that would qualify as valleys in some countries. Fortunately, I had it made traveling from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh. Or so I thought.
Having spent two weeks in relaxing beach town of Sihanoukville, I was getting bored and so were three chaps traveling with me. It was time to head to supposed chaos of Phnom Penh and eventually Angkor Wat. Despite legendary reputation of Cambodian roads, owner of our accommodations told us road to Phnom Penh was smooth as glass. For twenty U.S. dollars, a local taxi would get all four of us to city without incident.
Around noon, two Australians, an Englishman and myself crammed into a Toyota Camry with our backpacks and miscellaneous junk. Our driver was a good guy, smiling constantly. We did have a communication problem since he spoke about two words of English and we only spoke English. The road, however, was as smooth as promised and we congratulated ourselves on our stroke of luck.
For about an hour, we cruised through placid Cambodian countryside. It was difficult to imagine chaos that must have occurred when Khmer Rouge was in power. There really wasn’t much to see beyond occasional village. About half way through trip, lack of any sizeable towns became a concern.
In proverbial middle of nowhere, our driver pulled over to side of road and turned off car. Since we couldn’t verbally communicate, much finger pointing was undertaken. Were we lost? Did he want more money? Was he going on strike? What heck was going on?
Eventually, we foreign idiots were able to decipher that car was overheating. Lest you think us complete idiots, I must mention that temperature gauge wasn’t working. Regardless, our driver popped hood and our smooth trip came to a cracked end. Steam poured from a half-inch crack next to radiator crap.