Saturday, 15 February 2014


“Yes, zis is Arilex Apartments.  Where are you now?”

With the heavy French accent, I find it initially hard to understand the janitor.  I'm standing outside the arrivals hall at Toronto Pearson International Airport, using the free wifi to skype the janitor who promised to await me at the apartment.  After a few sentences I understand what he's saying.  I've just been through customs and immigration.  Almost no queues.  Almost no questions, not even about ophtamology (the first time I entered the USA, the very first question was: “Are you an ophtamologist?”).  Customs took less than 5 minutes.  Another non-existant queue for immigration.  They look at the letter, enter something in the computer, stamp my passport, print something, and give me my work permit.  Welcome to Canada.

At the taxi stand, a woman in a retroreflective coat calls one of the taxis in the back to come forward.  Only that one can fit my four suitcases + bicycle.  We put in the suitcases first and the bicycle box — somewhat damaged by the trip — on top of everything.  It looks very unsafe.  The driver doesn't seem to care.  The taxi is unmetered.  “It's a flat rate from the airport, plus a fee for oversized baggage.”.  He changes 89 CA$, I pay 100 CA$.  I wonder if all is legit.

The janitor is amazed by the bicycle.  “You brought a bicycle?  From Europe?  Why?  Are you really going to ride a bicycle?”.

I have all the normal stuff in the apartment.  The internet is wireless only.  Washing machine and drier are coin-based in a shared room.  I overhear a conversation from older people in the stairway.  “I have my kitchen full of dishes.  I only use plastic plates that I can throw away after use, but I still have the pans.”  “The system is broken.”  “Yes, it is.”

I sleep quickly at 21:30 only to wake up at 5:00.  The local supermarket, Sobey's, is open 24 hours per day.  Prices seem similar to Sweden.

All is good.  One transport damage so far: the power cable for my external hard disk.  I'll need to buy a new one.

Today I shall explore Toronto.  By bicycle.  How else?

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