Eh?, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty

The best barbecue pork in North America, eh?

A lot of people would take their word for it. Not me.

It wasn’t like it was totally an impulse that led us to eat Chinese food while we were in Toronto.

We were tired. We were hungry. And Chinese food sounded great, especially since we were in Toronto’s Chinatown. We had been planning it for a while, actually, so when I saw the sign, it became obvious that our quest for food was over.

The daylight was fading, but the challenge beckoned. “Best B.B.Q Pork in North America,” it said.

Well that’s interesting, I thought. Here I am from a county in Eastern North Carolina where people can’t decide which of our legendary barbecue joints is the best, across the county line from the barbecue my family and friends have always thought was the best and less than three hours away from a city that (falsely) calls itself the Barbecue Capital of North Carolina — but these nice Chinese restaurateurs have canvassed not only Wayne County, not just North Carolina, but the entire effing continent and have decided they have the best in North America.

Great, I thought, this saves me from having to continue trying barbecue everywhere I go in the United States.

So I dragged Jessica in the cramped store and we ordered and left to eat on a park bench. I rushed inside a gas station for a Coke because what’s barbecue without Coke, but it seems that it didn’t matter.

Yes, it was pork, but — well, actually I guess that’s the thing I’m least sure about — anyway, at least it tasted OK. And there was plenty of rice beneath it and no Chinese restaurant can screw up rice.

By the time we labored through our meal, it was dark and we both decided that the 14-hour drive followed by only four hours of sleep had caught up with us, especially since we stayed up drinking and had been walking seemingly the entire day. And drinking more, but that’s just understood.

If we were going to make a go of it that night, we were going to need to take a nap, we decided, so we returned to the hostel.

Our room in the hostel was essentially a dorm room with two double bunk beds. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to visit Toronto and will definitely be staying there again if I ever find my way back there. A good traveler spends most of the stay exploring the city, so all that’s really needed is a bed and then strangers sharing the room doesn’t seem like a big deal.

Except for this guy who moved in mid-morning.

He replaced a nice European girl who was finishing up her Trans-Canadian trip on a separate bunk. He was nice enough, but he didn’t care for using the lounge downstairs — he had spread his stuff across the tiny room and was surfing the internet when we showed up.

It was a bit annoying because the light was on, but the real issue with our roommate was the smell. This was BBO. The towel I used to shower that day had acclimated to his smell to the point that I felt like my shower had served only to turn me into one of his body odor-carrying disciples.

I took one look (and whiff) of the room and decided I couldn’t handle it. Jessica climbed into her top bunk and I went downstairs to have another beer.

The Chinese “barbecue” was not settling well. Jessica’s food wasn’t either, so I didn’t anticipate seeing her for a few hours. While it wasn’t the best choice I could have made for dinner, however, you can’t argue with results… Continue reading

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Eh?, It's in the vault, Journalism, Me Myself and Ty

Trouble at the border, Eh?

It was a 14-hour drive to the border.

The beer I drank in another country. It was an Amsterdam. There were many more.

We had planned to go to Canada for months, although you wouldn’t believe it if you asked us why we were going.

“I want to drink a beer in another country,” I told everyone. And truthfully, that was the extent of the longing to head north.

That’s also what made it so difficult when the border agent asked what we were planning to do in Canada. Continue reading

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Eh?, It's in the vault, Me Myself and Ty, Sports

I’m not good at pool, Eh?

We had just been herded inside from the patio and out of the crisp Toronto air. We crowded into the bar and lounge area, all of us forced to carry our conversations, spoken in half a dozen different languages, inside where a billiard table stood, taking up valuable standing and drinking room.

I was in a frenzy at this point, spinning in two different directions like a planet on two axes. Beers were only $4. They were delicious, but therein lied the problem: too many of them were sitting around unattended. There is a rule about alcohol within my circle of friends – it should never be wasted. I don’t think I’ll ever consider myself to be too old to finish off empties and actually approach the job with a point of pride – I feel like I’m the best at it.

After I had palmed two Canadian pints I hadn’t myself paid for, Kelly asked who was going to play pool with her. Deep down I knew it was me who would play her, as if the dice had already been cast and my number had come up. It was quite evident to me that no one else wanted to play, but she would be insatiable. Sometimes those things are just apparent.

Plus I knew it was time to lose again. Continue reading

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