Tuesday, 21 March 2017

E2 Toronto - pre-conference

Travelling to the other side of the world isn't the highest thing on my to do list. The planning to get there and then the hours of sitting on a plane or in airports doesn't thrill me. Being in Toronto, however is fantastic. I have only been here for 36 hours but already loving the people and the city.

Travelling

I left Christchurch on a sunny Sunday morning about 11a.m. with another #MIEExpert Keryn, and although we didn't manage to get seats together, we had a good trip to Auckland.  Did the duty free shopping on the way so I had some yummy things to pick up on the way back, then got on the plane to San Francisco. Select the two largest American men on the plane, imagine them in your mind, they were sitting in the outside seats with me in the middle. It was an interesting trip.  A good flight though and then the interesting time through the U.S. immigration.  Had our fingerprints taken and photo as well,  just to pass through for a few hours. Had to collect our bags and fully go through customs which took about 2 hours. The next few hours we rested, downloaded whatsapp which our group will be using for messaging and waited for our connecting flight through to Toronto.  This flight Keryn and I managed to sit together (after being early to our checkin to ask if we could change) and get a little sleep. The weather was good and having a window seat meant I could get some great photos of the American landscape. After a long wait for our bags we got our transport to the hotel and were given a great tour by our driver.  He explained the area we were traveling through and gave us a nice trip in. 

Up to our fancy room where I got changed and checked the whatsapp to find out where the others were. I met some of the other kiwis in the bar where I managed to grab some dinner and a very welcome drink. 28 hours of travel and we finally made it.

Sightseeing

Today we had a day free to do some sightseeing and some shopping. One of our group had organised a couple of hire cars and we went for a trip to the Niagara Falls. What an amazing place.  I think what stunned me was that we drove round a corner and there they were, right by the town. I think I had imagined them to be in the middle of nowhere so it was strange seeing the buildings on both sides of the river. IHOP for lunch.  Very tasty and we'll worth the visit.  Interesting area around the falls with all of the fair style places and gaming arcades. We didn't have time to go to Ripley's Believe It Or Not or Louis Toussaud's waxworks, but it was an experience just walking down the street! We then went shopping in the Niagara outlet stores and I managed to buy a few items of clothing to take home with me.
The driving was entertaining being on the other side of the road and in a left-hand drive vehicle. Rachel did a great job with me navigating and reminding her to move over a little as the big trucks were a bit close on the 3 and 4 lane highways. We did the tourist thing and got some souvenirs from Niagara then went to 

Ice Hockey

Back to Toronto and we met up with the other Kiwis and Aussies who are here for the conference. Had a drink and some nibbles then got ready to go to the Ice Hockey game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. Three of us went together, following the crowds down to the arena and finding our seats in a huge stadium. 20,000 people in an indoor stadium and the atmosphere was amazing. Two guys in front of us kept us informed about the rules, every time the whistle blew they gave us a run down on why and what happened. Very helpful! It's hard to describe the noise and the game, but it was worth the money to go and experience something I probably will never do again.
That's the sightseeing done, now for the conference and the opportunity to talk to some amazing educators form around the world. I am so privileged to be here and I am going to make the most of it!

2 comments:

  1. What an amazing start to what is sure to be an awesome week. Enjoy sue

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  2. A great run down - and I completely agree re the falls. They were just RIGHT THERE.
    Thanks for being such an excellent co-pilot on the drive

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