Exotic food and Canadian eccentricities

Maybe exotic and eccentric are not words you can use when posting something in English on the Internet as somewhere a reader is bound to be familiar with whatever you describe. Well, humour me.

Let’s start with some food you can see on the supermarket shelves. On the left of the picture you can see polskie ogórki, that is, Polish pickles. This is not a fake caused by my Polish obsession; it’s a real picture. You can see French written on the jar because Canada includes all the languages in the country on their products, unlike, say, Spain [Yes, it’s personal; but it’s also true and against consumer rights]. Back to the picture, we can see pandeleche, which is a condensed version of the Spanish pan de leche, literally ‘milk bread’. There are also Maria biscuits, which are British, despite having written galleta Maria (also Spanish) on them.

The adjective exotic might be hyperbolic, but these come from far away for them

When you’re not in a rush, you take silly pictures

Food aside, on my way to work I saw more things than what I showed in my last post. Two of them deserve the spotlight. The stairs in the underground (which they forced me to call subway) were deadly to me. I firmly believe they are inverted —no hate speech here. I had always seen the tiles in the inner part and the anti-slip rough band at the edge of the steps. Not in Toronto. It took me a couple of weeks to master walking down the stairs safely.

On the other side, the smallest building is a skyscraper. See me taking the lift (which they forced me to call elevator) to go up to my flat (which they forced me to call apartment) on the 24th floor. The height of the buildings was not the issue (nor was being forced to use American words). What bothers me is that the last column has multiples of 4 (28, 24, 20, 16) and three prime numbers (11, 7, 3) without changing the number of buttons per line. Witchcraft? Close enough: superstition. For in Canada it’s highly unlikely to find a 13th floor. I bet your face right now resembles a Canadian socket:

Canadian sockets. Are they surprised or scared?

From the highest tower in Toronto

You might have noticed my absence for a few months. Or not. I was in Toronto performing a scientific study, which is hardly news. And you might be wondering… was it cold? You couldn’t care less about my research.

I asked myself the same question every morning. Luckily, the building in front of my apartment showed the temperature on a humongous light sign straight into my living room. So, before going out, I could decide whether to put on my extreme weather clothes or just a T-shirt with a thin jacket —when it was over 10 °C.

When I landed in Toronto on the 30th of January it wasn’t raining and snow was nowhere to be seen. But the following day everything went white. I started taking pictures, which is quite unusual. I decided to document the changes in the landscape during my three months there. See some of the results below.

My morning walk from February to April

The four first images alternated quite randomly for two months and only by the end of April could I take the last picture.

It was one kilometre from the bus to the laboratory. It never felt like a long walk, except for the day of the freezing rain. Freezing rain is rain that freezes when it touches any surface. Hence the whole floor of Toronto acquired a thin ice layer that was as beautiful as dangerous. See the blades of grass with an ice coating. Trees and urban furniture looked the same.

Subtle note on climate terminology

I guess you feel more like searching for pictures of freezing rain on Google now than reading my ramblings. So here is the link to make your task easier and next time I might explain the title of the post.