5 years after last being in Canada, I've returned to Toronto to meet with Plan in Canada to discuss various work-related co-operation possibilities. Despite arriving at 6am, and leaving 2 days later at the same time (when it is dark!), I have had a successful trip, learning a huge amount from my Canadian colleagues.
Possibly it is because I am coming here from China, and not from the UK as last time, but it has been a delight coming here. The traffic is so considerate, the diversity of people so great as well as the diversity of small restaurants, bars and shops that I almost feel like I am back in down-town London. My perspective must have changed a lot: I see old buildings everywhere and think they are beautiful. Cleveland is similar, though with less (i.e. zero) people on the streets since no-one lives down-town and of course, drives everywhere.
Halloween here is massive. 1 of the ladies in Plan Canada is having a party saturday night and has a full-size coffin as well as cut-up parts of mannequins all over her house (plus all the usual cobwebs etc) -I wish I could go. Instead maybe I can find something in Cleveland. None-the-less there are people all over the streets wearing costumes and everyone is talking about it -even about trick-a-treating with their kids. Meanwhile I'm still tasting the delights of great Indian, Italian and Middle Eastern Food (plus canadian pancakes in the morning and sandwiches at lunch!) -something definitely lacking in Xi'an!