My trip to Canada was amazing, long, stressful, fun, exciting . . . and I came home sick. Which is probably why I haven't written anything yet. I'm not even sure what to post or how to divide it all up. There was just SO much.
Canadians are super friendly and I had no idea that was a stereotype that they lived up to.
The PanAm Games were crazy! I'm really not sure if I'd do another honestly. The equestrian stuff was an hour outside of Toronto where the main Games were held. However, I heard there was venue 5 hours away, so we weren't the furthest removed. We stayed in the basement of someone's house and that was very convenient as it was close to the main equestrian venue. But what I didn't expect was the lackadaisical, nonchalant feeling at the venue. First of all equestrian events were SOLD OUT. Yet the stands were rarely over half full for the dressage competition. For cross country. . . they sold out as well . . . all whopping 5,000 tickets! Cross country day at Rolex KY boasts a whopping 30K++++ So this felt super duper tiny. It was also a 2* (though they say a "hard" 2*) as opposed to the 4* of Rolex. I'm so "used" to the environment at Rolex where the press people recognize each other that I wasn't prepared for the notification of camera equipment getting stolen at various press venues (not the equestrian venue that I know of). So while the competition felt much more relaxed and not as important as it should have (due to lack of spectators) the media area felt more tense. Taking your heavy camera equipment to the porta-potty with you because there isn't anyone in the media center you know to watch it is not fun.
Traveling with many people can get. . . complicated. On the first day off from equestrian competition, we all ended up in downtown Toronto at the main media area for the WHOLE day which was not planned. I was not happy about it and all in all it's a day I'd like to forget. I had no way to leave so I made the best of it.
In the "Panamania" area downtown there was an open courtyard area of food, a stage, some sponsors. . . it wasn't nearly as exciting as I expected and there wasn't much to do. But here I am with Pachi - the mascot of the Games. The number of quills (41) represent the # of countries competing at the Games.
It was in this Panamania area that I had my first Canadian beer.
I photographed gymnastics that day and will likely share some photos in another post. It was super fun and challenging. But again the whole day was way longer than I expected and I was unprepared for that. I'd have packed for the day differently. Ending the day eating dinner @ McDonald's at 10 pm is not exactly the "Canadian" experience I wanted to have. But moving on!
I did get to try Poutine - fries, gravy and cheese curds.
It's ok. Not sure I like the flavor of the gravy.
I did get to try Ketchup chips! :)
They were shocking at first. I actually said "just drink the ketchup from the bottle". But they grew on me. I don't know why they aren't sold here. . .
I also got a red velvet oreo McFlurry from McD's. Though it was not during that horrible day mentioned above. It was yummy!
On cross country day, my husband was with me. . . our lunch was corn in a cup. We chose the Canadian flavor option. It had maple syrup, dijon mustard and maple butter. I cannot describe it. It was actually *really* good.
I'll leave you with that for now. I will make another post with some competition photos and another regarding our trip to Niagara Falls! :)