What I “Learned” While Traveling This Week

I’ve spent the last few days traveling because of an academic conference in Toronto, Canada.  It was my first time presenting at a big national/international conference, and I felt that it went well.  My presentation and the other panelists’ presentations sparked a lot of interesting conversation and critical discourse.  I’m glad it is over, but I had a good time attending the conference.  It also gave me an excuse to visit some of the places surrounding Toronto.  Here’s what I “learned” this week.

Ten Things I Learned at Niagara Falls

Don’t curl your hair (or bother wearing makeup) before going.

You will walk until your feet want to fall off.

Walking across the bridge into Canada is free; walking back will cost you fifty cents.

Border patrol officers are grumpy.

If you wear a BYU shirt, everybody who knows what that means will comment on it and point it out to you.

If you pass a slow old lady on the wide walkways, she will chide you and say, “Patience is a virtue,” as if you were walking past her as a personal insult.

Strangers are nice and usually willing to take pictures of you.

Walking around near the bottom of the falls will soak you better than a shower.

The Red Coach Inn has delicious food.

Your phone will send you a message about roaming charges in Canada even when you are still standing on the USA side.

Ten Things I Learned in Upstate New York

There is a McDonald’s in every city. (This probably goes for the entire world, and this proved to be a very good thing.)

Buffalo has beautiful old mansions on tree-lined streets.

The Left Bank restaurant has delicious food (especially the fondue) and gigantic portion sizes.

GPS will get you anywhere you need to go.

It costs money to drive on some of the roads.

Going to church there is pretty much the same as it is in my neighborhood.  (Sunday School still has the capacity to bring out the worst in people.)

It is rural, green, humid, and beautiful.

Susan B. Anthony’s home in Rochester is not open for tours on Mondays.  (Boo!)

Tiny bumps on the landscape are called “hills.”  (I’m used to the Rocky Mountains.)

It is too humid to curl one’s hair and expect it to stay curled.

Ten Things I Learned in Toronto

If you pay in American dollars, you’ll get Canadian currency in change. (Duh!)

Oysters on the half shell are to-die-for delicious.

The Pantages Hotel’s rooms are like small apartments.

If you miss your exit to turn south on the QEW out of Toronto at 4:45 a.m., you will end up in western Ontario and almost miss your flight out of Buffalo, New York.

The CN Tower has a 360 restaurant that moves while you eat, meaning you get a 360̊ view of the city by the time you are done with your meal.

Lake Ontario is huge.

There is no parking.

The Richmond Station restaurant is my new favorite, but I’ll probably never get to eat there again.

It is okay to use the “f-word” at an academic conference when critiquing another’s presentation.

GPS doesn’t work in Canada.  (At least mine doesn’t!)

What have you learned while traveling?