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?

68 thoughts on “What I “Learned” While Traveling This Week

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    1. I need to learn to not care so much, but humidity definitely isn’t my friend! I have naturally straight and fine hair, but I always try to make it look like I have more with curling and teasing and lots of hairspray.

  1. Sp glad you enjoyed your time near the Great Lakes (where I’m from). Yes, those are hills to us, and I miss how green and lush and humid summers there are. Upstate NY has a lot of history to share. Too bad the Anthony house was closed. Have to laugh at the first impression of those who have never seen the Great Lakes before. Yes, we have lapping waves and no, you can’t see the other side. It was my ‘ocean’ as a girl – and no blicky salt water in your mouth when you went swimming!

    1. No salt in the water is certainly an advantage! Yes, the hills really made me laugh. Somebody pointed out to me that I was standing on a hill, and I was like, “Huh? This isn’t a hill!” But it was gorgeous and I loved it! What a great place to have grown up.

  2. Wow, it sounds like you had a great time! I enjoyed seeing the photos. I’d love to visit Canada. It’s on my bucket list of places to see. Who knows, maybe I will end up working there.

    Thanks for following my blog, by the way. I always enjoy reading yours. 🙂

      1. Well, it would be sometime in the future. I am an undergrad student in the UK at the moment. But my goal is to become a university lecturer of linguistics and I would like to end up living and working either in Canada or the US.

    1. Well, I didn’t get to see much in Toronto, because I spent most of my time at the conference, but I hear that the zoo is fantastic, if you like zoos. I also wanted to visit the Casa Loma but didn’t have time. Have fun!

  3. So glad to hear that you got to work in some great, fun stuff while on your conference trip! I’ve never been to Canada myself but it looks like so much fun. Especially Niagara Falls. I can’t even imagine a waterfall that big. But it’s on my list for sure.

  4. Loving your post – great captures and great adventures – thanks so much for sharing:) I always make sure to pack good, comfy shoes because walking is a given in big cities! Happy Weekend

    1. I’ve learned my lesson a few times about comfy shoes now! I actually was wearing them, but apparently if you are out of shape, walking all day can be strenuous. 🙂 I need to exercise more for sure!

  5. These are so great! I grew up in Alberta and have been to Niagra Falls when we lived in PA back in the 80’s. We have lived from Alaska to Florida, six states in all. I must remember some of the funny things and write them down as you did! Loved it 🙂

  6. Very cool – you were right in my neck of the woods. I’m in Dundas, about an hour west of Toronto along the lake. If you’re ever passing this way again, let me know, and I can take you on a little tour.

    And yes, it’s very humid here. My brother-in-law lives in BC, and whenever we go to visit, I always feel like I need to drink a million bottles of water to avoid totally drying out.

    1. If we had had more time and I had known, we would’ve taken you up on that! And we very likely drove near you when we got lost at 5 am on our way back to Buffalo. I don’t think we made it all the way to Dundas, but I remember seeing signs for Guelph.

  7. Good tips. I’m from Georgia, and I visited Vancouver for a conference and learned a few things as well.
    1. Vancouver is like the Texas of Canada – everything there is bigger, especially the squirrels. (No joke – cat-sized.)
    2. They have clothing optional beaches with no signs.
    3. Only (older) men take advantage of the clothing optional aspect.
    4. People from Saskatchewan have a very droll sense of humor.
    Enjoyed your post, thanks!

    1. LOL! Only older men take advantage of the nude beaches. Nice! I’ll be sure to avoid those if/when I go to Vancouver. I went once as a child, but I don’t remember much. Thanks for sharing! Hilarious.

  8. I was in Toronto last week too! I agree, there is no point curling one’s hair in such humidity. I took a side trip to New York and it was even worse there, super hot and humid! If you come to Vancouver let me know, I’ll give you a tour and our hair will stay perfect. Unless it rains.

  9. Brilliant post. Makes me wish I was there. Good tip on the hair and make up!Fraid the humidity would curl my hair into a frizz. But I still want to be there. Congrats on your first conference presentation.

  10. Great photos, and congratulations on your conference! It was fun reading your “lessons” 🙂

  11. When I took my GPS to Canada, I, too, thought it wouldn’t work there. I later discovered a GPS is set for the US, but if you push enough buttons, you can change it to a Canada setting.

    Loved your travelogue!

  12. I love this post! And it’s also nice to see your photos. We were actually just in Japan, and the funny thing is that while there my son and I kept talking about how we have to visit Canada! He has never been and I took a really quick trip to Toronto/Niagra Falls years ago, chaperoning a bus of international students. Your list will come in handy when we go 😉

  13. Emily, love the story and green shoe laces on your running shoes!! You reminded me of when my family was at Niagara Falls in April 2011. It started snowing on us. That was unexpected. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I agree about the McDonalds. All the best, BTG

    1. Thanks, BTG. Snow in April? That happens here in Utah most years, actually. It is always a treat when it snows on Easter! And yes, I am now a staunch McDonald’s fan, and not because of their food. 🙂

      1. But, I bet you run off those Mickey D calories. My goal is to avoid their french fries. If I can do that, I feel like I am a ahead of the game.

        1. Those fries are so bad they are good! I am a fan of the egg mcmuffin, and I craved those during my first pregnancy and gained so much weight. We really liked the oatmeal on this trip. It was a quick, convenient, cheap, and healthy breakfast.

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