This is Bruce, the Canadian who could become his country's minister of inebriation given his fabulous entertaining style. While I was outside smoking on New Year's Eve during our Toronto drinking vacation, this gentleman with the noise makers sprouting out of each ear, walked up to Red and Rusty and said:
"Ladies back in the day, you would NOT have had a chance." We loved Bruce. Bruce loved us. Well, he pretty much just loved Red as evidenced by his attempt to slip her the proverbial tongue at midnight.
Bruce, you had us at hello.
Meet the Canadian pint. It's a two hander, I tell ya. And if you drink too many, causing your voice to raise an octave or twenty, do not be surprised if you are scolded by the bartender in this land of liquor control and sky high booze taxes. I say if you're gonna serve us beers the size of my apartment, then it might get ugly. And besides, we were on a drinking vacation. A new genre of travel, I think.
This is Alka Seltzer's Morning Relief, my new best friend and one of the most important drugs on the market today if you ask me. Our first night in Toronto--rather rough even by our standards--would have kept most in their hotel beds. But I got up early, force fed this little miracle worker to Red and Rusty and we were on our way to find breakfast and bloody marys.
I'm sure I got everyone super excited with this post with tales of an impending New Year's road trip. We were going to take Red's SUV and drive from Chicago to find out exactly what's going on in that giant land mass to the North, and no I'm not talking about Wisconsin. But instead, the flights to Toronto came down a bit, and we remembered that the drive home may not be much fun so we ended up flying. I'm just glad I'm a procrastinator and never ended up burning 8 hours of songs. And I am a little pissed about spending .99 on iTunes for the Canadian National Anthem.
Anyway, we got there the day before New Year's Eve and stayed near Toronto's version of Time Square, a spot later a local would tell us is a little on the rough side, but it was close to everything and we were able to walk to most of our destinations. This guy said next time we should consider staying where we wouldn't get shot, which is complete bullshit because everyone knows there's no gun violence in Canada.
Back to the fun stuff. We had a lovely meal at a steakhouse, and after dinner, we went to a pub where we met the aforementioned ENORMOUS Hoeggardens and three very nice Canadian guys, who plied us with more liquor and even more importantly laughed at my jokes and Red and Rusty's antics. Sure, the bartender wasn't laughing, but I think she secretly thought we were awesome. Perhaps, deep down, she wished she too could be a loud, binge drinking, Bush-bashing, corn-fed American girl.
Or perhaps not.
Because they were in fact, born in a barn, Red and Rusty kept running outside to smoke and made new friends with each Marlboro Menthol Light. Dick and Ian, two Englishmen who looked and acted like they had been drinking since birth, stuck around solely I think, to get Rusty riled up. Ian told Rusty to chill out, or maybe it was Dick, because one or both of them had just been thrown out the week prior. When the bartender threatened to put Rusty in a timeout, we left with our five boyfriends from England and Canada for a Russian bar.
Of course everyone was well behaved at Pravda given the pictures of Stalin and Lenin staring at us from the walls and a mysterious deep freeze large enough to fit a body or two sitting in the hallway. At closing time we bid farewell to Dick and Ian and the Canadians got us back to our hotel safely so we could rest up for Day Two.
I had found a bar on the internet and made us reservations as a back up for New Year's Eve. It was quiet at first and with the owner's children running around and the rain coming down outside kind of locking us in, I got a little worried. But it turned out to be a blast. The bar, very similiar to a bar in Chicago's Greektown that we frequent, was filled with all locals who were very happy to ring in 2007 with their "American cousins" as one kept calling us. A strange kid whose girlfriend was more than twice his age, drafted us at midnight to set off fireworks with him--The Thunder King--at midnight.
Thanks for the great time Canada and trying not to overserve us. And sorry for being loud. We'll remember next time, inside voice.