Last 2 Business Trips of the Year, Part 2
So this week I'm in Toronto. It hasn't really snowed since I've been here (got in Sunday), but there have been little dry flakes of snow flying around much of the time. From the window of the 22nd floor the updrafts send them circulating around and they never quite reach the ground below. It is very cold. The other night is was -12C and windy. I don't know what that is in "real" temperature, but I know that it is very very very very cold.
Monday night I got to experience genuine local culture- I went to an amateur hockey match!! It was great fun. EVERYONE plays hockey. I can't even come up with an analogy in the US- bigger than basketball or football. Co-ed teams. Old guys, young folks (didn't see any old ladies playing, but I'm sure they're here somewhere). Thousands of ice rinks in one city. Constant drone of zambonis in the distance.
The game I saw was the team of a colleague of mine from the Toronto office. He invited me to his family's house for pakistani take-out dinner, and then to the game. I watched with one of the wives od another player. She told me all about how the US tarrifs on Canadian soft wood is putting mills out of business and wrecking local economies. Ironically, it's the big-box US companies like Home Depot who are trying to come to Canada's rescue-- because Canadian wood should be cheaper than US wood. This was all neat stuff that I didn't know about. So I go back and call Tony to tell him all about what the US is doing to Canadian wood exporters, and guess what? He Already Knows. Gr. How do I miss this stuff?
Anyway, so the pakistani food was fabulous, the company was terrific, and the game was a hoot. It was a rink with no stands, so we got to stand by the team's bench. I never realized how loud a hockey match is up-close. Guys yelling, the loud CLACK of the gate opening to let players on and off the ice, the BUUUUUUZZZZZZ at the end of each period. No wonder there are so many hockey fights- all the stimuli are designed to rouse up as much SNS activity as possible. So much teststerone, you could smell it.
Unfortunately, there were no bloody fights. No teeth strewn on the ice. A few people got penalties for being rude and one guy (from the "other" team) tried to pick a fight after the game- which I didn't see. I'll have to go to more games to see real scary action.
Last night I did some shopping-- pumped a few wrinkly, heaving & sweating US dollars into the local economy and got a few Christmas gifts. Everyone likes stuff with red maple leaves on it, right? 'Cause that's what you're getting. Red maple leaves. So if anyone leaves the country they can pretend to be Canadian to avoid the humiliation of being mistaken for one of those Americans that voted for Bush.
But you wouldnt do that, would you??