Sunday, 22 August 1999

Denise, my aunt took Dad and I to Durban airport and as I left I was thinking, "what the heck, if something's been forgotten, too bad!". Cousins Garth and Pam, and friends Leon and Linda saw us off. Dad sat in the flight deck for the landing at Joburg International and enjoyed it. I usually pull this trick when I fly so I thought I'd let Dad have a chance this time.

We proceeded to the international terminal at Johannesburg and boarded the KLM Boeing 747-400 with not too much time to spare. A girl leaving for America asked if we could help her with some of her hand luggage as she was emigrating and had so much stuff to carry. We obliged, and took a huge plastic bag containing what looked like her duvets. I told her my name and our seat numbers and said she could collect her stuff once we were on the plane. During the flight she came to us and we told her where her bag was and then she disappeared.

The flight was long, and as everyone who travels long distance knows, is very uncomfortable as you can't really sleep in an aircraft seat. We were given food at regular intervals throughout the flight which alleviated the boredom somewhat. Well I think it did!

Monday, 23 August 1999

Arrived at Schipol Amsterdam Airport at 05:30, collected the girl's bedding and disembarked. She wasn't anywhere to be seen. Dad and I didn't want to hang around so we went into the arrivals lounge to see if she was there, but there was no sign of her. I went back to the gate where we'd come in from the plane and there she was looking as if we'd taken her belongings and fled! She was most grateful, and we said goodbye.

Then started the beginning of a long, LONG wait until 2 p.m. when we would be leaving for Toronto.What a long day it was too. No more to say about that. We were given coloured tags in the departure lounge, which made embarking very orderly and easy as passengers for different sections go to the plane together, stopping that infuriating time when you have to wait for people to put their luggage in the bins above the seats, then squeeze past them etc. A very good idea.

If I thought the flight from Joburg to Amsterdam was long, then this was even worse because it was during daylight. Another KLM 747 flew along side us for most of the way, and you can only look at another plane from the window for so long before you get tired of that! One thing I did enjoy was getting something to eat quite often - this did seem to relieve the boredom.

We arrived on Toronto on time at 10 to 4 in the afternoon. If only the flight really was two hours long and not 7! We decided the carriage clock of Glynis's was not going to be declared at customs as we just wanted to get to

see Glynis and Bruce. Anyway it belonged to her. Well, it wasn't long before we saw her and Mark waving Canadian flags from behind the barrier. Then there was Bruce and Bradley. Oh, it was so nice to see them at last after being gone for 6 months. We walked out the airport into a hot, muggy afternoon. That was the first surprise. As we piled into their Ford Taurus I noticed the steering wheel on the other side of the car. You see us S'Africans drive on the LEFT side of the road so our steering wheels are on the RIGHT. It looked VERY strange, seeing it in reality. Their apartment in Marlborough Court was very comfortable and it was strange yet comforting seeing all their furniture which they brought over with them. It felt like coming home.

Wallace Pines, Marlborough Court, Oakville, Toronto

Tuesday, 24 August 1999

Bruce went off early job seeking today so we went for a walk in the little wood opposite the apartments and emerged about half a km away at a school. Glynis found the public library and said she will join one of these days. We walked back home then went for a drive around to do some shopping and change traveller's cheques. Saw some bargain computer disks etc. in Wal-Mart and will go back to buy some. Even with the exchange rate they're almost half the price of the same articles in SA.

We looked round a new housing development, marvelling at the all-wood construction of the homes here, unlike our solid brick and mortar homes. They're clad with cement brick shapes which look very attractive.

Wednesday, 25 August 1999

Bruce went off for another interview this morning and Glynis took the boys and Dad and I to Rattlesnake Point, which is a conservation area about 20 km north of Oakville. The limestone cliffs are part of Ontario's Niagara escarpment, which was formed 400 million years ago when most of North America was covered by sea. Glacial melt waters eroded the rock. We looked at the view over the Lowville Valley then had a picnic lunch, sheltered from the drizzle under the trees in the park.

Rattlesnake Point

I drove around the park then decided to try a bit of a drive towards Oakville. I kept feeling for the gear stick on my left and all that was there was the window winder. I eventually got the hang of it and decided to drive all the way home, stopping at a shopping centre en route. It does take some getting used to though. Glynis said I seemed very confident and well co-ordinated. Does that mean I have passed an immigration test?

Thursday, 26 August 1999

Went exploring a little further today to a Railway Museum. Had a ride in two streetcars built circa 1930 and now preserved and running on a loop track for visitors. The boys (including Dad) enjoyed it very much. It got a bit overcast and there were a few spots of rain while driving home.

Street car

Friday, 27 August 1999

Accompanied Bruce to Blenheim, about 3 hours drive SW of Oakville to a "screening" for a position at Thompson Seeds, a crop seed company. Drove along a main route towards Detroit in the US.

After dropping Bruce off Dad, Glynis and the boys drove on to the shore of Lake Erie to a little village. Stopped and looked at the vast expanse of water that feeds into Lake Ontario via Niagara Falls which is further east. Went back to get Bruce, but he was still busy so we were taken on a tour of the offices. Research, buying and selling and other administration is done there. If Bruce was successful in getting a position there he'd advise farmers about crops, similar to what he did with the Sugar Association in South Africa. They gave us some tasty baked beans and rolls for lunch and then we headed for Niagara Falls.

Got there at about 5 p.m. What a spectacular site and nice that it was a weekday and there weren't so many thousands of people around. I never thought I'd be able to say I'd see Niagara Falls, but there we were watching millions of litres of crystal clear water falling into a bowl of mist below. The wind was blowing the spray up over the walkway so we got drenched. Had something for supper and headed for Oakville. We had milkshakes in the rising full moon light at the edge of Lake Ontario. How safe we felt! What a nice way to end a long, very hot day. The heat and humidity was very surprising. It was 27 C at Niagara at 6 in the evening. I would love to experience the cold here - will do that sometime.

Niagara Falls

Saturday, 28 August 1999

Slept in this morning. Bruce took Dad to look at some hobby shops while Glynis did some washing and ironing and I looked after the boys.

We went to visit Cathy Sewell in Toronto. This was Glynis's first solo drive into Toronto on the highways so it was quite a big occasion. Fortunately she had me there to navigate for her. I might not have done so well with my Meteorology exams for my microlight pilot's license, but my Nav. is OK!!! (P.S. I have my license now by the way!!)

Cathy lived opposite us in John White Road in Pinetown, SA, and she and Glynis were in the same classes for most of their time at school. She'd arranged for her two sisters Gwenneth and Lindley to be there as well. They had a good time calling back the past. After some ham rolls for lunch we all walked to a little park just down the road and they did some more reminiscing while Mark and Bradley (and I) played on the jungle-gym.

At three we headed for home via downtown Toronto and saw the famous CN Tower up close for the first time. We're going to go up the tower one of these days.

Dad had spent the morning visiting model shops, then rested at home as Bruce had to go to work in the afternoon.

Sunday, 29 August 1999

Today we went on a long drive north to the Muskoka's, which is the "Lake District" of Ontario. The area is a myriad lakes and beautiful forests. Some of the leaves are just starting to turn yellow for the "Fall". Our route took us winding through the maze of lakes in very beautiful country. This is the playground of many Ontarians who have quaint cottages and boats right on the lakes.

We had partly sunny weather for most of the day, which was made driving pleasant. Both Bruce and Glynis have the air conditioners on in their cars when they drive because it has been so hot.

Bala on Lake Muskoka

We drove for about 600 km today and were quite worn out towards the end.

Sunset was beautiful this evening and we decided that we'd do the CN Tower, Eaton's (a large shopping centre in downtown Toronto) and the Ontario Science Centre on Monday.

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