Canada (Toronto & Niagara Falls)

– visited September 2014 –

I am short on time. I have to be in New York in only four days for my flight back home. In fact, I should not visit Canada at all but I want to have a short peak over the border. Better to get a quick impression than not getting any impression at all. I visit beautiful Toronto (skyscrapers always make me happy) and Niagara Falls (not bad) before heading back to the US. I also have to endure a moment of despair.

My only credit card had been blocked somewhere in Central America. The biggest pain of that is, that I cannot make any bookings for accommodation or stuff like that. I enter the bus from Detroit to Toronto without any hotel reservation. As I speak with the couple next to me, they tell me that the Toronto International Film Festival is taking place. Together with the fact, that it is a Saturday, they think that I might be in for some trouble finding a place to stay. Arriving in Toronto around midnight does not make things any better. The bus has internet (and electricity) and I start a frantic search for accommodation. I make calls via skype but to no avail. I finally notice that booking.com allows some reservations with my blocked card. I finally choose the Holiday Inn Toronto Airport, at 82€ by far the most expensive hotel of my trip. It is idiotic, my bus arrives to the centre but I have to take the metro and after that a bus to get to the hotel far out of town. I ask the bus driver to tell me where to get off. After some time, he calls me, points towards the right and asks if I can see the sign. Yes, I can. I put my passport on the counter and tell them I have a reservation. They can’t find it. After some time, they ask me to show them my reservation. “Oh, that is the other Holiday Inn.” There are two Holiday Inns on the same street. I am told it is not far, only two or three blocks. Having been trained with blocks in South America, I expect a distance of maybe 300 metres but in Canada a block is more like a kilometre or two. I follow a big street in what is more an industrial area. After nearly an hour of walking in the darkness I am glad as the correct Holiday Inn finally appears. They have my reservation. I put my hand into the pocket where I expect my passport but find only emptiness. What is going on?  

I ask if they can call the other hotel. They say, they don’t have my passport. I check in using my ID card (paying a cash deposit in absence of a working credit card), go to the room and search all my bags. Where could my passport be? Loosing a passport is certainly not the end of the world. It would still give me considerable trouble and especially prevent myself from a quick return to the US and to take my flight to Iceland. I can’t find the passport anywhere. I must have lost it while walking from the other hotel. I am utterly exhausted a I walk all the way back. I once climbed over the crash barrier to take pictures of a skunk, maybe a made a weird movement? Will I be able to find that spot again? I walk all the way scanning the ground. There is nothing. As I have nearly reached the hotel where I first stopped, I suddenly see my passport lying on the ground. I remember that I had to take a step onto the flowerbed to avoid an oncoming car. I cannot express how glad I felt in that moment.