Hello again from Toronto!

When are you going to update your blog? Those were very familiar words I am hearing and reading from emails. There are some readers who never stopped asking me when I will update my blog again. Since I run out of excuses I reckon I have two choices – to kill the blog or to update it at least once a week.

Since everything, well almost everything, in the house is in place since we moved in and after 5 months of learning how to drill, install, uninstall, fix, repair, clean and organize … , I do have some time to spare now to seat and type. I decided to do some updates!

So, welcome again from Toronto! This is William, sigining on, again!!!

Winter Solstice 2006

Today, December 21st is Winter Solstice and is the official start of Winter. It is also the day of the year with the shortest daylight. The picture on the left was taken from our backyard at 7:00 in the morning (left) and 5:00 in the afternoon (right).

It has been a while since I updated my blog. Ten postings ago I was talking about Summer Solstice - I'm so ashamed!

Why the absence? Busy seemed to be an overused word and I will try to avoid that. The thing is, we moved to our new home last September and I started a project in Chicago. I was on a typical consultant routine of flying Monday morning to Chicago and back to Toronto Thursday night, Fridays are normally spent on conference calls and netmeetings. So how about weekends? I have been spending weekends trying to proove to myself I am not worthy to be nominated to be a candidate on Discovery Channels "Canada's Worst Handyman"!

Anyways, just glad to be back!

Chicago Heat Wave and New Air Travel Rules

It’s been a long time since I post something in my blog. I’ve been very busy! I started my new project in Chicago and have been going through the regular consultant’s Monday morning and Thursday night commute from Toronto to Chicago and vice-versa. So, what happened so far?

Two major events happened worthy to share and catch up with current events:

First, there was this deadly heat-wave on the first week of August in Chicago. 26 people died. It was already very hot in Toronto but it was so bad in Chicago. In the past I have only read about the Heat Wave horrors in the news. I now understand why that can happen in Chicago. Chicago have cold winters just like Toronto but it is also notoriously known as the Windy City because of the strong normal gust. Because of this not too many people will invest in airconditioning. During this heatwave week the temperature outside is so hot and humid even at 1:00 in the morning. It’s like you are being roasted. The only difference is – you are being roast in a convection oven because of the gusty winds. The picture on the left shows how the strong and arid wind is blowing the leaves. I took this photo from inside my Ford Escape since it’s too warm outside (I now understand that too warm and just plain too hot are two different things).

Second, the foiled terrorist attack in Englad brought mayhem and chaos into US air traffic. Here in Toronto, Monday mornings in Terminal 2 have always been a very busy time due to the long line of TN consultants in the US immigration. Because the “Orange” alert level have been imposed to all US port of entry, the waiting time in the counter line have also doubled or tripled. In Toronto, you may now be asked to remove your shoes in the carry-on check. This is a regular in US departing flights that is being adopted now in Canada. I don't have any picture to share because of the tight security in airports.

As of this week the interpretation of liquids in carry over bags are as follows:

1. Water and other kinds of juice – not allowed
2. Baby milk – allowed but they may ask you to sample the milk
3. Liquids for contact lens and eye care – allowed if in very small and reasonable quantity
4. Toothpaste – not allowed even in sachet packs. Hotels do provide sachet toothpaste because of this.

The biggest questions so far of traveling consultants and businessmen are:

1. Can we still carry 2 hand carry luggage? – YES
2. Can we bring our notebooks as carry-ons? - YES
3. How many minutes or hours do we need to add to the regular arrival and clearing time for departure? – zero to 30 minutes top is ok depending on which airline & airport.

Don’t ask me about ladies make-up kits since I cannot answer that.

I have travelled twice to US since they imposed these new rules and they are changing the rules everyday - but for the better and reasonable change.

Well, there you have it!

Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Attracting approximately one million visitors annually, The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is the fifth largest museum in North America, according to Wikipedia. Located in downtown Toronto almost within the compound of The University of Toronto, it is said to be walking distance from the CN tower but I will definitely not do that – not even on spring time. It is about a 3 to 4 kilometers walk if you take University Avenue. Since 2004, the museum is undergoing a massive multi million renovation and will be completed by Fall of 2007.

The museum is home to 6 million museum pieces and is housed in two permanent galleries – the World and Natural History.

The Department of World Cultures is the amalgamation of the former departments of West Asian, Far Eastern, Egyptian, Textiles, European, Greek and Roman, Canadiana, New World Archaeology, and Ethnology. Our curators actively conduct research in these areas as art historians, archaeologists and material culture specialists. The diversity of their work is reflected in a wide variety of objects to be found in our collections, ranging from Stone Age implements from China and Africa, the arms and armours from Europe, Middle East and Japan, kayaks and costumes of Canada’s First Peoples, ceramics from ancient Peru, sculptures from Southeast Asia and mummies from Egypt, to 20th-century art and design.

The Department of Natural History is comprised of 12 collection and research areas: Botany, Entomology, Herpetology, Ichthyology, Invertebrate Zoology, Mammalogy, Mycology, Ornithology, Invertebrate Palaeontology, Vertebrate Palaeontology, Geology, and Mineralogy.

Perhaps the most controversial artifact ever displayed here was the James Ossuary with the Aramaic inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. The ossuary was displayed here last 2002 and was scrutinized by experts and was even featured by Discovery Channel and later on appeared on PBS and other networks. After its brief display at The ROM it was sent back to Israel in 2003 and was seized by the Israel Antiquities Authority to be later declared as a fake. The authenticity of the ossuary is very important since it will be the first ever physical link and the earliest recorded reference to Jesus of Nazareth.

Read about the forgery claim by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the ROM’s refusal to retract its earlier claim of authenticity.

If you are planning to visit this place I suggest you push it back if you can until the reno is over. Or, if you also don’t want to spend any money, you can go there at 5PM where the museum entrance is free. It closes at 6PM so you have an hour to explore but it will be impossible to see all galleries in one hour so you have to come back in the next few days to see them all. We weren't able to see all the galleries and so we will come back to visit again some other time.

Next CityPass destination - Art Gallery of Ontario

Toronto CN Tower update


I forgot to write that the Toronto CN Tower was honored as on one of the 7 wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as a tribute to 20th Century greatest civil engineering achievements. Other who made it on the list includes:

Channel Tunnel (England & France)
Empire State Building (New York)
Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)
Itaipu Dam (Brazil / Paraguay)
Netherlands North Sea Protection Works
Panama Canal


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About this Site

meltingPOT is about people, places and events encountered during travel. It's observations on cultural diversity immortalized.

Name: William
Location: Canada

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