Over the past couple of weeks I've done some traveling. First I went out to Southern California and a week later I went up to Toronto.
I've been to the West Coast before but this time was different. I had less of an agenda, I was just visiting friends. So while I was out in California I got to do also two different kinds of things I got to see how things were similar and I got to see how things were different than here in New York City. First and foremost and this was very important to pay attention to the ocean is on the other side. It is on the left and that is kind of weird
As you can see San Clemente looks just like Coney Island except the beach is on the other side
Oh, when we got to LA there was one touristy thing I wanted to do. I wanted to visit the La Brea Tar Pits. I have to say something right here, I was completely misinformed as to what they were. I thought there was something like Old Faithful like there was this bizarre natural phenomenon that people put a fence around and turned into a museum. like a hundred and fifty years ago people stumbled upon this tar pit full of dead animals people put a fence around it and said hey look at all these dead animals let's turn it into a thing. No! 200 years ago a guy started mining asphalt out of the Earth and when you completely used up all the asphalt and discovered that it was full of dead animals he gave this industrial wasteland to Los Angeles and told the city make it a museum. maybe we should do that to the Gowanus Canal here in Brooklyn.
Here is a touristy picture of me looking all pissed off that I drag myself out to California to look at a recreated Lake Tar Pits thing with fake dead animals in it.
Southern California seemed to be a lot like New York in that there are just too many cars. Especially if you don't live in LA itself you absolutely can't get anywhere if you don't have your own car. I learned that roads have numbers and you put a. In front of them. The five. The 405. Stuff like that. They go north-south and their 10 lanes across in each Direction crazy shit. They also have cars that we don't have here. lot of people live in vans that have 4 wheel drive. but there's no traffic if you drive east. You don't have to go far to the east to be in the desert.
Speaking of desert, I really didn't understand what desert was until heading out to Southern California. My only experience with desert was watching Breaking Bad. I did the most out-of-the-box thing as a tourist. I decided to go to a high school cross country track meet. Where I found out what desert was. the New York City we had our Cross Country meets in Van Cortlandt Park. We basically put a fence around the last bits of forest in New York City and called it a park. You don't have to do that until then California there's lots and lots of wilderness but for some reason we had to drive 45 minutes through it to find some special Wilderness to have a track meet.
Another thing that I thought was weird was that we went out to dinner two times. Once we went to a brewery that had a restaurant in it another time was a winery that also had a restaurant. But both places seemed like more of a combination between a park and a restaurant then just a restaurant. There were lots of bars everywhere and different bands in different places and it look like a place where people would spend a whole day. I don't think we have that here in New York City. Maybe we do but it's just not a thing I do,.
And here in New York we have TV ads for a giant law firm called Cellino & Barnes the phone number is 800-888-8888. in Southern California they had TV commercials for a law firm called Barnes and I think their phone number was 800 8 million. They use the same corny song
Okay oh, back to the right Coast. This past weekend with only a few weeks notice I decided to attend the Canadian National Conference of the GBS CIDP foundation in Toronto. my passport expired in the 90s and I cannot drive so getting to Toronto is a bit of a challenge. I do have an enhanced New York state driver's license so I am allowed to cross the border between the United States and Canada but only by land. So here was my plan: I took the 8 a.m. flight to Buffalo it was only 55 minutes and I misread the bus schedule and thought there was a bus from the Buffalo airport to the Toronto Airport at noon. This would have been great because my conference was at an airport hotel in Toronto. That bus did not exist. It was not till 7 pm. So I figured I'd get closer to Toronto by taking an Uber to the Buffalo bus station. I had just missed the bus to Toronto and the next one was at 6:30 p.m. it's one by the airport. I didn't want to wait around so I took a city bus tonight or Falls and walked over the Rainbow Bridge where I took the obligatory selfie with Niagara Falls over my shoulder. they let me into Canada and I went into the Subway Hero shop in the Hard Rock Cafe right over the Border. After lunch I sat on a bench and opened up my phone. It would have been five buses, $75 and four hours to get to Toronto. I wasn't sure way to that anymore so I press the next button on my phone and saw that it was $184 Uber trip. Since my airfare was based on Frequent Flyer points I took A1C trip right to the hotel. I still got there before my room is ready
So I've been to one day GBS conferences before in both Princeton and Boston and I've been to three day by annual events in San Diego. But this was my first time leaving the United States I expected things to be a little different and they were only a little different. I was warned that Canadians would be creepily friendly and they will only normally friendly not any more friendly than other people like met with my disease who are happy to meet other people with the same disease. In fact, I got there a little early and was invited to attend the tail end of their liaison training. It seems that between the lobby of the hotel and the second floor where the meeting was they got a message that I was on my way up and I was welcomed in. It made me feel pretty nice for the rest of the meeting and I was glad to feel that way.
The conference itself was a lot like the conference is I've been to except there were doctors who took cannabis very seriously and talked about serious medical research on how we can help pain and stress. But in general it was a lot more casual and I think that was a good thing and there was also a lot less of the pharmaceutical people waiting at stuff in my face which I thought was a great thing.
Oh yeah, It was a difference between the foundation's. In Canadathey have French. In Toronto they don't really do much with it but they have it.
So getting back to Buffalo for my flight home at 8 p.m. was much easier. I have an old College buddy who moved up there years ago and earlier in the week texted him and let him know I was going to be in Toronto. I told him about my Transportation issues and I said that I had a fantasy that he came and picked me up and brought me back to Buffalo for my 8 p.m. flight and it exchanged I bought him a really nice lunch. he told me him and his wife basically had the same fantasy. ( I'm making sure to tell my kids the importance of keeping in touch with your old college buddies). so he gave me a little tour of buffalo on the way to the airport and he told me that Buffalo is the only city on the East Coast that has the sunset over the water. when he comes to visit me in Brooklyn I have to take him to Brooklyn Bridge Park to see the sunset