Can it really be another year already? We are now well into our sixth year as Torontonians, and we feel very comfortable in our 18th floor apartment home, with lots of activities to keep us busy (when we get up out of our reading chairs).
Last summer Patty, one of the residents and a TDSB fitness instructor, gave fitness classes on the front patio once a week. Great fun with the roof overhead and rain pouring down all around.
In May we flew to Florida to board the cruise ship Azamara, and soon we were rolling across the Atlantic enjoying the sea and the sky. After seven days of peace and relaxation we made landfall in the Azores where we took a day tour. Thence on to day tours in Huelva, Gibraltar, Tangiers and Barcelona while comfortably installed in our own suite with no daily packing involved. A nice way to see other parts of the world.
Early this summer an invitation to visit Margís Uxbridge friend Dorothy in Windsor enticed us to take a short Ontario road trip. We headed to Wasaga Beach, which Bill had heard of but never seen, via Camp Borden where Bill took a Ground Defence course in the summer of 1953, then to Owen Sound where we found a great motel deal (with two easy chairs and bright reading lights!). Then to Walkerton to check out the Belfry cemetery, to Kincardine for lunch in a Lake Huron park, and to Sarnia, home of son-in-law John (we had no recollection of where to look for the house). Then to Chatham, via an unintended detour through the Walpole Island Indian reserve and finally to Windsor via Hwy 2 & 42, which meant that Dorothyís meticulous instructions did not apply and we experienced an unintended sightseeing trip of Windsor as we searched for her house.
Dorothy and Marg have been friends since they were three years old in Uxbridge so it was really exciting to get cozy and visit. Bill was surprised that they could still talk so much. Imagine that! After all these years Marg thought he knew that talking was one of our favorite accomplishments.
Dorothy was a great tour guide and led us on a first class tour through all the interesting areas and historic military sites of her lovely city and surroundings. We loved being there and catching up with each otherís lives.
On the way home we stopped in London to visit Billís college classmate and pilot buddy Rusty, so a very enjoyable visiting trip.
In September we celebrated Sue and Chrisí 50th Anniversary party at Erinís home. Sue was still recovering from a broken hip, but we did enjoy the wonderful party, which was a special day for many of our family as we had been part of the wedding party on their happy day fifty years ago.
One day in early June Bill saw an ad in the Toronto Star for a Nexus tour of India at $2799 air included. India was not on our bucket list, but this looked like a bargain not to be missed, so we signed on for a tour from 10 to 19 November. After a dearth of information from Nexus, we learned that our trip was from 9 to 21 November, stopping overnight in Shanghai both ways. This gave a break from the 13 + 7 hour flight from Toronto to Delhi on China Eastern Airline.
The India tour covered the Golden Triangle: Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Delhi. Our first day in Delhi our eyes popped to see the wild traffic: cars, trucks, buses, bikes, motorcycles, scooters rickshaws and pedestrians vying for a place and blowing horns non-stop. We were happy to be in our modern bus with an Indian driver at the wheel. Soon we almost became blasť about the traffic, and even the historical experiences we were viewing.
Our guide Arun was a font of knowledge who gave us much interesting information on the regular habits of the locals and explained their customs and way of life. He also elaborated on the architecture as we passed, or as we toured. The countryside as we drove was interesting; with colourful flowers gracing the highways and chaotic street scenes that made us happy to live in Canada.
We had been cautioned to avoid drinking the tap water even in our excellent hotels, where bottles of water were furnished. Fresh cold water was also supplied to us each day on the bus.
From Delhi we drove to Jaipur, the ďpink cityĒ, because of its sandstone buildings. That was where we climbed aboard elephants which took us on a rather precarious ride up to the old palace area. It seemed like a long way to the ground so there was some relief when we finally found ourselves on terra firma.
From Jaipur we travelled to the Vanaashrya resort near Tehla, in the hills between Delhi and Jaipur, for two nights in a beautiful wooded area where the birds sang us to sleep and Peacocks watched us while we enjoyed our lovely chalet with all creature comforts (warm water 6-8 AM and PM). We shared our meals at the main centre where there was also some entertainment. A morning trip took us to the Haunted Castle (but no word of the haunting during the visit). Later that afternoon we had a ride on a camel cart to a local village, where we saw people cooking and making pottery in the traditional way.
From Vanaashrya we drove to Agra, to see the Taj Mahal the following morning. We were delighted to wander under the arches and beside carved walls. Being in such a wonderful location was a treat after hearing all our lives about it and its history and its famous setting.
The first Sunday of December saw granddaughter Raya ace her first Ironman in less than twelve hours in Cozumel, Mexico. Mom, Dad, Bro and Sarah were there to cheer her on.
John house-sat our apartment while we were in India before he went to Cozumel, and Heather came for a few days after Cozumel. While here, she organized a birthday party for her old man, with Brian, Foots and Sorhaugs in attendance. Made it difficult to ignore the birthday in hopes that it would go away.
Marg and Bill