Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Where could you live other than home?

So I've been in Toronto for a week. I like it a lot.

My favourite city outside of South Africa is New York. I've spent a lot of time there and love the buzz. I like the high paced business life and the 24 hour lifestyle. I love the sidewalk culture and that you can stumble downstairs from your Manhattan flat to a pub/shop/restaurant. New York is a difficult place to live though. You need tonnes of money. Rentals are ridiculous unless you hit the jackpot and find a rent controlled apartment. The weather is extreme to the point of being ridiculous. I've been in -26C in winter and 40C with 80% humidity in summer. Your face freezes in the former and you sweat bullets in a suit in the latter. Then there is space - lack of space literally drives New Yorkers mad. And there are plenty of mad New Yorkers. I reckon more per capita than anywhere else. Also, big city people are pretty shallow. It seems they keep things superficial as a defence mechanism. The good thing about this is you can walk into a club and everyone is one the same terms. If it is a pick up joint, you will be successful. In fact girls hit on guys there. But you could meet a million people in New York and not really get to know any of them. If you have money you can live in a nice apartment, walk from your air conditioning to a waiting cab, spend your weekends in the Hamptons, and marry someone from California.

Toronto reminds me of New York a bit. It's a little more genuine, a little less high rise. It has some of the village aspects of Greenwich Village in the downtown area. And people trek to their "cottages" on the lakes for summer weekends. It doesn't seem to get quite as hot in summer, but has horrific winters - to the extent that the city has an entire underground system to avoid the streets. You plug your car in to avoid the engine freezing. On average, the people are a lot thinner than Americans and are definitely more friendly than New Yorkers. The worst thing so far? The bugs! Canada has just got ridiculous amounts of water. The great lakes and the smaller ones are everywhere. With that much fresh water, mozzies are a problem for a start. In the middle of the downtown area you get bitten to pieces at a sidewalk restaurant. And then there are the black flies. Like horse flies they have a painful bite that leaves a massive itchy bite. There is the so called black fly season here.

The CN Tower in Toronto

"Cottages" on Lake Joseph

I love Europe and identify more with British people than any other nationality outside South Africa. But I could never live in Europe. Whether it is the weather or the pace of life, something just does not click. New York and Toronto remain my favourites.

1 comment:

Pascall Photography said...

great article. must say i also dig new york big time - boston is also cool. and still there is no place like home. cheers