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G-Chan's Canada Adventure Part 4.2 - Canada Food Guide Part 2

Welcome to the Canada logs, a lighthearted review of my recent vacation to Canada, this piece of writing will serve as a handy guide to some of the places I visited on my travels as well as some experiences I'd like to share with you.

So following on from the previous food establishments here are some Italian places to sample.

East Side Marios
A fun establishment that can really fill you up, the portions are huge and very challenging to eat but alongside your order is a variety of cocktails to cleanse the palette. Our British equivalent is Frankie & Bennys which offers a similar experience with less of the huge amounts.

Little Caesars
Bland and disappointing, Dominos Pizza is better than anything Little Caesars can come up with, there are much better pizza takeout places on the market, I'd avoid it. We have one branch in the UK somewhere in the twisted urban jungle of London.

Boston Pizza
A nice establishment with a feel of a sports and entertainment bar, I found the food to be reasonable and a good place to take a family. No equivalent in the UK unless you count Bowling Alleys with attached food serving.

Ciao Roma Inc
I love independent Italian Restaurants and Cafes and Ciao Roma is no exception, a rich feel of Italy makes you feel like you've returned to the old country and Momma has made your favorite pizza.

All these places have provided a unique experience even if Caesars was bland, next time we go higher in the market and tackle the Teppanyakis.

G-Chan's Canada Adventure Part 4.1 - Canada Food Guide Part 1

Welcome to the Canada logs, a lighthearted review of my recent vacation to Canada, this piece of writing will serve as a handy guide to some of the places I visited on my travels as well as some experiences I'd like to share with you.

This time it's food, food and more food!

Now there are a lot of places I visited on my Canadian Adventure so going through them all will take a few parts so I will be reviewing three places at a time, sometimes more if I write less for some places than others. So to start with my three reviews today are Tim Hortons, Teriyaki and A&W.

Tim Hortons
As a harsh critic of coffee, I knew I needed to be convinced by the Coffee Shop World's equivalent of McDonalds on the Spectrum, and while convenience and price is a damn sight better than the coffee shops back home, the actual coffee I drank is really, really weak. Unless you enjoy drinking burnt water I recommend drinking the strongest they have or try an independent coffee place. Food is okay but there are better options available. Do I want to see Tim Hortons in the UK? Well they have a deal with a small number of convenience stores to sell their coffee but I'd rather not see another coffee chain next to an already full market, it's bad enough that Second Cup appeared in Birmingham we really don't need more.

Better known by it's full title Teriyaki Experience, it's the first Japanese Fast Food restaurant I ever tried, it does give me a feel of the Street Food served back home and even some of the Teriyaki I cook so eating there was a pleasure. I never found it overly special but it certainly feels good not to pay over the odds for some decent Teriyaki food, I recommend Teriyaki for being a fast food option that isn't burgers. I definitely want to see this chain in the UK to add some variety to a country slowly being taken over by Five Guys, my closest Teriyaki is Italy.

I'm surprised A&W isn't more available world wide but Europe were quick to deny Root Beer entry into it's region due to some stupid rules with ingredients; as a fast food restaurant it has some fun perks with the family burger range, freedom of cajun fries seasoning and frothy mugs of Root Beer, what's not to like? At this time I'm only really appreciating A&W because compared to Burger King and McDonalds, it felt really different and new but to be honest apart from the Root Beer it's on the same par as all the others in terms of quality. I want it in the UK if only to bring back Root Beer instead of me having to pay tons of money to get an imported can from an American Candy Shop.

There will be more tomorrow as I look at Italian Places.

G-Chan's Canada Adventure Part 3 - The Wonders of North American Arcades

Welcome to the Canada logs, a lighthearted review of my recent vacation to Canada, this piece of writing will serve as a handy guide to some of the places I visited on my travels as well as some experiences I'd like to share with you.

Now it's Arcade time!

Over in Canada you can choose from many destinations to enjoy your arcade needs, starting with Clifton Hill in Niagara where many of the arcades share a lot of similarities to UK Arcades but uses a handy token system rather than your standard quarter based system, this traveller recommends the Cilfton Hill pass that gives you free tokens along with access to many of the attractions mentioned in the last episode, this also includes arcades attached to eating places such as Boston Pizza, more on food places next episode.
On the other side of the coin are Playdium and Dave & Busters, now you may be asking what the best area is, well Playdium offers more tokens for a reasonable price, has additional attractions in the form of Go-Karts, Batting Cages and Mini Golf, there's also a better chance of winning a big prize as this traveller found out when my lovely partner hit the jackpot with the tickets; you'll be pleased to know that the old style paper tickets have been replaced with handy credit cards that not only hold your ticket numbers but your credits for playing the games, please try a few times if it looks like the card doesn't work, they are very sensitive.
Dave & Busters does have just as much to offer, the area offers private function rooms in addition to it's standard facilities for the mature adult, along with a sports bar with a bigger selection of food, it also offers more up to date games as I sampled the latest arcade technology.
Now for fun lets review the top ten Arcade Moments from the trip.
10. Topping the Leaderboards on H2Overdrive
An updated version of my favorite arcade racer, this traveller thrashed the hardest difficulties.
9. Mario Kart Arcade Battle
I did lose this battle but this traveller enjoyed playing Mario Kart Arcade.
8. Touch Screen Sword Fighting
I can't remember what the game was called but one intriguing fighting game I played used touch screen for sword fighting, something Soul Calibur can learn from.
Quickly becoming my favorite arcade title, Tanks Tanks Tanks gave me the closest battle I've had with my lovely partner, we are both very competitive.
6. Winning Big on the Tickets
As mentioned earlier, between us we averaged 3000 tickets per arcade, Weston-Super-Mare you're next!
5. 4D Coaster Riding
The wonders of technology gave us a ride on a Western Dynamite Coaster with force feedback sound effects, lots of explosions, check your local arcades for other simulators.
4. Air Hockey is Painful
A reminder of how intense a game of Air Hockey can get, remember to keep the puck on the table, this is not dodge puck, but also remember not to place any part of your hand onto the Air Rink as this traveller found out the hard way, it really ****ing hurts!
3. First Person Shooter Ghost Train
A fun new innovation is combining the fun of Laser Tag with Fairground Rides and the Ghost Train in Niagara was no exception, when we get to the Wonderland episode I shall expand on this new technology further.
2. Dance Dance Revolution
I suck at Dance Dance Revolution so winning a dual made up for a lot of embarrassing moments on the Dance Pads over the years.
1. Table Stick Hockey
Table Stick Hockey offered one of my fondest memories as a young child having played a table on holiday in Majorca Spain, it was the most amazing machine I ever played. Playing it again brought back fond memories and gave me some new ones knowing that I not only won several times but won in Canada, the land of Ice Hockey.

So that was my Arcade Experience, tune in next time for a comprehensive guide on food.

G-Chan's Canada Adventure Part 2 - Niagara Falls

Welcome to the Canada logs, a lighthearted review of my recent vacation to Canada, this piece of writing will serve as a handy guide to some of the places I visited on my travels as well as some experiences I'd like to share with you.

Onto Niagara Falls

For those of a tourist nature, you cannot truly appreciate Ontario without visiting the majestic Niagara Falls, a huge monsterous landmark of water right on the border to the United States, separated by the Rainbow Bridge, it is customary for local Canadians to shout and perform gestures to the Americans sat on the other side, I can only imagine America does the same. Most people cannot possibly see Niagara Falls in one day especially if you are staying in the likes of Toronto so it's time to pick a place to spend the night for a couple of days. Keep in mind that if you take a trailer to one of the many trailer parks then you may have to navigate at least two scary bridges, but don't despair there is plenty of stops that can be made along the way, for example 40 Creek distillery will be happy to serve you their tasty whiskies, keep in mind that you should not drink and drive, there are also plenty of small shopping malls and eating stops along the way as well but we'll bring these up at a later date.
If you do have access to a trailer then Yogi Bear is on hand to offer up space to camp near Niagara Falls, if you are rich and enjoy burning money then by all means take a hotel near the Falls, camping shall be explained at a later date.
At Niagara Falls be sure to take in the majesty the Falls have to offer, tours by boat and the Maid of the Mist are great tours to go on but when the weather is acting British then it's best to take in the sights from the observation points otherwise you'll look like a drowned rat.
As is customary with a landmark such as Niagara Falls, please enjoy your leisure time at Clifton Hill tourist trap, I mean area, the best way to describe this place is a cross between Weston-Super-Mare UK, Majorca Spain and Branson Missouri USA with Canada's stupid tax system; yes the clever people of Niagara Falls thought it was a good idea to add a Tourist Improvement Tax to a tax you already have to pay when you purchase most goods in Canada, if you are local and well informed then you can refuse this load of bull tax, but it doesn't stop some places insisting on it.
There is plenty to see and do on Clifton Hill, why not take part in a Haunted House, Ripley's Museum of the Weird and Wonderful, go back in time and play 18 holes among Dinosaurs on the Mini Golf course or in the Wizard's Realm, take a huge view of the whole of Niagara with the Ferris Wheel, take a swim at the Indoor Swimming Pool with lots of impressive water slides, see a complete ripoff of the CN Tower at the Skylon Tower Restaurant, take in the colorful birds at the Paradise Park, eat copious amounts on chocolate at the Hershey's store or be amazed at the Wax Museum full of stars that are a little inaccurate to their real selves or there is always the ever popular Harley Davidson Store for your inner biker, there's also plenty of Arcades, Fast Food Outlets along with some fancier tastier places, more on food next time as well as Arcades.
If you prefer something quieter the road trail, Niagara on the Lake will have you covered, a wide assortment of Vineyards await the Wine Expert as there are many on this trail. Be sure to partake in a piece of history as you'll pass Fort George, a Victorian Army Base that serves as a reminder that Canada and the US were once enemies, those of more classy tastes should visit the Georgian Houses.
So that is the experience you can expect to find at Niagara Falls, next time I hope to discuss the funs of the Arcade.

G-Chan's Canada Adventure Part 1 - How to Navigate an Airport

Welcome to the Canada logs, a lighthearted review of my recent vacation to Canada, this piece of writing will serve as a handy guide to some of the places I visited on my travels as well as some experiences I'd like to share with you.

So lets start with the Airport.

Airport Journey
You have decided to go to Canada, so before you do anything you need to tell the Government that you intend to visit, all you need to do is answer some simple questions and you should be allowed into the country, this basic Visa lasts for five years assuming you don't change Passport or request to do anything that requires a certain Visa such as working or emigrating to Canada, speaking of which you need the new micro chipped Passport otherwise you will be refused at the Airport's immigration so it's important to make sure you comply with these rules.
It also pays to have Travel Insurance because getting hurt abroad is not fun and very expensive.
For the British, the best place to leave from is Heathrow Airport's sparkly Terminal 5, be sure that your excitement doesn't leave you waiting for bag drop off to open; but don't despair, you'll be entertained by the dance routines of Heathrow's fine Stewards and Stewardesses, keep in mind that this doesn't happen on the flight.
Before you reach airside, you'll have to clear security checks, follow the rules closely and this process should go smoothly, I have been informed by a reliable source that Warhammer is acceptable to take abroad.
On airside, you'll be greeted by several places to purchase a selection of products that are Duty Free, aka products that are not taxed by the Government, keep in mind that Canada has restrictions so keep the booze, perfumes and smokes to a minimum and try not to over spend on gifts as this will cause more hassle in Canada and extra items will require extra cost, then again when Duty Free sells Godiva, a chocolate brand notoriously difficult to find in the UK, it's worth it.
You may also eat before boarding your flight, this includes Giraffe a multi-national style restaurant, a couple of pubs, a noodle bar and a Gordon Ramsey restaurant specializing in Airfood. At time of flying the Noodle Bar was being redeveloped, this made me very sad, especially when Giraffe's food was a bit crap.
When entering the plane, British Airways may offer to upgrade you if you are a member of their club, this includes extra leg room, more booze, and fancier headphones and TV screens. Standard class in long haul still offers most of these services.
A couple of things to remember when flying long haul, the flight from London Heathrow to Toronto Pearson is 7 hours, the equal of a standard working day so it's important to take advantage of anything they offer especially food, but also bare in mind that drinking alcohol on a plane will get you drunk faster, regardless of tolerance so don't over do it, even if the offer of free booze is tempting. To relax, take advantage of the media on offer including the latest films, popular TV shows or video games, keep in mind that the touch screen devices are old and may need some force to operate, failing that just play with your phone or handheld gaming device.
Time Difference is important to consider, you may be on the flight for seven hours but from London to Toronto it will feel like two hours, your body will be confused and try and make you sleep at odd times, this may take a couple of nights to get used to.
Upon arriving you'll be required to write out a boarding card explaining your visit to Canada, yet the friendly people at immigration will still ask 20 questions on everything you are doing, even if it feels intrusive be sure to be honest and not withhold any information unless you want to be sent home, this is simpler if you are returning to Canada or are a visiting American or if you've done Canada more than once.
Once you have cleared immigration and retrieved your lonely case, then rejoice as you jump into the arms of your love, creating a scene worthy of a Youtube video, or if you are not me, find your name and follow the guy holding it.
Next Episode Niagara Falls.