Yesterday, I picked up R at the closest subway station (or light rail, I’m not sure which) and we set off for a day of city luxuries. It turned out to be a day of very minor city luxuries because we are too cheap for much in the way of city fun. We tried to go to Mission Impossible and it was $26 per ticket. $26! Thank you, but I’ll wait until it hits some television-type format.
But I’d picked out a restaurant for lunch that sounded like a bistro-type pub — interesting food, claiming to have gluten-free options. We got there and it turned out to be more like a combination sports bar/Applebee’s, with the only gluten-free items on the menu being pad thai or potato skins. We decided to pass and left.
I was frustrated, because we’d both spent quite a while browsing various review apps on our phones, trying to find the perfect place, but there was a Vietnamese restaurant in the same strip mall-type place, so we decided to go there.
Without reading any reviews.
Without consulting TripAdvisor or Yelp or even Google.
And it was delicious! I had mango salad and shrimp summer rolls and R had pho. I took one bite of his pho before he added hoisin sauce (which has gluten, so is not an option for me) and it was so delicious that I ordered myself a pho to go. I ate it for dinner last night and lunch today and it was so good that I’m now feeling in ridiculous harmony with the world. Good soup, that’s all one needs to cheer one up.
I liked the restaurant so much that I went to TripAdvisor to leave a review for it and… it doesn’t exist! Or at least not in Trip Advisor. But for anyone wandering around Toronto, it was called Good Pho You, and that’s the right address and the right menu, even if the name on the website is Mr. Ping’s Noodles. And it was very good for me, several times. If it rains tomorrow, I might have to go back there.
Why is rain connected to dinner, you wonder? Because R and his girlfriend are coming over. I’m planning on making chicken piccata, gluten-free, which is a food I don’t make when I’m on my own, because it requires wine and I need someone else around to drink up the wine. But dinner in the van for more than two people only works when it’s really dinner outside at a picnic table. Still, if my chicken piccata plan fails, we will have Vietnamese and I, at least, will be content.
In even more positive news, albeit already mentioned, R and his girlfriend are coming over for dinner tomorrow. I haven’t met her yet, but I’m looking forward to it. R paid her a compliment that I am not allowed to repeat (not because it’s overly personal, but because he feels it might stress her out to have to live up to said compliment), but it makes me highly inclined to think I’m going to like her a lot. I’d probably think that anyway, though, because R is so happy about their relationship. I told him that while I refuse to take on his unhappiness as my own, his happiness boosts mine by about 20%. So happiness boosted and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.
In additional positive news, Zelda is doing great. She’s not limping anymore, even on long walks. And we’ve run into some other dogs on our walks and she’s been perfectly pleasant to them. I was worried that she might adopt an “attack first” attitude, but a lifetime of good dog encounters has not been jeopardized by the one Very Bad Encounter. At least not for her. I’m working on my own anxiety around the issue.
The only continuing problem for her is that after hurting herself when jumping off the bed a few times in the first days after the VBE, she’s decided against doing that anymore. I’m hoping she’ll get over it eventually, but right now, she jumps up on the bed and then gets trapped there until I realize she’s standing, staring at the ground, and help her down.
And another positive — I’ve made a decision about what I’m doing next! I’ve really been debating about what to do, where to go. I know I write better and more when I sit still. The past two weeks have been terrible writing weeks, because I’ve done so much driving. But what’s the point of living in a van if it doesn’t include some adventuring? If I’m just living in a tiny space, I could do that much more comfortably in one that had a permanent connection to hot water.
Anyway, I was debating between heading west and going along the north side of the Great Lakes all the way to Winnipeg, then south through North Dakota in order to see North Dakota (#49 on my list of states); or heading west to Michigan and visiting the upper peninsula, as missed earlier in the summer; or heading south through New York, over to New Hampshire and Massachusetts and then continuing south.
I decided to do none of the above.
If you were to take a list of the top 50 things to see in the US, I would have seen most of them. Not all of them. I’ve never been to Yellowstone, Glacier, Carlsbad Caverns or Denali. I’ve not watched Old Faithful or visited Craters of the Moon. And there are definitely places I’d like to spend more time, like the Great Smoky Mountains and the entire state of New Mexico. But the places that I actually want to see? Not just “will go see, because hey, why not?” but “want to see”? There are not so many of them left. In fact, when I — in exasperation with myself — meditated on that question only one popped into my head.
Prince Edward Island.
Which, conveniently enough, is actually in the same country that I’m currently in! Not exactly close to where I currently am, but close is relative, right?
So I’m heading to Prince Edward Island, hoping to find places to stay along the way that don’t involve too many parking lots. This last week of summer is a terrible time to find campgrounds and places are mostly booked. And I don’t want to brave PEI until after Labor Day if I can manage it, since this is peak tourist season. But Labor Day is only two weeks away. On Wednesday, I’ll head to a campground in Quebec for the weekend, and then after that… well, I’ll play it by ear, I guess. But I’m excited! Anne of Green Gables country! And the ocean! And then south through Maine and maybe even some New Hampshire autumn foliage.
Life is good.