Canada

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Our arrival in Toronto was marked by a real blow. We left Ottawa in the morning, and reached the big metropolis in the afternoon. We got into a residential area in Little Italy, where our accommodation reserved a few months before via Booking.com was waiting for us. Victorian houses surrounded by small lawns and nice gardens ran along there in an absolute peace and quiet. We were delighted by that place and thought staying there would be very pleasant.
Unfortunately, we were quickly disillusioned when we went to the address indicated on the confirmation e-mail. The ground floor was under construction: there, we saw a wheelbarrow, a concrete mixer, a pile of sand, concrete bags and suchlike… Besides, nobody was here to welcome us. We went upstairs to the top floor - where we were supposed to stay -  taking the outside staircase and found ourselves in front of the door to our apartment, close to which a keypad was fixed. However, we had received no e-mail with the access code. As for the owner, she was unreachable.
We already had the same kind of trouble on the night of our arrival in Montreal: we had to stay more than two hours outside with our luggage before we were finally able to have access to our apartment, after we exchanged numerous e-mails and made long phone calls – obviously very expensive given that we were abroad – during which we were put on hold for endless minutes.
So, we got used to the fact that we would meet the same fate hardly a few days later. Unfortunately, we were far short, because what was waiting for us was much worse. As we were running out of options, we decided to split into two duos: one made other endless and expensive phone calls, the other went to a luxury hotel on a corner of the street to have some Wi-Fi and try to find a solution via the internet. There, the staff was very nice and allowed us to stay as long as necessary. But we were not able to solve the problem that way. So we gathered in front of the home. And, as we did not have enough trouble, we saw a couple of German with their kid walk into the house. We started a conversation with them and we realized they stayed in the apartment that was dedicated to us. They arrived the day before. Thus, we understood we were the victims of an overbooking with the first-come, first-served basis. We were homeless at that very moment, like common alley cats. The owner was still unreachable. We shared those new elements on the phone with the Booking.com customer service. Finally, they found us fall-back solution: two rooms in a nearby hotel. They sent us an
e-mail to have access to the new reservation. We felt such a relief.
J.R. and I immediately went back to the same hotel on the corner of the street to have access to the Wi-Fi to read that e-mail. The very likeable staff accepted once again willingly. Unfortunately, we were quickly disillusioned as we realized the immeasurable incompetence of the Booking.com customer service: as we clicked on the link on the confirmation e-mail, it turned out that the hotel was… FULL!!!  As we had not been through enough with that overbooking, they proposed us a fall-back solution that was a full hotel! Were we supposed to sleep on the floor in the middle of the reception?
We understood we could not count on those shirkers and searched ourselves hastily for accommodation. Most of those who were available were either in the center but overpriced, either more affordable but a little too far. We finally found one in the center which was a little cheaper that the others. It was still more expensive than our original accommodation. But, as Booking.com promised us to refund the difference, we did not hesitate. Indeed, it was the heart of the summer, and given that Toronto is much prized and moreover close to Niagara Falls – one of the most visited sites in the world – we had to seize that opportunity. So, I reserved and paid with my credit card, which caused unforeseen expenditure. We quickly had a confirmation mail. Everything was better (or rather less bad).
We were relieved. Despite all, we told ourselves with J.R. that the owner of the house – who moreover still had not given any sign of life – had pulled a dirty trick on us and could not get away with it. So, we decided to go and pee in her garden, given that we started to feel the urge. We gave the staff a good tip after we warmly thanked them for their help and their kindness.
Once we arrived in front of the house, we told ourselves that peeing in the garden kind of sucked because anyone in the street could see us. So, we went to do number one behind on the terrace that was under construction like the ground floor. We saw close to a wall a hot pool that diffused some curls of steam in contact with the fresher air. Thus, we understood that our friend had the same idea – and above all the same urge – as us and beat us to it, overwhelmed by a state of ultimate bliss we could imagine. As a result, our inspiration and our stimulation were multiplied. We started without further delay, with our male parts out, staring into space. In addition to the usual relief and sense of well-being due to that saving daily practice, we had the feeling of satisfying a visceral need of revenge, which turned out to be particularly thrilling… but which was brutally broken by the unbearable shrill voice of the owner who –what a coincidence – came out of nowhere exactly at that very moment whereas we had no response from her for the whole afternoon. She told us, both numb and outraged: «what you guys are you doing? Aren’t you ashamed? It’s a lack of respect!» J.R., who was done, started towards her. As for me, like Gérard Jugnot in the French movie «Les bronzés font du ski», I finished what I had started. Anyway, we were outstripped… Then, I also went to meet her and explained to her that the real lack of respect was her disgusting overbooking practice that got travelers who were thousands of kilometers away from home in such a mess, throwing them into the street like common tramps. I added that if she only had done things in due form, we would not be peeing on her terrace, but in the bathroom of her apartment that was dedicated to us, the more as we had been waiting for her in front of her house for hours holding our pee. We shouted at each other like that a few minutes. Still, she ended up apologizing.
We took leave of that charming person to head for Downtown where our hotel was. Once we arrived there, we realized it was a seedy establishment in a seedy district. First, the hall was dark, narrow and… under construction! Decidedly, it never stopped! The poor girl at the reception and her colleague were confined in the middle of cartons, stacks of files and wires all around. The rooms were lousy and smelled stuffy. They were not aired because windows could not be opened. The old air conditioners were shabby and made the hell of a noise. We took a look at the collective kitchen. In the fridge, we saw very poor quality food, even expired, notably a started stick of butter of a very doubtful color. It must have been there for months. All that reinforced our will to have every meal outside
It was located in Jarvis Street (photo), almost at the corner of Queen Street. Those two long streets are globally nice and enjoy attractive places… excepted precisely in that area where they intersect. That district was much infamous. We met homeless, some of whom had crazy eyes or junkie eyes and stared at us insistently. We quickly understood why the porter asked us expressly not to let into the hotel someone who followed us and was not known as a guest or a member of the staff. That was so not reassuring!
Finally, we climbed up to the rooftop, where the view of a part of the Toronto skyline by night was nice. As we were leaving to go back to our rooms, the porter – who was sitting there casually chatting with a few colleagues – told us: «take care!»… Just in case we did not understand that neighborhood was a skid row…

Published on December 18th 2018