I recently booked a single night stay in London with AirBnB, who promptly told me on completion of payment that I already had a booking confirmed for that night, and would I like to cancel one of them?
It’s easy to cancel, but you don’t get a full refund; AirBnB keep the booking fee, which was about £10 in my case. The obvious question here is that if AirBnB knew I’d already booked a place for that date and even told me after booking, why didn’t they tell me before payment confirmation?
The answer is obvious. Sometimes there are shades of grey when it comes to business, but this is wholly wrong.
The Canadian National Exhibition (aka CNE/”The Ex)
My understanding of state fairs comes largely from longform pieces in magazines like The New Yorker by people like David Foster Wallace, so it’s hard to compare the CNE in Toronto with others. My expectations weren’t high, but it still felt more soulless than I’d imagined.
For example, I’d had a vision of rows of little indie food stalls each offering only a few weird and outrageously unhealthy dishes. In reality, most food options were larger and from bigger chains, which is perhaps not surprising given the scale of the event but still disappointing. Overall, it was fine: I had a noodle burger and a funnel cake with soft-serve ice cream. In retrospect, we should’ve tried the comparatively-deserted ribfest instead, but it was a bit out of the way and we only came across it later. I imagine it’s much busier in the evenings.
The indoor lantern festival, Legends of the Silk Road Come to Light, was quite pretty in an obvious way. Someone in China has clearly figured out that westerners really like to look at realistic-looking lanterns, and decided to engage in a bit of not-so-subtle cultural diplomacy that a) takes a modicum of credit for all achievements made along “Silk Road” nations and b) encourages us to feel good about their dreadfully-named “Belt and Road Initiative”.
I’d like to know more about how these lanterns are made. It’d make for a good longform article, I think. I can’t imagine they’re especially challenging to make, and I would like to see more daring and innovation amongst the endless dragons and such.
There was a water skiing demo featuring a truly groan-worthy framing story about a wedding party. I guess these stories are a way for announcers to fill the silence and make proceedings seem more ‘approachable’? In any case, I was impressed by the announcer pre-emptively telling us that each stunt was extremely risky in case of its likely failure. One of the skiiers had a ‘water jetpack’ which was even cooler than my highest expectations. We also walked past the parkour, whose audience sounded like they were having more fun..
The flower competition was getting a bit wilted by the time we arrived. I occasionally entertain the idea of finding the least competitive category and entering, so I can add it to my bio.
The shops were generally bad and not worth visiting.
First off, you must get the National Museums Passport! It costs only $35 and it’s worth it if you plan to visit more than one museum – which you absolutely should. Continue reading “Canadian Travel Notes: Toronto & Ottawa”