Those of you who follow my blog know that I have grown up in Cairo and Jeddah. You can imagine, the idea of ever experiencing -40 degrees was unimaginable. For the longest time, I thought people couldn’t survive in places like this, which was why the need for so much booz was needed.

This past week, I took the week of school to attend the national conference of an organization Engineers without Borders. The conference was called Looking Back, Moving Forward and would be held in Canada’s capital Ottawa. While looking for flights, I realized I could go to Toronto as well for a little more, so when an opportunity falls in your lap, you take it. The plus side was because we were part of the university club we got our travel costs 60% subsidized. Thank you SFU 🙂

Vancouver’s winters are pretty mild, with around -5% being the coldest it can go, so you can imagine my surprise my surprise when I landed in Toronto airport and the door of the airport I felt like the scene of dumb and dumber. I literary had to wear everything in my luggage, and that was what I did the whole time I was there.

My friend Karim who I was staying with, started to have an outburst of hysterical laughter when we were talking about when we were kids, we taught we would be dead. If that wasn’t cold enough, I decided we should also visit Niagara Falls.

Even though it was frozen, it was gorgeous. You should see the heaviness of the water in between the ice. For those traveling on a budget, the cheapest way to visit is through the Niagara Casino bus (20 dollars return), the price includes a membership card. For those staying in Toronto the card allows them to travel back and forth return for 7 dollars.

On the way back from Niagara Falls we caught the wrong bus in the wrong direction. Karim and I were stranded, we had to get out in the -40 degrees and wait 20 minutes for the bus. This was the longest 20 minutes of my life, at one point I couldn’t feel my fingers, toes, tips of my ears and nose. It started to impact my hearing. We wanted to take a cab, but because we were in the middle of nowhere to call a cab, would take just as long as waiting for the bus.

Even with the cold, Toronto has a great feel, the city is huge, and spread out a lot more than Cairo is. It has the same energy of the hustle and bustle and people are really busy. Its ironic because Vancouver west coast chilled pace has what a huge impact on me. I also got to see my second stand up comedy show ever in Yuk Yuks which is an international stand up comedy bar and catch with a friend Assem.

I can now say I have ticked off surviving -40 degrees and visiting Niagara Falls from my bucket list.

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