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6Jul/071

Toronto Night Market

The concept of a night market is a very rare thing in Toronto. It is common in Asian countries. In Seoul, you can go to night markets all over the city and you can shop during the whole night until sunrise. Asians never sleep! Sikander found out about the Toronto Night market through a TV ad and both of us thought it would be a fun place to visit.

When we reached the market after dinner, it was full of 1-800 people. Oh about 1-800.. it is our code word for Chinese people. No offense intended. Since all Asians are regarded as Chinese in Canada, I am also "Chinese" so I am forgiven if I make fun, aren’t I? So many times chinese boys and girls have started talking to me in Chinese and I have to tell them I am not Chinese.

The Chinese talk between Sikander and I started with my efforts to avoid direct sunlight. Since I heard that 80% of skin aging is because of the sunlight, I try to avoid direct sunlight as much as I can. But it’s very hard to avoid it, especially when you are in a car.

Once when we were in the car, I said "ewww, the sunlight is so strong" and Sikander says "Don’t worry, I will call my Chinese friends and they will throw some water on the sun. It might take time but they will definitely do it." Sikander thinks the Chinese people have really dedicated work ethic and will do any and all sorts of job with enthusiasm. When the sun finally sets Sikander says, "See, they did it. Chinese can do anything you know."

Sometimes in the middle of the day, I complain, "Sikander, what are your Chinese friends doing? It's so bright." He says "Be patient, they are doing something else right now, but don’t worry, I called and they will do it soon. They definitely do it without an exception everyday."

One night recently it was really hot that we could barely sleep. Sikander remembered a air conditioner ad that he saw on the Home Shopping channel. Their phone number was 1-800-COOL-COOL. He actually called the number and asked them the price and other details. I didn’t know my husband is the kind of person who actually calls to home shopping company. Scary.

Later, we were talking about the air conditioner and the company's funny 1-800-COOL-COOL number and we thought that Chinese workers should have a toll free number too. "Need something taken care of? Call 1-800-CHINESE." Ever since, 1-800 has been a secret code word for Chinese people.

The night market was full of street vendors selling all kinds of accessories, electronic gadgets, food and so on. Of course 99% of the vendors and customers were 1-800. We wanted to find a 'Totoro' cellphone strap for Andrea. I had bought them in Incheon airport last year as gifts for our friends here in Canada. I gave Andrea's cellphone strap to Alidhooh and asked him to give it to Andrea when he sees her but he lost it and she never got it. There were lots of cellphone straps but nothing looked good.

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Sikander bought a Watermelon juice from a vendor but it was room temperature juice instead of being cold. Not good at all. After that we found a vendor who was selling items like this: there is one huge field which is filled with small open boxes side by side. You pay a dollar to get six balls and you throw the balls one by one, trying to put them in a row: vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Depending on how many balls you have in a row, you get a different prize. The smallest length of the rows has to be three and you can go up to six.

Sikander paid a dollar and I threw the balls. I thought I sucked at it but accidentally I got three balls in a row and got a little pink puffy bear. I gave it to Sikander, "This is for you" and he said, "That's not right... let’s say I threw the balls and won this puffy bear for you." "No you didn’t.. I did the hard work." "Hey, come on, if you want to talk about the puffy bear, you better say I won it." Okay okay fine.

I paid a dollar and Sikander threw the balls. He thought he sucked at it but accidentally he got three balls in a row and got a little pink puffy bear that he gave to me saying, "This is for you."

Later in the evening, around 9 PM, TeriyakiDonut (I am not joking, it’s his name. I didn’t make it up) emailed Sikander and asked, "you didn't happen to go to the Toronto Night Market on Friday night by any chance?." When Sikander replied that he had indeed visited the market, TeriyakiDonut sent him the following image.

Sikander - Photo by TeriyakiDonut

Sikander has never met TeriyakiDonut in person and they don't know each other but TeriyakiDonut recognized Sikander from the internet and took Sikander's picture in secret.

Earlier today Sikander was browsing the blogTO website and saw a very nice panorama image of Toronto. He followed the links and found out that the image was taken by someone named TeriyakiDonut on Flickr. He sent TeriyakiDonut an email asking where he took the picture from. TeriyakiDonut replied, "that shot is of the St.Clair+Yonge area, a little south and facing west. i saw your shots of CN Tower from jan07...jealous! cool shots. that was my next destination since i haven't been up there since...well...years + years." Sikander has a few images posted on his Flickr account and TeriyakiDonut had viewed them.

So, tonight TeriyakiDonut was at the Night Market with his girlfriend as well and saw Sikander, who was so standing-out among the 1-800s, and took a picture of him while he was taking this picture. It was such a strange and exciting feeling to be connected in real life with someone you barely know online.

TeriyakiDonut, remember, next time when you are surrounded by 1-800s, we are watching you and taking pictures of you secretly. So behave :P

Filed under: 2007, NightMarket 1 Comment