Dave: Jean, hi!
Jean: Hi, Dave. How are you?
Dave: Good, good.
Jean: Wait a second, I'm not calling you in Canada, right? You're back now, aren't you?
Dave: Yeah, I got back two days ago.
Jean: Oh good, phew. Because I wouldn't want to be calling you long distance without realising it and suddenly ...
Dave: You've spent a fortune on a long-distance call. No, I know, it's OK. I actually wouldn't answer the phone while I was over there if I saw the call was coming from England. But no worries, we're in the same country now.
Jean: Yeah. So, how was the trip? Did you meet your long-lost uncle?
Dave: I did, actually. It was very good. I flew to Toronto and stayed there for a few days. At first I was really worried about my accommodation because I kept reading these appalling stories about rental flats going all wrong.
Jean: Oh, was it one of those?
Jean: My friend had a disastrous experience in Barcelona with one of them. The place didn't look anything like the photos, and all the neighbours hated that there was a holiday flat in their building. Awkward situation. Urgh.
Dave: Right. So, as I was saying, I was really worried because I heard these stories. And at first I couldn't find the place. Turns out I was in the wrong building. It was next door, and on the top floor, and … wow. Jean, this place was fabulous! Really spacious, with these floor-to-ceiling windows and the most scenic views of the city. I could see the lake and the whole city skyline and skyscrapers from my bedroom. I had to pinch myself to prove I wasn't dreaming.
Jean: Sounds pretty cool. So, what's it like? The city, I mean. I've always wanted to go to Canada.
Dave: It's nice. I mean, it's another big, vibrant, modern city. But it's really clean, and there's lots of parks. One of the things I liked was the multiculturalism. We visited Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown, Little India … umm, I can't remember the others but it was sort of a new area every three or four blocks, you know?
Jean: Hey, is it true that there's a whole part of the city that's underground? I read that somewhere about Toronto, or saw it on some TV show.
Dave: It's true! I asked about that. They call it the PATH. There's, like, almost 30 kilometres of restaurants, shops, cinemas and stuff all underground. In the middle of the downtown area.
Dave: Yeah, but actually once you're down there it's not that noticeable. There's actually a lot of natural light. I forgot we were underground. It's mostly useful to get out of the cold weather.
Jean: What temperature was it while you were there?
Dave: It was still only November, but it was getting cold. We had at least a day where it was less than zero. My uncle told me that in January and February it can go down to 20 below zero.
Jean: Oh, wow. I think I'd die!
Dave: Yeah, and the worst thing was what they call the 'wind-chill' factor. So they say the temperature is zero degrees, but minus eight with the wind chill. So it feels like minus eight. And my uncle said the wind-chill factor can go down to minus 40.
Jean: Stop it! You're making me feel cold just thinking about it. So, how was meeting your uncle? The famous Uncle George.
Dave: That was great too. He lives outside of Toronto, in a cottage by a lake. Really tranquil and unspoiled nature.
Jean: I'm dying to see photos. You want to meet up soon? Or are you too jet lagged still?
Dave: Yeah, I'm actually free tomorrow if you like.