Wednesday, November 03, 2010


The European Union commissioners have announced that agreement has been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has been accepted a five year phased plan for what will be known as EuroEnglish (Euro for short).

In the first year, "s" will be used instead of the soft "c". Sertainly, sivil servants will reseive this news with joy. Also, the hard "c" will be replaced with "k". Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter.

There will be growing public enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replased by "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20 persent shorter.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expected to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent "e"s in the language is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" by "z" and "w" by "v". During ze fifz year, ze unesesary "0" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou", and similar changes vud, of kors, be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German lik zey vunted in ze forst plas...

[source: Unknown]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Night out in Downtown Toronto

Now, that is why I like Toronto: small enough to get by, big enough to shine like a star during the night... After parking my "shiny" car, which was incomparably easy to Manhatan, Brooklyn, London and even Tel Aviv, I've met with the Professor (no name... right?) and we headed in search for a pub worth our presence.
The first place was a "local" dump; I don't even know its name, only that it is located at the west side of Front St., between Downtown and the Distillery District. There was a corporate event (at least we assumed it is) and some 20+ woman, after having questionable quantities of alcoholic beverages, were singing loudly Karaoke. It was fun, but...
Since we were hungry (for food), we went on in a search for a decent place and that is when we found "Le Petit Déjeuner" located on 191 King Street East. What a gem...! It is a small place (when you compare it to the typical sport bar) but with such an ambiance - high ceilings, exposed brick and soothing red and brown colours. The cafe is run by a (very friendly) Belgium owner with whom we had a lengthy chat, and it serves a good selection of European and local beers and excellent food (my mussels were fantastic).
From there (it was after 11PM), we headed back to Union Station when P.J. O'Brient got our attention. It is an Irib pub located on 39 Colborne Street, a small alley between King Street and Wellington Street, and boy... they know how to have fun! There was a live band playing Irish tunes, tough bartender (the one that has a baseball bat under the counter), a huge selection of Irish, European and local beers on a tap and a lot of good looking (all Irish) people having fun (dancing, singing, etc).
Then, even the traffic went to bed...

Monday, June 07, 2010

The Mill Street Lemon Tea Beer Challenge

Enjoy the speech (click on the picture) and... vote for us! ;)

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Long Weekend in Finger Lakes

What a joy! At the moment, I'm sitting on a sunny patio in the Liberty Village (Toronto), sipping cold cider and trying to recall all the details of the last weekend in Finger Lakes.
We left Mississauga around 6AM on a cloudy Saturday morning with 4 hours of driving ahead of us. Crossing the US border was much quicker this time (compare to previous time we drove to NY) and soon we were driving on American soil. We stopped at the very first petrol station because we were driving on fumes rather than petrol - the yellow warning light was blinking ferociously...
We met our friends on the outskirts of Ithaca and after hugs (man) and kisses (girls) headed for the Robert H. Truman State Park. The park was everything you could expect from a state park: immense and very green! We were quickly given a key to our cabin.
After unpacking and drove 5 minutes to the upper park to do hiking and take a glimpse at the Old Mill and the 115-foot Lucifer Falls (catchy name).
Later that evening, we made (vegetarian) BBQ and headed to Ithaca to explore the city. Ithaca is a home of Cornell University and the Ithaca College (according to Wikipedia, with almost 20,000 students) so there was abundant night life to satisfy even the most hardcore clubber.
The following day we walked the walk! After cooking and eating (our friends were well prepared) late breakfast we soldered the Rim Trail (2.25 miles), the Red Pine Trail (½ mile) and the Gorge Trail (2.25 miles), not without incidents.

On a way to Upper Park (that would be the Rim Trail), girls were obsessive about cameras and lenses.

They literally took picture of everything that moved, grew or just happened to be in the park, and that included a beautiful red gecko.
On a way back, they had a chance to take a photo of two fat snakes (I think those were Mississauga snakes) that happened to be on our path but instead they demonstrated their vocal abilities (yeah... screaming on top of their lungs). 
Later that day, we drove (again) to Ithaca to stroll on the waterfront promenade, quick visited Cornell University and finished our day with a very nice dinner at the Boat Yard Grill restaurant (

On our third (and last) day, we have decided to rent kayaks. After a morning discussion of Russian foreign policy and whatever Latvians are too nationalistic (there is nothing like politics for breakfast), we headed to Puddle Dockers (

Our friends took a single kayak each and we decided to share a tandem version. Of course, after the excitement died out, I was the only “engine” to put that kayak (which was big enough to be called a “barge”) across the lake. It was sunny and we have managed to sneak two bottles of apple cider and cherry beer... IT WAS FUN! Then followed locally sourced, organic, non GM lunch and we headed home. This time the border crossing was 2 and 1/2 hours long, but who cares...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

"High-flyer" (18th floor) Garden

Today, I have planted the seeds of what will become my own home grown food (it doesn't get more organic than this)! Since I don't have any access to a yard to plant my garden in, I will use my balcony that gets enough of sun. Of course, it also means that I will be on a war with local (Mississauga) pigeons...
As it is my first "adventure" in gardening, I am starting small. What I have at the moment are onions, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, rosemary, basil, dill and mélisse.
I know there are some holes in my gardening knowledge, so feel free to comment with advice.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bruce Peninsula and Five National Parks

Who could have know that after a hellishly hot week there will be a freezing weekend? We were planning to spend a lazy weekend on a Sauble beach and maybe... maybe doing a short trail. I assume that due to our luck of prayer (yeah, we have been skipping it lately), it was not meant to happen...
Crowsnest Pub &  Restaurant
When we left Mississauga on Friday it was raining and by the time we reached Tobermory (300 km north west) it was snowing, quite heavily. After checking in into our luxurious cabin (Peacock Villa) which was upgraded due to late cancellation (normal people, who stayed home), we went to explore the wonders of the town. Located on a shores of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, it is a standard summer town. It had one (decent) pub, one (decent) restaurant, one (decent) diner, one (decent) supermarket and a bunch of tourist-ware. Basically, everything you need on a vacation... After having the freshest white fish fillet and a pint of locally brewed ale at the Crowsnest Pub & Restaurant, we ploughed our way back to the cabin in the snow (whole 300 meters) dreading the next morning (the weather forecast was not favourable at all)...
The next morning, we went to have breakfast in the only (decent) diner in the town. Since the temperature was below zero and we were wearing everything we had (layers and layers of summer clothes), the only thing I remember about breakfast is the fact that it was hot!
After breakfast, we did some quick shopping (food), we drove to Tobermory lighthouse located right on the shore of Lake Huron. Although the rain has almost stopped, it was really windy and the waves were spectacular! Since the weather was still quite bad, we have decided to make Saturday's hike short and spend the rest of the day in the cabin... cooking.
As I have mentioned before, Tobermory is located on the shore of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay, home of a Fathom Five Marine National Park. The park itself is spread along the lake shore. The nearby islands can be reached by ferry. After paying the admission fee of $5.60 per person for two days we made a short trail (~5km) and headed back to our cabin for the rest of the day.
On the next morning, we were greeted by a cloudless sunny day! After having “home cooked” breakfast, we headed to Bruce Peninsula National Park (~14km from the Tobermory and $11.30 entrance fee per vechicle). This time, we wanted to explore as much as possible. We started on a “Horse Lake” trail, switched to “Bruce” trail (leading to the Grotto) and returned on the “Cyprus Lake” trail, about 6km in total.

It is extremely hard to describe the beauty of the region in words, therefore I will let the images do it for me...


Heron Nest on a Horse Lake

Georgian Bay Stone Beach

Georgian Bay

Overhanging Point over Georgian Bay

Cliffs over Georgian Bay

The "Grotto"

Georgian Bay

Marr Lake

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moving to the (far) north...

After three month in Canada, I think it is about time I write about our experience moving here. As surprising as it may sound, it was quite easy. I got a job which did not require Labor Market Opinion (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and within a month and a half we were parking our heavily loaded KIA at an underground parking in Mississauga. Three months later, we have Ontario Health Insurance, Ontario Driving License and Social Insurance cards...
There are two ways to apply for Work Permit (Citizenship and Immigration Canada before and after arrival. In my case, I have decided to take a chance and apply upon arrival at the airport, and although it sounds as a huge gamble it is not as long as you have all your papers in order (passport, job offer letter and evidences of qualification). I also had a pre-filled Work Permit application and, B4 and B4A (Goods to Follow) forms for the Canadian Custom (Canada Border Services Agency to go through the process quicker; so after 15 minutes with immigration officer and a $150 fee, I had my Work Permit and was ready to go.

Although it is possible to agree with a private landlord, I have opted for a property management company. There are many of them, offering apartments for rent throughout GTA ( and but the main disadvantage is that you are tied to it for a year. On the other hand, staying in hotel for a month or more could be quite expensive, and the fact that you are “forced” to eat in the restaurants does not help. In addition, most of apartments are rented unfurnished so you will need to consider that as well. In the first couple of weeks, we have literally sponsored IKEA but it is possible to get second hand furnishes from friends/relatives (if you have those), Kijiji or Craigslist.
But the biggest change for me was the banking system.

While in UK, basic bank accounts were (usually) free, in Canada a large majority of banks do not offer fee-free accounts. Although the fee is not exceptionally high (I have lived in Israel and the fees charged there are twice higher than in Canada), I still think it is not fair. After doing a short research, I have found a financial institution (PC Financial which offers fee-free banking account with unlimited transactions per month but everything is done via Internet or ATMs. To move money between UK and Canada, you can either user your bank (expensive) or company specializing in currency trade (HiFX or XE The later option is (usually) free and (again, usually) provides better exchange rate.

After sorting out accommodation and bank account, the next step would be a driving license and Social Insurance Number. In Canada, each province has its own driving license authority and even if you move from British Columbia to Ontario you will be required to exchange your license within 3 month. In Ontario, you can exchange your driving license if you are from Canada (other province), US or number of countries with reciprocal exchange agreement. Th rest have to take a written and practical driving test (Ontario Ministry of Transportation The Social Insurance Number is much easier; all you have to do is to fill a half page form (Service Canada
The last thing is to apply for OHIP (Ontrio Heath Insurance Program). Most Ontario residents are eligible for provincially funded health coverage but it becomes effective only three months after the date you establish residency in Ontario (Ontario Ministry of Heath

I hope my little post was informative and helpful.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Recipe: Chushki Burek

Don't ask my why my first Canadian post is about food, but...
There are endless versions of Chushki Burek which is a Bulgarian "Stuffed Peppers". To prepare them (my version) we will need:
  • 4 green bell peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large ripe tomato
  • 2 bunches of flat leaf parsley
  • 300gr feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • sweet paprika, freshly grounded black pepper and salt
First, we need to boil the green peppers in a large souse pan for approximately 5 minutes, until they are soft. Then, split them in half, deseed (remove the seeds), clean and leave to dry.
While the green peppers are in water, finely chop everything else (including red peppers) and mix it with spices and olive oil.
Finally, fill in the halfs with the mixture and bake it at 180C for approximately 30 minutes.