Monday, July 5, 2010

Day at the Museum

I haven't visited the ROM since its not-so-recent renovation, and I have always wanted to go again because we didn't have enough time to see everything we wanted to see the last time we visited.  With the Chinese Terracotta Army on exhibition and the $5-off coupon from T&T Supermarket, we took advantage of the day-off in the middle of the week (i.e. Canada Day) and made a trip downtown.

Traffic wasn't busy and the scenic view of the Don Valley was quite nostalgic - the last time we drove through there must have been when we were still at UofT.  We found parking quite easily at the Intercontinental Hotel, which is just across the street from the ROM.  The Crystal looked menacing - I'm not sure I like it - it's like an asteroid has hit the ROM building.  Maybe we just didn't see it in a favorable light.

There was more to read then to see in the Terracotta Army exhibit.  It was definitely an interesting lesson on Chinese history, and it was quite amazing to see some of the artifacts that I've only seen on textbooks.  The exhibit gave a detailed introduction to the rise of the short-lived Qin Dynasty.  Half-way through the exhibit B's stomach started to growl but we didn't realize the ticket is only good for one-time use - once we left we wouldn't be able to get in again.  So we hastily saw the rest of the exhibit and left - there weren't much to see after the life-size terracotta soldiers anyway - the Han Dynasty section seemed like an afterthought to fill up leftover space.

We didn't see anything we liked in Food Studio, the fast food restaurant inside the museum, so we ventured out onto Bloor St. and within steps, found this really nice breakfast-and-lunch joint with a patio called "Over Easy".  For under $25 both of us were stuffed - the aptly named Big Breakfast included a pancake, 3 eggs, 3 strips of bacon, baked beans, potato and toasts, and the Meat Lover's Omelette filled with ham, bacon and sausage had a generous serving size too.  I've never had such a perfect pancake - lightly dusted with icing sugar, it was crispy on the outside yet so light and fluffy on the inside.  It was a bite of heaven when topped with butter and syrup.  The baked beans was amazing too - there were pieces of bacon among the tender beans in the richly flavored sauce, nothing like the canned stuff we used to get as kids.  And included in the meal was a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  It's such a nice thing to do on a gorgeous summer afternoon -delicious brunch on a shaded patio.

We got back into the ROM hoping to walk off some of our brunch, and saw animals, dinosaurs, crystals and gems.  We saw moose, both the specimen of the modern kind and the reconstructed fossils of the extinct kind.  I was drooling over a big round diamond when the security guard shooed us out at closing time - and there were so much more that we never got to see.  Like the mummies.  And the chainmails.  And the rest of the gems and jewellry collection.  I knew we wouldn't have enough time but was still quite disappointed to not have seen everything we wanted to see.  We will have to find another chance to visit the ROM again :)

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