The following is taken from my journal entry on the day we observed the Gay Pride parade in Toronto. The previous day (Saturday, June 24, 2006) can be found here.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
I woke up very early this morning and had some trouble going back to sleep. I finally crawled out of bed at 7:30. After showering and dressing, we went downstairs. One of the fellows we met yesterday at breakfast was reading poetry on the patio. We joined him with coffee provided by smiling John, the breakfast man. Shortly, two gay women from Detroit joined us, then a large muscular man with shorts and work boots came in. He was followed by his husband. They had just married yesterday. They were friendly guys, the first of whom made some interesting observations about Michigan after hearing Barb and me talk to the Detroit ladies about the state. One of the ladies had very bright pink hair and tattoos. I was having fun listening to and participating in the conversation when we heard some voices at the breakfast table inside.
Barb and I decided to see who was there. Two women and one man were at the table. We introduced ourselves. They were Elke and Ernst Seilheimer and their friend Jutta Rheinhardt, all from Germany. Jutta is accomplished at English, and acted as interpreter for the rest of us. Ernst did know some English, particular lyrics from Elvis Presley songs like “Don’t Be Cruel,” and “Hound Dog.” Ernst asked me what a hound dog is. I explained as best I could, and Jutta interpreted. They were lots of fun. Before we left the breakfast table, I spoke a German phrase I learned in high school. The English translation is “Don’t hit your head on the lamp.” I was gratified that all the Germans at the table understood my German. I’m beginning to like this B&B more every minute. Barb and I walked into town after breakfast and returned to the Ethan Center. She bought a black and white outfit for Sara’s wedding, and also some fancy earrings. We ate lunch in the mall. I had a turkey sandwich and Barb had a salad and a bagel with tomato and lettuce. We walked around in the mall for several hours before going outside to watch the parade. We walked to the intersection of Jonge and Gerrard but couldn’t even get close because of the thousands upon thousands of people. We walked several blocks east and took positions as close to Gerrard as we could. The beginning of the parade came by a few minutes later. We stood for over two hours and watched wave after wave of Gay Pride participants.
It was great fun. We saw lots of outlandish outfits, some nude guys wearing cock rings, and lots of gay people of all races and ethnicity and persuasion. We got sunburned and dehydrated, but were in pretty good shape by the end of the parade. I took hundreds of photos and some MPEG movies with my camera. I should have taken my camcorder along. Words can’t begin to describe the sights we saw today. After the parade was over, we walked back to the B&B along Gerrard. The parade had actually ended not far from the B&B. When we entered the house, Geoffrey was in the process of showing a new young couple around. Geoffrey asked if we had attended the parade with our “German friends.” I said no, and that I didn’t know where they were. He asked if there had been nudity in the parade, which he doesn’t approve of. I said yes, and that I could show him the pictures. He declined, saying he would probably get sick. The young couple were from Scotland. His name was John, and was a native Scot. His wife’s name was Baz, and she was from Spain. She was cute, he looked like a bumbling skinhead. They were referred to the House on Parliament restaurant by Geoffrey. We saw them there when we walked down a short while later. They drank their beer on the patio. We sat down inside (again). We both ordered smoked salmon on focaccia and salads. It was delicious. Barb had a glass of Shiraz and I had a pint of Creemore. Total was $40 including tip. We returned to the B&B after dinner and drank the balance of the second bottle of Reif wine that we bought on Friday. We then decided to walk west on the next street north (Carleton) and find a Tim Hortons. We made it all the way to downtown before finding one. There must have been a million people downtown. Lots of gays of both sexes were out and about. We returned to the B&B after turning around and working our way back on the north side of the street. We found the Germans on the patio. Jutta was drinking a beer. Ernst and Elke were sipping water. We sat down and talked with them. We must have talked for well over an hour. Elke retired first, then Ernst joined her. Jutta remained and we discussed her traveling experiences (she worked in import-export). She lives in Berlin. She is a good conversationalist and understands human nature. She could probably be a great travel guide if we should ever visit Berlin. Geoffrey came out at about 10:30 and asked us to put a spoon through the latch of the door into the house when we retired. He went to bed. Before Ernst left us this evening he said, as plain as can be, “Good night. Sleep tight. Don’t let the beg bugs bite.” I was flabbergasted that a German would know such a saying. I told him that my mother used to say that to me. Ernst learned it from a former schoolmate who lives in Canada. It’s 11:44 and I must go to bed.