Yes! I DID get my passport in time to go to Toronto! My hubby, of course, thinks it's all because of him simply because he happened to check the passport website Wednesday night before I left only to find that they had FINALLY updated my status to processed and being mailed. Fortunately they FedExed it overnight and we ran to the FedEx warehouse to pick it up Thursday night. So...I flew out Monday morning with 2 other ladies from my lab and 2 ladies from another lab in our dept. We spent the next five days (Mon-Fri) attending the HUGE, overwhelming conference, visiting not one, but TWO local microbreweries, and eating and drinking lots of yummy stuff! Toronto was great - I would completely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun weekend get-away!
Their Chinatown is supposed to be one of the best, and although we only made it there one night, we found a FABULOUS Vietnamese restaurant our first night in town. The first brewery we toured (Steam Whistle) was actually across the street from the convention center (where our conference was being held). The brewery had tours all day starting at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5:00pm! Conveniently enough for us, we were able to have lunch then head over to the 1:00 tour with just enough time left to get back to the afternoon session of the conference. This brewery gave a GREAT tour and we got to drink multiple glasses of their Steamwhistle Pilsner (they only make one beer, but they do it well!). Uncle KT even managed to convince an older woman to share her pretzel with her over beers! :)
The second brewery we hit was Amsterdam Brewing Company - a slightly long walk from the convention center, and seemingly located in the middle of NOWHERE, but completely worth it! We were 20 minutes early for the 5:00pm tour, so our tour guide, Adam-the-laid-back-beer-guy, gave us a stack of small plastic cups and told us to help ourselves to any and all of the 8 different kinds of beer on tap! YUM!
Adam-the-laid-back-beer-guy wasn't super informative, but he did let us four girls continue to drink for 3.5 hours! It wasn't until Katie went to the bathroom only to come back with a bloody hand that we decided it was probably time to head home! But...we stocked up on beer and piled into a cab to get back to the hotel. There we finished out the evening eating lots of pizza and watching the season finale of LOST (which I still probably need to rewatch since I'm pretty sure I wasn't paying much attention!) :)
All in all, it was a good trip! The conference, although sometimes long and definitely overwhelming, was fun - I sat in on talks about food safety, bioterrorism, and emergency preparedness, to name just a few. The poster session was an hour and a half of straight talking - every time I finished explaining my poster to someone/s there was already someone else that wanted to hear about my work. This resulted in me almost losing my voice, however, it was a good sign that my research is heading in an interesting direction. Now I can start getting excited for next year's ASM general meeting - in BOSTON!!