By the end of Day 1 we had learned Lessons 3 and 2.
Lesson 3 – The USD might be stronger, but the local currency is king. We paid for gas in USD (cash). When the husband returned with change, he looked extremely puzzled. “I should be getting more change than this, right?”, he asked me. On checking the bill we found that the conversion rate used was not just below market rate, it made the Canadian dollar stronger. Ergo, convert in advance and always trade in local currency.
On a separate note, yes it’s the bill here as one waitress made it a point to tell us. Talking of currency, the USD may be stronger, but the Canadian dollar is prettier; and as we found out the USD is not always stronger. A clear case of beauty bringing might to its knees, eh?
Lesson 2 – Check your roaming rates before you leave the country. I was using my cell phone to co-ordinate with the bestie and my data plan to navigate the city, when I got a message from AT&T asking me to call on their toll free number to avoid an astronomical bill. Usually I ignore messages from my service provider, luckily this time I called. In less than 24 hours I had run up a bill of $100+ (USD) for usage of approximately 8 MB of data. We immediately purchased an international data package – $30 (USD)for 120 MB, which AT&T backdated. The plan is valid for a month after which it automatically lapses.
We paid $ 42 (Canadian) for 4 hrs of parking because we didn’t interpret the rate board correctly. Since we had parked for beyond 6 pm, day charges and night charges both were applied. Look for parking spots marked with big green Ps for more reasonable parking in the city. Talking of Ps, this is Canada, please mind your Ps and Qs, thank you.