Instead of our original sardine-can seats, Air Canada put us in the roomy emergency-exit row seating – which, by the way, costs $75 if you pre-book your seat. See. Delays are gooooooood. Sadly, we didn’t rate an upgrade to executive class. Sigh.
Leg One: Neighbour Dan arrives in his posh Ford Flex hybrid to drive us to airport. Traffic congestion – moderate. Arrival at airport – on time. On-ride conversation: Politics and general grousing about stupid decision to put McKenzie overpass at McTavish (yes, that is the McKenzie overpass, just put in the wrong place – sorry only Victorians will know what I’m talking about here).
Leg Two: First flight to Vancouver delayed; we may not make our connection to Toronto.
Leg Two the second: One flight from Victoria to Vancouver cancelled to mechanical issues. Crowd at Gate 6 searches under seats for pitchforks, farming implements. Finding none, they shrug and line up like Canadians, wearing their sternest frowns of disapproval.
Leg Two the third: Arrive in Vancouver and as per instruction, race to Air Canada service desk to join fray of angry/annoyed/resigned passengers whose trips have taken unexpected turns/delays. Not us. We’re happy that a. no planes have crashed (so far) and that b. I decided to wear athletic gear instead of 3″ heels and dress clothes. Feeling exhilarated from sprinting up staircase.
Leg Two the fourth: Rerouted to Heathrow. Stuck in Vancouver Airport for six hours. Not so bad. Air Canada is buying us lunch and we’re sitting at Monk’s restaurant where a greasy guy with too many beer bottles at his table is staring at me. Has he mistaken me for 24-year-old blond. Not likely. Creepy.
On the plus side: Air Canada staff were delighted to hear my suitcase is lime green – making it much easier for them to find and redirect.
Latest development: We had to switch tables so Dave could plug in his laptop. Am now seated next to creepy staring guy. Stay tuned.
Check out our restaurant review on Monks Grill @ YVR at https://hobonotes.com/dining-recipes/
Some days are meant for Prozac, and this is one of them. After three flights and 14 hours plus one 90-minute train ride, we arrive in Biel/Bienne, Switzerland where we will be whisked away to a police station.
This is true. Before we can rent a place, start work, order hamburgers, make our first attempts at yodeling, we have to get our residency permit from the local municipality, as represented by their police force.
The last time I had to visit a foreign police station, it was off a gritty Madrid alleyway. There, migrants waited for hours before getting inside the station where tense, gun-swinging officers patrolled a small waiting room that was jammed with people from nations where underarm deodorant had not yet been introduced, which was a bad thing because it was over 35 C and we were packed in tight.
As one uniformed officer-or-soldier roughly herded a burqa-wearing woman and her startled kids through the crowd I tried to look like I had mistaken the station for the coffee shop next door. I was prepared to blurt out an order for coffee at the first sign of impending arrest or shooting, but my Spanish was poor, so I could just as easily have said, “Take me to your leader,” or “I have a gun.”
I’ve been under threat of arrest before, although I didn’t really believe it until afterwards when I inquired from a police-friend and Crown prosecutor buddy, both of whom said, “Yup, he could have arrested you for (indecipherable legalese mumbo-jumbo).”
But that was when I was a reporter. So while the officer glared, I laughed brazenly, partly because he had once explained how he used glaring to maintain a “command presence” at a crime/investigation scene, but mostly because I had seen him cower when his 12-year-old daughter walked in on an interview and put him in his place for forgetting to let her know he was working overtime. No cop can recover a “command presence” after that.
But I drift. The point is that just when I am at my worst (14-hours of white-knuckle flight-time plus more than 24-hours without sleep), I am going to try to be at my best so that the friendly Swiss police will lift the gate and let me in to their perfect country.
On one hand, I want it to go well, but on the other hand, if it doesn’t, I will have something interesting to write about – for once.