Si vales, valeo!
Event: To Orlando
Despite having all the ingredients of a very dreary day, it has been fun!
It started at 6:13 am, when the little girls I was sharing a room with woke up and wanted to know when they had to wake up. (6:30) We were flying out at 10, but since it was an international flight, which requires checking in 2 hours early, and we were an admittedly large group, we were leaving the Hotel/Terminal at 7:30. Enough time to check in, get through customs, and catch some breakfast. Right?
Well, that might have worked had we been travelling any airline other than Air Canada.
We arrive at the international check-in and are told that we have to use the self-serve. Told rudely, I might say. It gets halfway through the our 12 personal ticket-group and dies. Twice. Daddy heads over the line F, which declares in pretty lights over the desk that it is “self service assistance.” However, as he approaches the desk the lady behind it declares that she can’t help and walks away.
After a short verbal skirmish with another lady, behind the Oversized-Baggage counter, we enter the check-in line. Approximately 35 minute after entering the line, we arrive at a desk. !0 minutes there and we have out boarding passes. Yes, the whole rigmarole was solely to get out boarding passes and have out luggage approved. At was about at this point that I remember what I learned last Christmas, which is that time ceases to have meaning while traveling, You enter a supra-state wherein colours and textures are abnormally fascinating, shameless gawking at other passengers is par for the course and the world outside the airport swindles into comparative insignificance. And all it takes to achieve this state is belligerent airport employees and a wait of an hour or more. No drugs required at all! 😛
Anyhow, we got out of check-in and slid neatly into the line for customs. That went smoothly, and it was on to drop off the luggage and enter the line for security. Apparently with American Security you have to take off your shoes as a matter of course. There were no hassles, but security remains a surreal experience. Not the least if you happen to glance at the next line over (always a bad idea) and Mr. Anarchy has tried to go through security wearing studded leather, and consequently, after putting all offending clothing items through the scanner, is wearing very little while being patted down. And it’s all normal. Weird. *shudders*
Anyhow, we made it through , and made our gate with a whole 5 minutes to spare! Yay us!
Three hours later, we land in Orlando. There is another monorail to the other terminal, where lives the baggage claim. I am pleased 🙂 So we take it over to the other terminal, and wait for our baggage. Thankfully I do not have a watch to stress over, but it was a long time before our five lovely bags came down the conveyor.
Next objective; get to our hotel. There is a shuttle, but it seems to cost $90 per person. (90*12=1080?) Let’s consider alternative transport! Daddy goes off to arrange this, while we wait. An undefined amount of time later, we hire two cab vans and speed off to the resort. Finally, the end of the line! Only not quite.
It seems that our rooms were not ready. (at this point it was 3 in the afternoon, local time) Okay, that’s fine, we’ll just take a tired party of 12,, which has eaten only on the plane, if they were not sleeping, on a walk. This has all the potential to be very unpleasant. But there might be gators in that pond! There are palm trees on the side of the road! And look, a lizard! And another one! The crisis does not materialize
Just as were were all lined up to try and dash across the road, the cellphone rang; our rooms were ready. So we trundle back and collapse inside the AC. Fraulein and I have our own room, nicknamed the Peach Hut. The hotel is actually a resort, with tennis courts, pool, spa, and “sundry amenities.” We’re living the high life! (Although, I think that the Toronto Hotel was nicer, but that’s just me)
Tomorrow is Disney!
Event: To Toronto
We made it to the mainland! The little girls went from exclaiming over the size of the St. John’s airport and begging to ride the elevator- to riding a monorail between terminals in Toronto and swimming in the pool, (which is part of the hotel (which is part of the airport)). I think they’re having a good time.
We had breakfast in the St. John’s hotel this morning, which for our family costs a whopping $100.00, and headed off to the airport. The lady at the check-in was rather surprised to see that among 12 people only 5 piece of luggage were checked, but what can I say? We’re a special family. We also almost all managed to be carrying gels or liquids in our carry-ons, so we had to pull the convoy over and repack the lip balm, toothpaste, etc. But everyone made it through check-in and security without incident-
and then Gid dropped his boarding his pass down the heating vent. Hmmmmmm…. Thankfully Daddy worked his usual wonders in convincing people behind counters, and a new boarding pass was printed for him. *sigh of relief*
The actual flight was pleasantly uneventful. And far from being Delayed, we arrived 10 minutes early! We were flying Air Canada, so I was, understandably I think, skeptical of that happening. On the flight I watched Vantage Point, which was a very enjoyable movie. However, there was a large enough body count that I don’t think I’d watch it at home. But it was good. I just especially liked the little news blurb at the end, which was entirely not what had happened. *glee* My devious soul was pleased within me.
Once we had landed the pilots of the plane allowed all the little ones, and even the big ones of our family to sit in the cockpit and pose for pictures. But that thrill was almost overshadowed by the sheer magnitude of Toronto Airport. Moving sidewalks! Massive Hallways! Escalators! Baggage carousals! And- the biggest thrill- a monorail train to our hotel. I think we were all thrilled with that train. And I want one for my own. It was all futuristic glass and private compartments, zipping over highways and parking garages. There wasn’t even a driver, it was completely automated. *wistful sigh*
Right. Yes. *cough* So, we checked into the hotel, which is quite sumptuous, and scouted out the terminal next door. Was this just an excuse to ride the train? Um, yes. 😛 However, we did find a little food court which we then returned to, with Daddy and the money, for supper.
I am writing this by the side of the pool, as the official Adult which allows my non-adult siblings to swim. I was a spoilsport and didn’t swim. 😀 Now the young ones are going up to bed, and PT, Fraulein and myself are going to ride the train again and check out the bustling Toronto night life. (We’re going to the food court for Frozen Yogurt.)
Oh! I can translate that sentence! I think…
Two exams down, five to go.
Latin was this morning, and I actually feel fairly secure about it. I didn’t ace it, for sure, but I was able to answer all the questions. I’m pretty sure I didn’t fail 😛
Philosophy was then in the afternoon, and was good. I don’t think I aced that one either, but I was able to answer most of the questions, in a reasonably coherent manner, and I wrote a 9 page essay in an hour and a half. *big grin* That was actually rather amusing. Last time most everyone left the exam after an hour and 45 minutes, and I was in there writing alone for the last hour. This time, we were all in there up to the last five minutes, and people were coming out of the exam saying things like “I had more to say, but my hand gave out.” The essay was on A big idea you might talk to people about. A nice lot of room for writing there, eh? 😀 I think I wrote about a page and a half in the last 5 minutes, wherein I touched on utilitarianism, Hume, Post-modernism, and a two sentence conclusion. I also wrote the last four pages under the motivation of the tea that professor Tingley made for us. It was really nice; he noticed that a lot of the students had not eaten lunch, and made us a pot of tea. By the time I took a cup it had been steeping for almost two hours, so that it was very dark brown and had a smoky flavour. I added a spoonful of sugar, and was rejuvenated!
And then I came out of class, shaking slightly from focusing for that long, and found that Air Canada finally had sent me some money for losing my baggage. So I can ship my books and blankets back home, and still have some money left over to do fun stuff during marking week.
We’re going to the symphony tonight, should be fun.
Must let Rach’s Other Half have the computer to research his art pieces. *bows*
-enter random thought snippets-
My luggage is finally here! It arrived at about 6pm yesterday. Both Pieces. Hooray! Now, if Air Canada will only recompense me for the things I bought for the interim yesterday… Ah well, I got a lovely blue dress for the symphony, and the Lush store was having a sale, so I got some soaps and such.
I went to the Sunday service at the Met today, which was good. I’m still not particularly thrilled at being alone in such a big crowd, but the sermon was good, and there was one good song in the singing. Then when walking out afterwards, I heard the following exchange.
Little Girl: Can we go bowling?
Mother: Not on the Lord’s Day.
Little Girl: Can we go swimming?
Mother: We’ll go sledding when we get home.
I don’t understand what is particularly wrong with bowling on Sunday, but to each his own, I guess?
Third World lent me a book last night, Fall of a Kingdom, which was SO fun! Of the three main characters,
- one is an arrogant spoiled noblewoman,
- one is a bitter traitor,
- and one is a insecure emo kid trying to prove himself, and failing.
It must have been such fun to write those charters! The book is one in a trilogy, and Third World assures me that there is massive character development in the other two books. I am quite excited to read them. *smiles cheerily*
I have discovered an issue with my reading style. If I’m reading something which I enjoy, like Lilith, I feel I must finish it in one sitting. 250 pages, gone. However, if I’m reading something I’m not a fan of, such as Aquinas, I have no issue whatsoever with walking away from it. I need to switch those!
And, what else is going on… Oh, I’m going on a retreat with the Met Young Adults! Next weekend. It’s at the Tim Horton’s Camp, and we’ve been promised “coffee on tap”. Hmm, not so sure that wasn’t sarcasm, but it should be fun!
-end random thought snippets-
They’ve found one of my bags! ! !
I wonder where it was? It would be very funny if it got put on an international flight by mistake. (Chicago?) However, it was probably just in Ottawa under a pile of other bags. My other bag is still AWOL, so I’m certainly going shopping!
*skips off humming*
Man, I have been more girly here then I have been for a long time. Part of it, I think, is that at home there’s all the little ones, and Frauline, so any “girlishness” on my part feels put on. Here I’m on of the youngest, so I can skip out of the room with a clear conscience. : ) Also, I’m rediscovering the fun of body language. You can make a very effective retort without saying a word, it’s all in the angle of head and shoulder and eyebrows. *bemused* Skulking around is not nearly as fun.
I’ve finished Lilith. That is a very strange book. It was mentioned before that George Macdonald is rather similar to C.S. Lewis, but I think I really prefer Lewis. Macdonald is a leetle obsessed with death, and he tends to not be orthodox. Which is a slightly disconcerting for an extended allegory. Ah well!
I also finished Aquinas, which was good, thought I prefer Aristotle. And I called Air Canada. They STILL don’t know where my bags are, but they’ll recompense me for up to $100 USD in clothing and toiletries. So I intend to spend $100.00 USD. Shopping!
I was flying out of St. John’s at 5:35 am, so I got to the Airport at about 4:20 am. Good. I walk into the terminal, and see the check-in line at the Air Canada desk is stretching about 60 minutes long. Not so good. But I get in line, and start inching forward. There is a tense moment 45 minutes later when I think I have lost my driver’s license, but that is found and I make it through check-in just as they start to call pre-boarding on my flight. I say good-bye to Daddy, and book it upstairs to security. The poor man in front of me sets off the scanners with his belt, his watch, and his wallet, but he is eventually waved through and it’s my turn. No issues *sigh of relief* I make it aboard just as they are calling the front of the plane and cram my bags and coat into three overhead compartments, as all the surrounding passengers are already seated. I sit down, ( I have the middle seat between two rather large men,) and then we sit by the gate for 20 minutes. The Captain doesn’t even know why we haven’t been given leave to leave, and says as much. hmmm
Finally, we are allowed to go! But while we’ve been sitting there we’ve accumulated enough frost that we now need to be de-iced. The Captain sound quite exasperated when he says that, so I’m not really annoyed. We’re all stuck here together, eh? We head out on the runway, the de-icing trucks pull up, the left truck starts to de-ice. The right truck drives in a circle under the wing for 15 minutes! Why?! Eventually the dizzy truck drives away, and the left wing truck de-ices the right wing. We’re off! However, we have lost so much time that several people will miss their connections and I will have 18 minutes to make mine. I am at the very back of the plane, and I’m not even sure if I can make it off the plane in 18 minutes.
I keep telling myself the motto for this trip. Last trip’s motto was Kyrie Eleieson, Lord have mercy, this trip is My God is able. Will I make the flight? My God is able. Will I get stuck in Montreal? My God is able. Will I have to take the train to Ottawa? My God is able.
My God is able.
This motto helps to keep the panic down when, on arrival at Montreal, all the gates are full and we can’t park the plane. The thing is, almost the entire plane is connecting to somewhere else through Montreal. There are people going to Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Miami, Port Blanford, and all with less than an hour to connect now.
I finally make it off the plane, walk with a sense of urgency over to gate 27, and find that my flight was delayed by 30 minutes. I have 10 minutes to spare. *collapses from relief* Incidentally, Moon unit tells me later that her entire church is praying for my flight back. Thank you!!! That flight is in a little propeller plane. 27 minutes in the air, juice and cookies provided.
We land without incident, an hour and a half late, and I go down to collect my baggage. It isn’t there. Sue meets me by the baggage carousel, and then we go over to report my “delayed” baggage. (I know just where to go to report the missing bags, because my baggage was “delayed” in September as well.) Sue was also not pleased with the airlines, as she had been bumped off her flight the day before, and they had also delayed her baggage. We drive home. It’s nice to be back.
Note: it is now 48 hours since I arrived, and they still don’t know where my bags are. I packed my carry on so I could live out of it, but my textbooks are in my check bags, as are my boots, and most of my wardrobe. ( I carried my ipod in my purse.) It shouldn’t be nessesary to carry everything you need to live on your person. I’ve given them three chances, and they’ve botched it every time. I just don’t want to fly Air Canada again. Ever.
So, after much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I received a confirmed flight from Toronto to St. john’s via Halifax on 19:55 on the 18th of December, 2007. Flight 2628. I know this, because I was on the flight. However, Air Canada appearently does not know this, because they have just sent me this.
So, after my flight was canceled on Saturday afternoon, I finally made it back at 1:30 Wednesday afternoon. Not an experience I would have chosen, but still overall rather fun, (in the same way that the philosophy exam was fun. : )
I spent 24 hours on standby in Toronto, which was interesting in many senses. RM lives on the outskirts of town, and she marvelously drove out to pick me up, and gave me a bed for the night. Her family has an excellent house, all wood-paneling and rooms in exactly the right place. Moreover, the time I spent in the airport was not particularly stressful. I was number 126 on the standby list to st. john’s, and there were people who had been on the list for three days. That sounds like it should inspire stress, but instead I was able to tell myself that I actually had nothing whatsoever to complain about. When I’ve been stuck in an airport for three nights, and now told I’ll be kicked out by security this evening, with no one to call and every hotel full; Then I’ll get peeved. In addition, I saw some really interesting types of people, including a man who let me go ahead of him in the line to get a confirmed seat (more valuable than diamonds at this point, and considerably rarer.) He didn’t get a confirmation, while I did, and he had been stuck there for four days. Thankfully, this gentleman got a standby seat on the same flight I was confirmed on. He was only about 25, and the last one on the list of 126 to make it out of the airport.
Then when I got to St. john’s I was met by two gems of people who met me at 2:30am, waited for me while I stood by the baggage carousal for an hour, and drove me to their home. Then they got me up in the morning, made me breakfast, and went to work. To recap, that is 2 hours of sleep, undertaken for a girl whom they barely know. The salt of the earth, these people.
I have learned from this venture:
-To not fly Air Canada, if I can possibly help it. (They didn’t even provide bottles of water for the stranded passengers, while Westjet was putting their customers up in hotels with money for food. )
-I am blessed in my friends
-I am blessed in my family’s friends
-I am oddly able to stay happy during a crisis, provided that I can do SOMETHING.
-Travel is very interesting, not predictable, but fascinating!
-There are still gentlemen within my demographic.
-God will provide. (This whole year is an extended example of this lesson.)
-It’s good to be home.