Saturday, July 29, 2006

Canada, Baby! Yah!

So here I am in Canada. I'm happy as a clam. As a lark! Happy Schnappy!

The journey here was pretty nuts. We got to the bus terminal about half an hour before the 2am express buss was set to leave for Incheon, and the lady at the window informed us that all the seats were sold. I just smiled and said "exactly!" because I am an idiot when it comes to traveling, and if I can manage to screw things up, I do! I miss connections, don't make reservations, and I've missed more than one flight. Embarrassing, but true!

Anyhow, my friend did some fast talking to the bus driver and he agreed to let me on the bus and handed me my seat, in the form of two pieces of newspaper. It was Floor City! Holy hell, that was uncomfortable, but luckily I only had to stay like that for over an hour, as the bus driver met up with another bus driver on the highway and 3 of us were able to move over to the other bus which was headed to Incheon as well. So I got a great single seat right at the front of the bus for the rest of the 4 hour journey. Unfortunately, even though I was so tired I was about to hallucinate, I couldn't get much sleep because I was very afraid the bus driver was going to kill us all. He, I think, had delusions that he was actually piloting a rocketship.

Otherwise, the first flight over to Tokyo was a short one, which was a blessing as I was sitting beside about 6 little babies who wailed in harmony the whole way pretty much. The parents, (though I know 2 of them weren't actually parents, but were escorting 2 little girl babies coming over to America to be adopted) took the crying babies with a good sense of embarrassed humour. I wondered to myself if the children might enjoy the muffled seclusion of the overhead compartments.

The flight from Tokyo to Detroit was long and uncomfortable. A pre-teen Japanese girl sat beside me and spent the whole trip clinging to her mother on the other side of her, so mostly had her bum pressed up against me. They were very quiet, those two, and I can't recall them speaking much at all. I wished I hadn't requested a window seat as I was trapped in there and didn't want to wake the silent sleeping Japanese koalas beside me when I had to visit the facilities. So I suffered.

Detroit's airport is a bloody racket. I had about a 3 hour stop over, and I was starved as I had slept through the 2nd (and final) feeding on the overseas flight. So I was in the airport with a mecca of choices in food, but I had no American dollars. So I went to the currency exchange booth, hoping to change 20,000won so I could get something to snack on, and I was told they have a $5.50 US handling fee.
"But I'm only changing 20 dollars!"
The woman just shrugged at me.
On principle, I wasn't going to give them 25% of my money, and I wasn't going to get more American currency because I wasn't going to be there long enough to warrant it. Plus their exchange rate sucked, to ass insult to injury. So I decided to have a cigarette to try and quash my hunger pains, and the security directed me to "the bar near the escalators over there." I asked if I could just go outside, and was told yes, but then I'd have to go through security again, and I didn't want to do that, as I'd just been felt up only a few moments before by a some security lady. I don't know why I ALWAYS set off the metal detector, even after I remove all the metal I can. Maybe I have a bullet buried in me- and I've forgotten that I was once shot. But, like, I've repressed a lot of my past experiences in Nam and all that.

So anyway, I went to the bar and some Italian gentleman invited me to sit at his table, but just as soon as I had lit up, the waitress came by to take my order, which was "nothing," since I had no money, and she was a total snot about it. I explained I'd been navigated to the bar by security and she bitchily said what she probably says a couple hundred times a day, "Yes, we are the airports only smoking area, but we also are a business and we do require an order to,....blah blah blah."

So whatever, I went to my gate and waited until I could board a plane and get the hell out of that airport. (It is a pretty nice airport otherwise than being a big con game.)

Short hop over to Toronto after too long a wait on the tarmac with no air conditioning and my armpits starting to really protest smell-wise. A sea of people waiting for other people coming off planes, and there was my brother. Yay!! What a hero, he had a cooler filled with ice and some tall Canadian beers in the back of the car. Perfect!

Nice ride to my mom's house in Niagara listening to some good music he's going to copy for me (I'm really digging Nelly Furtado's latest!) We got to my mom's house and spent awhile talking before finally going out for something to eat. I could have photographed my steak and cheese ciabatta which was delicious, but I inhaled it.

Back to my moms, my brother took off for his house up north, and I was in bed by about 11:30! And up at 8:30! Which is unbelievable for me, but understandable considering I'd had almost no sleep for the 2 days previous. I just had a big mug of my mother's strong coffee, and my mother's taken my grandmother out to visit a garage sale and buy some peaches. I might indulge in another nap, then some lunch, then some shopping, and later a sunset on a beach with old friends! Ahhhhh, Canada!


sher said...

Yes!!! I'm so glad you are back in Canada. What a saga getting there! Air travel is getting more and more unpleasant. Looking forward to reading about your vacation.

Kevin said...

Yikes-- ALWAYS change your money in Korea! Do that when you come back, too!

Sorry to hear about the sundry travel difficulties. Were you flying Northwest in Detroit? That airport is a NWA hub (my father's retired from working at the DC/Virginia National Airport branch of NWA), and I agree they've got something of a racket going.

Anyway, it sounds like you're already having a ball, now that the transit part is over. Coolness. If you can post photos showing off the natural beauty of the Great White North, I'll be much obliged.


Anonymous said...

Ahhhh Canada....where the money is a different color and the beer is frothier. Enjoy your stay at home!!!


humbleman said...

Credit Cards are handy when you travel overseas.

John McCrarey said...

Glad you made it safe and sound. That trip is always a pain in the ass (literally if you are stuck in coach), but you added a new wrinkle or two to the adventure.

Have a good stay in the homeland. I'm with Kevin--photos and stories will be good, time permitting.

Nomad said...


Enjoy your time away from the hub!

captain_howdy_girl said...

welcome back!

SweetSarahJ said...

Yeah! It is always such a relief to get back onto Canadian soil when you've been abroad for a while. It makes you appreciate what a great country we've got. My next trip back home to tdot is coming up in a few weeks.... back to a land where you can pump your gas before you pay... and the clerk isn't behind bullet-proof glass! Where grocery stores don't have security guards! I love Canada!

~J said...

Have fun!

Aly said...

Hey Jelly, hope you're having fun back home and taking full advantage of the food choices while you're there! I'm glad to hear you're feeling better. I hope you enjoy your vacation!

Nomad said...

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on? Can the folks in the back hear me ok?

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