Wow! I'm finally back in Canada - and no snow this time! :)
Yesterday was a crazy long day... awake at 6am (cause i forgot to close my curtains and the sun was shining in my window), actually up just before 8, and then by 9:45 i was in a taxi with Lauren, heading to the airport for what should've been a 12pm flight... at which point we were reminded that the problem with flying a super-cheap airline is that they're cheap cause they only have one plane. Which means that when their plane is delayed on the way over, you're delayed for the way back too! Apparently, when the plane left from Toronto to go to Newcastle, a piece of navigation equipment broke... so they had to stop in Quebec City to fix it and refuel - something about having to switch routes to England, so they needed extra fuel. Anyway, that stop took 3 hours, and i guess the altered route, etc. added on another 2 hours... so that by the time we got to the airport, the plane that was supposed to land at 10:15 in Newcastle wasn't expected in till 3:55pm!! our flight got bumped till 5:15 - i think we got off the ground about 10 minutes before that, but only just...
So of course, due to the 5 hour delay, Lauren and I both had to change our connections from Toronto (Lauren lives in London, Ontario, about a 2 hour drive SW of Toronto). With Mike's help, I cancelled my connecting flight with WestJet (they gave me a credit, thank goodness!) and then re-booked on to Air Canada... but the only cheap flight with them wasn't until midnight toronto time, about 4 hours after I was supposed to be landing in Toronto. Oh, and I also had to change terminals, which is bloody impossible in Toronto when you have 4 giant bags with you - the only connection is via a shuttle bus, all of which are the type where you have to climb 4 steps to get up to the seating part of the bus - WITH your bags!! that's right - FOUR very narrow STEPS!! Who was the genius that chose that type of bus?!! They should be using one of those buses that take you from the plane to the terminal in Paris and Rome (and much of Europe, I should think) when you deplane on the runway - they're big and wide inside, with few seats and lots of floor/baggage space, AND NO STAIRS!! Or what about a perfectly normal coach, with the seats up top and a place for your bags underneath? Wouldn't that just make SO much more sense? especially in a major international airport, where the terminals are about a 5 minute drive from each other? I can't be the only person ever to have had to transfer terminals, has nobody noticed how useless those busses are?!! (k, i'll stop it with the whinging now) Anyway, the best part of the shuttle thing was when all of these mid-30's business-suit-clad men climbed on to the bus before me, and then sat there watching as I nearly fell over trying to haul my bags up the stairs (only one bag was really heavy, 2 others were quite light, and the fourth was mostly just big and awkward) - this older woman who works at the airport but was on her way home ended up helping me - cause even the bus driver just sat and watched me! (but really, I'm stopping the complaining now).
anyway, that midnight flight, which was really a 5am flight in the time zone that i was mentally in, was so overbooked - they'd oversold at least 6 seats, and they had about 15 people on standby. I'm not sure what the air canada delays were about, but they'd had several apparently, which is why there were so many stand-by people. so i think i was lucky that i'd booked earlier, and didn't decide to just take my chances as a stand-byer.
But, all in all, i guess it wasn't so bad. I'm glad that Lauren decided to fly home with me, cause at least we were able to entertain ourselves in the airport for those extra 5 hours (good old travel scrabble!). it really would've sucked to have had to sit there all alone. (Lauren managed to switch her bus to London, so i left her waiting for her bus and then went off to find the shuttle to the other terminal - im guessing all went smoothly for her after that).
anyway, i've now finished unpacking everything, and need to head off to do some laundry now... Mike's cousin is getting married in Perth tomorrow (an hour west of here), and I need some clean clothes to take with me! (we're going to the cottage on Sunday, cause its in Perth too)
I'll post some pics when i get back on Monday! Happy May 2-4!
PS: Canadian culture lesson for my English friends - "may 2-4" is an eastern canadian name for Victoria Day weekend (we get a long weekend to 'celebrate' Queen Vicky's birthday), referring both to the typical date of this long weekend (May 24th), and the case (box) of 24 bottles of beer which most people take to their destination/party of choice this weekend - its usually starting to get really warm by now, so this is also when most people open their summer cottages. Out west we just called it Victoria day, cause for us, a box of 24 bottles of beer is just called a 'case' of beer, not a 2-4. And we don't have cottages, cause we already live in the best part of the country, and don't need to run away to the woods to enjoy beaches and untouched countryside! (oh yeah, and its because our houses cost so much to start with that no one can afford a cottage too!) :)