Winter Wonderland

The Quebec City Parliament. I have taken photos here for the 366photos project. I’ll post them in a few days once I get a multi card reader. I forgot to get one on Monday.

I have made it to Quebec City.

I arrived at around 12:40AM…

I didn’t make my 8:15PM flight from Toronto to Quebec due to the fog and about 18 other people on standby. The whole trip wasn’t that pleasant. Spending over 20 hours in three different airplanes rarely is. It’s about 3:24AM and I’m about to go to bed.

My day actually started on Monday at around 9AM. I relaxed with my wife and dog and then I got busy with the last minute errands that I always seemed to have. I got around doing them all, but in the end I didn’t have enough time to copy my photo images or my whole music collection onto my removable HD. The photos are available on my Zooomr site, so that isn’t too bad. The music, I’ll find a way around it. I got the most recent stuff.

I didn’t sleep during that night. I was very nervous about the weight of my bags. I checked Air Canada and made sure that my bags were under the requirements. But I knew that I might have more than was allowed. As well, I was flying into Hong Kong on Thai Airlines really early on Tuesday morning. I wasn’t sure if I would have to pay because I had read on some travel websites that Thai Airlines only allowed 20kg in total per passenger. In the end, that didn’t matter. They allowed by giant bags which combined weighed about 50kg on board without any extra charges.

I was using a three bag carry-on system. One bag was a small carry-on roller. The other was a 35L Osprey Atmos backpack filled with cotton clothing. Cotton clothing weighs a lot. I had filled all of my carry-on luggage with cotton clothing. Then I had my camera bag. I tried to rationalize that the camera bag fit into the category of a purse or murse, but I wasn’t too sure of it. The only time I had a problem with it was in Hong Kong, where the people in front of immigration wouldn’t let me through until they had confirmed with the airline people that I was allowed these baggage.

I waited in Hong Kong from 9:20 to 2:45PM to get my boarding pass. I then waited another 45 stressful minutes to find out if I would make it onto the flight. I shouldn’t have worried. It was a new Boeing 777 and they had not sold out economy class. There were some empty seats. I didn’t get bumped into Business Class, which would have been cool since these new places have these fold flat benches instead of seats with 20″ media screens.

The flight to Toronto was not pleasant. I had a neck ache from sleeping too much sitting down and I wasn’t feeling too hot. I have to say that I was surprised at the flight attendants. I have flown with a lot of airlines in Asia, and Air Canada was the only one with older flight attendants. Cathay Pacific, Thai Airlines, China Airlines, EVA Air and other smaller carriers all have very young and pretty flight attendants.

My wife told me that Cathay Pacific had reputedly the prettiest flight attendants and gave me some juicy details on a scandal that one had caused.

I got two full meals and a good snack in between. Service was good, but not impeccable as with some of the Asian airlines.
The plane was really impressive. There were power plugs all over the plane, as well as USB plugs to charge media players. Everyone had a 10″ touch screen with access to a large bank of movies available on demand. I watched The Game Plan with The Rock and a bit of Ratatouille. I slept fitfully most of the time. The air was very dry and caused my sinus to run. I wasn’t the only one. Other people had it a lot worse. The Chinese man next to me, who for some reason reminded me of my father, was happy to tell me how cheap the snack was. He didn’t like it. I had gracefully accepted to give up my seat so that he could sit with his wife. In exchange I got the window seat, which was a good deal in my book.

I didn’t go to the bathroom on the plane. In fact, I didn’t get up at all.

I arrived in Toronto and went through immigration and customs. I got flagged for being away so long. I paid two dollars for a trolley and picked up my baggage. I was told to go through the customs inspection. The man asked me from where I came. I told him that I was moving back to Canada after having taught for a year and a half in Taiwan. I didn’t mention that I would be going back to Taiwan in April. He happily let me through without further delay. I was grateful. I didn’t feel like having my possessions searched. I didn’t have anything with me except my camera, an old laptop, some art supplies, some books and a lot of clothes.

When I arrived at the check-in booth, the agents told me that my bags were overweight but they let me through without paying. I think it was because I was flying as a family member of an Air Canada employee. They told me that it was doubtful that I would make it onto the 8:15PM flight, but that there was another flight at 11:15.

I made it to the gate at 7:20PM. I was told again that I wouldn’t make it, but you never know. I waited and didn’t make it. I was a bit annoyed to see that an Air Canada employee made it onto the flight by signing a release form and requesting to use the jump seat.

I waited and wrote a bit. I thought about what was to come. I tried to figure out how long it had been since I had slept in a bed. A long time. Over 48 hours by that time. Capnaps don’t really count if they are in uncomfortable positions. Sleeping on the plane is never relaxing and you always come out of it with aches and pains in your neck.

I waited and got onto the flight easily. I counted at least 20 empty seats. The plane ride to Quebec was short. I had phoned my friend Yan that I would be arriving on the later flight. The cost? 3.65$. That’s about NT100$! What a rip-off! Bell Canada sucks! In total, I spent 5.65$ for my trip. This excludes the cost of the flights, but includes everything else. The 1 minute inter provincial phone call was what cost the most. How did I do it? I did it by not buying anything at the airport. It’s easy. When you travel a lot, you realize how expensive everything is at airports. I always try and buy nothing. Actually I was lucky that I had so much food on the intercontinental flight, otherwise I would have gotten something from a 7-11.

I arrived past midnight in Quebec. My luggage made it to Quebec all in one piece. My friend was there to meet me at the airport. I was very grateful. It’s actually been 57 hours since I slept in a bed. It doesn’t beat my record of 56 hours of staying awake without any naps at all, but it was still draining.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.