Thursday, December 14, 2017

journey through the centre of the earth, or so it felt like

My abs feel like they’ve done a million sit-ups from coughing so much. My head is filled with cotton wool. My nose is like sandpaper. I feel like sh!& and the memory of our trip seems distant. I don’t know if I feel well enough to try to blurb out the last few days of our trip, including the trial of our trip home, but I’ll try.

Thursday… well, I didn’t get any further than the first paragraph. I’m still under the weather but good enough to look at my tablet and even type out a few words. I had a cold at the end of our last cruise (the Mediterranean), and now with this one I’m feeling a little trigger shy.

I might as well cover the rest of the horror of our trip home, the cold, the snow, the shock of not being in the hot sun.

Our trip home started with a 6:30 alarm which gave us plenty of time to shower, have a last breakfast, hang out in our room for a bit, and then get off the ship. Everything went smoothly and quickly. Our shuttle to the airport turned up in good time and before we knew it we were at the baggage check kiosk in the departure area.

This is where things started to go wrong, although we didn’t know it at the time… They convinced us to check our carry on bags, which we weren’t expecting and didn’t think of taking our sweaters and coats out to carry with us.

Got through security.

Found seats in departure lounge, though far from our gate - with 5 cruise ships loaded with people trying to get home the place was packed. Read and relax. Get message on phone that plane was delayed 55 minutes. OH NO! We only had 1 ½ hours to make our connection in Montreal.

Start freaking out about coats - what will we do if we aren’t in Ottawa to get our luggage? Can’t get in touch with brother Graham. Text Pat to let her know what was going on.

Find seats closer to gate. Hear announcement about delay.

Plane arrives ½ hour late. Deplanes. Starts to load up, starting with 5 severely disabled people in giant electric wheelchairs, and then 6 regular wheelchairs. Takes at least ½ hour to load them. Finally get on plane. Potential mechanical problem. Resolved. Wait 15 more minutes for clearance. In the air 1 hr 45 min late.

Cold medicine partially working but one ear is blocked. Freak out remembering entertainer who went deaf in one ear in same way. Groggy from said medicine.

Land in Montreal. Pulled aside for new boarding pass. Read it. Departure time 7:40 THE NEXT DAY. There are 9 of us.  No compensation for hotel. No coats. Where is our luggage? They say it will be on the carousel. Wait for luggage. No luggage. Carm goes to baggage claim area. I text Pat to see if she can stay another day. She can’t, but will let the dogs out that night, and the next morning. Baggage guys say to try standby so we run through customs, security, and forever to the gate. Told there is no room and to go to another gate. Run to other gate. No seats but the lady is helpful and suggests a bus. But we don’t have luggage. Back out to baggage claim. Talk to guys there. They call around and find suitcases. Put on carousel and we have our bags. We have our light summer windbreakers and a sweater - they will have to do. Run to bus kiosk. Only 7 seats but there are 9 of us waiting. One couple pulls out and says they will wait for next bus (bless them).

Bus is 20 minutes late but finally it is here. Walk on bus. Step over puke on the bus floor. Could it get any worse? Find seats. We are on our way home.

Graham was a sight for sore eyes when we finally got into Ottawa. He picked us up and took us to Mom &  Dad’s where our car was. Heavy winter coats - yay. Finally driving home. Finally in the laneway. Finally in the house. Dogs go crazy. We were home.

Lessons learned: carry coats on person; take direct flight when possible, don’t try to save time by doing a connection; people in same boat are nice - we all pulled together to get a resolution; book Pat an extra day; bring good supply of cold medicine on ship and remember to take it out of carry on bag.

Biggest lesson though: Don’t stress so much! It will (likely) work out somehow.

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