Thursday, January 20, 2011

Oh Canada

Did you guys know I was going to Canada?  Yeah, me either, I was told Thursday that I was needed in Canada Saturday.  Which is fine, but a little more of a heads up would have been nice.  My Bride wasn’t happy about the last minute trip, mainly because we didn’t have time to get her a ticket to go with me. 
I’ve always wanted to go to Canada, it’s been way up on my list of places to visit for a long time, so getting to go for virtually free is what we, in the industry, like to call outstanding.  So Saturday morning I boarded a plane and headed to the Great White North.  This was a work trip so I didn’t have too much free time.  I landed Saturday afternoon in Toronto and after getting my rental car I headed downtown to see some sights.  I visited the CN Tower, which was pretty cool, but it was so overcast there wasn’t much visibility.  Then I headed to the Eaton section of downtown to visit the Hard Rock Café.  Eaton was very cool, had a Times Square sort of feel to it.  After getting my shot glass I decided to head to the hotel to check in and meet my co-worker for some dinner.  I was given a GPS by my bride for Christmas one year.  And I told her that I didn’t need a GPS with Canadian maps on it, mainly because I’m cheap and didn’t think I’d ever need them.  Boy was I wrong.  After I left the parking garage at the HardRock I got stuck on some roads that wouldn’t let me turn off of them.  So I kept driving further away from where I needed to be.  My thinking was when I was able to make a turn I would turn and then head back in the other direction until I reached the road I needed and then continue on my way.  Well, when I reached the road I needed to be on I wasn’t allowed to turn on it.  So my next thought was to drive up one more block and run parallel to the road I needed to be on.  My plan was working, for a minute, then at some point one of the roads took a dramatic turn.  So this begins my tour of the suburbs of the greater Toronto area.  After driving around trying to find the road I needed to be on I broke out my phone and used my maps to get me pointed back in the right direction. I learned that in Toronto it’s ok to park anywhere as long as you have flashers on, and since people park anywhere it’s best to stay in the left hand lane or you’re going to get stuck behind someone’s parked car.
Sunday was a day of work, we got started about 9:00 am and finished up around 10:30 that night.  Giving me just enough time to eat, get back to the hotel, pack up and go to bed.  The main story from Sunday is that I discovered a lovely little place called “Tim Horton’s”  OMG peeps, the combo meals there are a sandwich and a doughnut!  A SANDWICH and DOUGHNUT!  Anyone that knows me knows just how much I heart a doughnut.  It was simply heaven up north.  I told my co-worker, who’s a Canadian, that he could laugh if he wanted too, but I was taking a picture of this.
Then comes Monday, or as it was to become known, the day of delays.  I’m a hurry up and wait type of guy so I got to the airport early, I didn’t know how long it would take me to return the rental, my soccer momish Dodge Gran Caravan, get through customs and then security. I return the minivan with no issues, get to customs and then stand and wait, about 30 minutes of waiting and I didn’t even get a stamp on my passport.  Next is security, pretty quick through security except the guy in front of me has apparently never flown before.  Take your shoes off buddy, do you have a belt on?  Ok, take that off and come back through, do you have any change in your pocket, place that in this little basket, come on through.  Then to top it all off the guy tried to balance the change basket on his coat, so guess what happened when it hit the divider going into the scanner?  That’s right, change everywhere, so let’s have everyone help dude pick up his 5 dollars in nickels, dimes and pennies.  After all of this I start my trek to my gate.  Toronto has to be the poorest laid out airport I’ve ever been in.  Two moving sidewalks, no trams and a sign that said “7 minute walk to your gate”.  That’s right folks, 7 minute walk, no other option.  I walk down stairs and through long narrow hallways to get to my gate.  I use gate loosely also, it’s 6 degrees outside and I have to walk out the double doors across the tarmac and climb the steps to my plane.  I swear I think Donald Trump has a bigger jet than this commercial jet I just flew on.  All this was after a nice 40 minute delay to my flight.  I had a layover in Cleveland, which was to be a long layover, but due to the delay it was shortened so it wasn’t so bad.  As soon as I land in Atlanta and turn my phone back on I get a text from my bride saying that there is a huge wreck on 85 and she’s sitting with the car in park in LaGrange.  So for the third time that day I found myself sitting in an airport with a plenty of time to kill.

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