Canada and America 2009
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Dindin arrived at about half-six, so we were then officially on holiday. I was only going to carry hand luggage, so Dindin was using my baggage allowance. I didn't realise that we had 40kg each instead of the 20kg that I'm used to having, so was amazed to see Dindin walking from the taxi to my house carrying 4 bags, each weighing about 20kg. It made a twin-set and two stages look light! We had a quick cuppa, and tried setting my newly installed TV card to record the new episode of Red Dwarf. We hoped to be back by 21:00, but wanted to record it just in case. It took me ages to set the time, but eventually realised that it needed a single-click and not a double-click!
After doing that, we went to the Toby for a quick pint, and then went for a curry at The India. The Toby was full of kids, so we only stayed for one pint. The service and food at The India was, as always, really good. I was really hungry, but was surprised to find that we were hungry enough that there wasn't enough left to take home. This was probably a good thing, because there was very little room left in my freezer. Apart from some pokey little kid walking around the curry house in his pyjamas, it was a pretty good evening.
I had four cans of Stella 4 in the fridge, so we went back to my gaff to watch Red Dwarf. I turned on the speakers in the kitchen, and heard voices, so was confident that my PC had recorded something, even if it wasn't Red Dwarf. It was 21:30, and Dave was now showing classic episodes of Red Dwarf. We watched the Gunmen of the Apocalypse, and the one where they get Kennedy to be the man behind the Grassy Knoll. Dave then showed the first new episode of Red Dwarf again, so it wouldn't have mattered if it hadn't recorded. It was then time to have some kip (after last night's exertions, I was knackered, but the less said about that the better!). It was a bit unfortunate that I keep my driving license at work, because this meant that Dindin would have to do all the driving.
I woke up at about 06:00 gagging for a jimmy. On top of the toilet cistern, I have a box of wet wipes with the Sainsbury's logo on it. I was slightly concerned that my wee was the colour of the Sainsbury's logo, but never mind. As I was going back to sleep, I realised that having a car while Dindin was at work might be useful.
We'd set alarms for 07:00, and both got up fairly sharpish. Our flight wasn't due to leave until 13:00, but with all his luggage, Dindin wanted to get to the airport early doors. We'd booked a taxi to pick Dindin up at 09:30. which still left me enough time to collect my license from work. I managed to cycle all the way there without stopping, so had time to quickly check my e-mail before cycling back again. Fortunately, our customers were being very well behaved, so there was nothing that couldn't wait until Wednesday. I also didn't have to stop on the way back, so had plenty of time to pack before 09:30. Feeling really hungry by this time, I had a bit of toast with my tea before packing. Thanks to Dindin for setting my PC to record the second two episodes of Red Dwarf while I was cycling to work, and also for setting it to record the Easter special of Doctor Who, which seemed to have some new totty as his assistant.
The taxi arrived a bit early, so I gave Dindin a hand with his bags. I then finished packing, made sure that everything was secure, turned off the water, and then cycled to Heathrow. Cycling almost 20 miles while dehydrated and without having had any breakfast wasn't the most sensible thing to do, but I really wanted to have my bike at Heathrow when I landed on Wednesday morning. The journey to Heathrow was fairly uneventful (except for some idiot in a white van blocking the pavement), but I wasn't impressed to find that the car park that I normally park my bike at was closed.
I then saw a sign to Terminal 3 (for some reason, I knew what terminal we were flying from). Unfortunately, I needed to be in the right-hand lane, but was in the left-hand lane. I therefore had to cross about six lanes of Heathrow traffic on my bike. I managed this without incident, and got to the Terminal 3 short-stay car park. I found a bloke with an NCP jacket on, so asked him where the bike racks are. He just shrugged his shoulders, so I asked him again. He told me that I needed to go to 1A or 2, because there are no bike racks at T3. I think I found this out when I went to New York, but had forgotten. Cycling out of the car park, I saw a sign that said that I needed to be in the right-hand lane to go to all terminals. Cycling along the right-hand lane, I saw a sign saying that I needed the left-hand lane to go to car park 1A. I quickly cut across three lanes of traffic, and turned left. Next thing I knew, I was heading towards the tunnel out of Heathrow, in the right-hand lane, being honked at by two coaches behind me. I pulled into the left-hand lane, stopped, walked my bike across the pavement, and got onto the correct road. Just as I found the bike rack, Dindin called to check that I was still OK. After locking my bike up (including locking my bandanna and hi-vis jacket to the bike), I then had to walk to Terminal Three. Dindin was patiently waiting for me by the Air Canada check-in desks. Sorry for being late. Fortunately, the queue wasn't too long, but there was confusion when the woman found out that Dindin didn't have a return ticket.
Getting through security wasn't that much hassle, but I was surprised to find out that they'd turned the sensitivity up on the scanners, so I had to remove my belt. Fortunately, my trousers weren't too big, so there was no risk of them falling down (unlike in New York). After buying Sam some chocolate, it was beer o'clock. We had two pints and a Full English breakfast, but it took us ages to think of any town in the Caribbean. Dindin wanted to know what the weather forecast in the Caribbean is, so I looked on the iPod Touch's Yahoo weather forecast application. Unfortunately, it only recognises towns, and it took us ages to remember a town in the Caribbean! We were eventually helped by remembering an old UB40 song.
As were were walking towards the departure gates, I noticed that ours was logged as "Gate Closing". There was no hurry because we hadn't been called by name, so I called Sarah while Dindin went for a jimmy. As Sarah pointed out, if everybody used my logic, it would take ages to board a plane. When we got to the plane, there were no other passengers waiting to get on, so maybe we were cutting things a bit fine! Despite asking to get seats next to each other, I was given seat 15F and Dindin was given seat 15D. Never mind, we ended up with an empty seat in between us, and Dindin didn't have to listen to me whittering on any more!
Last night, Dindin told me that the capital of Canada is Ottawa, not Toronto. I had always thought it was Toronto. In fact, when I accidentally looked up flights from Heathrow to Toronto, there were lots of direct flights each day, but there is only one direct flight from Heathrow to Ottowa, and the plane (a Boeing 767) seemed very small to be flying between two capital cities. Oh well, I'm sure Dindin's right. Anyway, I was pleased to find that the aircraft's designers had incorporated something I have mentioned for years - USB chargers. Anyway, I listened to the safety brief, and then shut my eyes as the plane reversed away from the stand. I woke up a while later, and we were at 30,000 feet.
Food came round a bit later, but Dindin got served by the totty, and I got served by a bloke. I know it seems strange, but he seemed too old to be camp! There were quite a few kids around, but was surprised to find that the Legoland twitch wasn't happening. Anyway, I got a choice of three beers - Heineken, Canadian, or Coors Light. I was amused to see that they didn't admit that Coors Light is a Canadian beer! Anyway, I had the Canadian beer, which I finished in time to have tea when they came around. Once they'd collected the trays, I started updating my blog. The totty air hostess was on my side this time, so I got some more tea and an extra biscuit. Seeing my PDA and keyboard, she said, "That's nice. I've never seen one that small before". An expression I'm not used to hearing! When the battery on my PDA started running out, I got the USB charger out of my bag, and left it charging. The totty was back on Dindin's side, so he ordered tea, and she brought more cookies ("Just in case you felt jealous", as she said to him). After that, I had a quick kip, and Dindn watched SlumDog Millionaire. I asked the bloke bringing water around for yet more tea, but he said they'd be coming round in half-an-hour. Waiting 30 minutes for tea - I wasn't sure about that! [11/04/09 16:54 GMT to be continued. We're about a thousand miles away from Ottawa, but are about to start flying over land.]
We had quite a tasty snack (a "hot, posh pastry" from Monty's Bakehouse). Unfortunately, it was served by a bloke, but I managed to get tea from the air hostess totty a bit later. It seems that I was asleep when they gave out the headphones, but I had my iPod headphones with me, so I used them. I watched the first ten minutes of a Canadian news programme. The first article was about
Bombay Mumbai. It was quite interesting, but I was amused when the presenter felt the need to remind Canadian viewers that Mumbai is in India. [11/04/09 12:46 GMT-4: to be continued]
[13/4/09 14:18] The landing was a little bouncy, but I'm not a nervous flyer any more, so this didn't really bother me. As I was getting my bag out of the overhead locker, I realised that not only was there lots of pokiness around, but they were French pokiness. It doesn't get much worse than that! There weren't many people in the immigration queue when we got to it. Unfortunately, Dindin needed a jimmy, so the queue was a bit longer when we joined it. I looked at the immigration people, and hoped that I'd be called forward to number three. Unfortunately, this wasn't the case, but I still got served by a woman. It took a while to get her to understand what I was doing in Canada, but she understood eventually, and asked, "What is the nature of your relationship?". Forgetting that "mates" means more than just friends, I just replied, "We're mates". She replied, "You mean friends?". She then asked me what my address in Canada is, so I had to shout, "Dindin, what's your address?" across the immigration hallway!
After the confusion had been cleared up, she said that I had to go to the office to get my passport stamped. Dindin had been told the same thing, but it was going to take longer for him, because he was going to stay for 3 years, instead of the 3 days that I was going to stay. I left him to it, and went to wait by luggage carousal #1. I waited for ages, and didn't see any sign of Dindin's bags. I eventually realised that they had moved our flight onto carousal #2. I needed two trolleys to put all his luggage on, so had fun moving around the airport. Dindin's immigration process didn't take as long as we had feared it might, and we went off to go through Customs.
Dindin wasn't looking forward to unpacking all of his bags, but, in the end, didn't have to. The woman who dealt with me had different ideas. She just didn't understand the concept of flying from London to Canada for the weekend, so decided that I must be up to no good. It was a good job that I only had a pannier worth of stuff, because I had to unpack absolutely everything, and empty my pockets. She even looked through all the pictures on my camera, looking less than impressed at the tottycam pictures that Darren took from the Windsor Wheel last weekend. Finally, she looked at my USB chargers, and wanted to know why I was bringing in several USB memory sticks!
I eventually met up with Dindin again, and we went to collect the hire car. This also took us ages, because the bloke at the car hire place expected us to pay, but Dindin had been told that Avis should invoice his company. Not only that, but the machine didn't like Dindin's card, so I had to pay! When we got to the car, I noticed a bit of damage, so had to go back to the office and tell him about it. This took another 10 minutes! Anyway, Dindin had TomTom all set-up by the time I'd finished, and we headed off to his new gaff.
[13/04/09 16:10 being continued in the Tea Shop] TomTom didn't manage to take us to the exact place, but after a bit of searching, we eventually found it. All we had to do was open the "lock box", take out the keys, and unlock Dindin's new gaff. What could go wrong? Well, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn't open the lock box. Dindin eventually called the 24-hour helpline, and found out that he'd been given the wrong code. He typed in the correct code, and found that there were no keys in there! The woman on the phone said she'd send someone round in a few minutes.
While we were waiting for someone to arrive, I went of in search of somewhere to buy some tea. I found a few takeaway shops, but they only seem to serve coffee and flavoured tea. I couldn't find a grocery store, and wasn't going to stoop as low as buying tea from MacDonald's, so walked back to find Dindin still waiting outside! A security bloke turned up, found out what the problem was, and said he'd find "the Super". Why couldn't the woman of the phone just have called "the Super"? Anyway, a bloke turned up, Dindin said, "We're waiting for someone with the keys", and the bloke said, "Well, I'm the man with the keys". He found out Dindin's surname, and said, "That's a fine Polish name. What part of Scotland are you from?". We never did figure out what the Polish reference was.
Anyway, he went off in search of the security guard, and came back with Dindin's keys. There were quite a few questions that Dindin wanted to ask, but he tried to avoid asking too many because it always took the bloke ages to answer the simplest of questions. One of the questions was where to buy tea from. It turned out that it was just past the Home Depot, and I'd got as far as the Home Depot on my previous recky. I therefore left Dindin unpacking his stuff, and went to buy tea. It turned out to be a supermarket, so I bought a few more things as well. It was a strange layout - instead of having all the refrigerated goods together, it seemed to have random fridges all over the store. Anyway, I bought the essentials, and then went back to Dindin's to make and drink tea.
We were both feeling knackered, but if we didn't drive to Sam's house tonight, we'd have to drive there and back tomorrow, which was definitely a bad idea. Dindin started off driving, and I had a kip for some of the way, since I'd be doing the second stretch. We got to the American border without any problems, had to park the car to the side, hand over the key, and then go to fill in the relevant forms. I smiled as I read the bit that explained that I needed to hand the form back in before I left the USA, otherwise it would be difficult to get back in. It was a good job I renewed my passport recently, because my old passport still has a green form attached to it!
Anyway, after getting our fingerprints and irises scanned, we paid a few dollars each, and then continued on our way. I took over driving after a while, but had to stop at a MacDonald's after a while to get a Coke. It took ages to find it, adding at least 15 minutes to our journey. With about 30 minutes to go, I had to ask Dindin to drive again, because I was feeling too tired to drive. We continued making good time, and called Sam as TomTom said we were outside her house. She came out to great us, and directed us to the car park. She's got a lovely spacious flat. Considering she only moved in 10 days ago, she'd got a fair amount of furniture already. Despite feeling knackered, I still fancied a cuppa before going to sleep, but went to sleep fairly soon after finishing my tea!
Despite the late night, I woke up fairly early. I found that Geneva has a free wireless network. It was very slow, but good enough to send a few e-mails. I tried to find out what the capital of Canada is, but the wireless network was too slow for that! I continued dozing after that, but woke up again when I heard Sam's kettle whistling. I mentioned about the capital of Canada, and Sam agreed that it's Ottawa, and also let me connect to her wireless network. She also told me why Ottawa is the capital. After drinking a few cups, and Sam and Dindin chatting on Skype to their families, we decided it was time to go out to find breakfast. Unfortunately, being Easter Sunday, everywhere within walking distance was closed, so we ended up having to drive to the nearest steakhouse. It was doing a buffet instead of a steak, but it did the job. [to be continued]
[14/4/09 12:47 - being continued, I'm back in the teastore, even though I should check-in for my flight in 15 minutes] We then headed back to Sam's place via the supermarket to get some stuff for Dindin. I was quite amused to see that the beer's stored in a walk-in fridge. We were going to head out into the outskirts to see some of the local wildlife, but Dindin pointed out that we ought to leave in the early afternoon, so that we could have beer and curry when we got back to his gaff. We therefore had tea and doughnuts before starting the 4-hour drive back. I wasn't feeling very tired, so drove the whole way back. We had a totty border guard, and I remembered to ask her to collect my green card. I also tried to use my contactless payment card to pay for our drinks at MacDonald's, but the machine wouldn't accept it.
Back at Dindin's gaff, we had a quick cuppa and one of the beers we'd bought in Geneva, and then got a taxi down to the centre of Ottawa to have a curry at the curry house that Dindin and Sam had eaten at when they came in January. The food was good, and the mattar panneer looked almost as good as that at The India. Unfortunately, they'd cheated, so it didn't actually taste as nice. Still, the waiter was very friendly, even if he did continuously sniff while talking to us. We then had a quick drink at the bar opposite (because I'd noticed totty barmaids), before getting a taxi back (he'd given us his mobile number when he dropped us off). At about $28 each way, we're going to have to find a cheaper way to get into town.
Back at Dindin's gaff, he was feeling tired, and had to get up for work in the morning, so went to bed. I opened another of the beers that we'd bought earlier, and started flicking through the TV channels. I was amused to see that channel 69 showed the front door security camera, but got bored of watching it fairly quickly, and found BBC News Worldwide. [to be continued]
[14/04/09 14:37 being continued, I've got through security, and am waiting for my plane] Once Dindin had gone to work, I had a quick kip and some more tea before going to get a bus into town. Dindin doesn't have a printer, and neither of us had a pen, so I had to take a picture of the local transport instructions that we displayed on his laptop. Those instructions were:
Well, it seemed silly to take a bus for 3 minutes, so I found a road called Baseline, and walked towards Kanata. I had no idea what Baseline 2B and Baseline 2C are, but they sounded like something that I couldn't miss. I walked past the steakhouse that Dindin and I had discussed going to tonight, so checked out its opening hours. The sign says that it closes at 1:00 PM, but I hoped that it actually closes at 1:00 AM. Anyway, I continued walking along Baseline, but didn't find the stops that I needed to catch bus 95 from. After 15-20 minutes, I found a bus-stop with a map on it, and realised that I'd walked far too far. From what I could tell, the 95 bus runs up Woodrife. I started walking back, but got a bit confused when crossing the road. I saw a sign that looked like a stop hand, but it wasn't red. I looked right, saw a red stop hand, which was different from the one ahead of me, so decided that the one ahead must be a "walk" hand, so walked out. I got half-way across the road, and the traffic started moving, I ended up stuck between two lanes of traffic for a while. Ooops! Fortunately the cars in front of me stopped, so I got to the island in the middle of the road.
A little shaken, I continued walking to Woodriffe, and then walked along it. The bus stop was only a few yards along the road, but the #95 didn't stop there. I continued walking along Baseline, and found another map. It seemed that the Baseline station isn't on Baseline, it's on Nawaba. No wonder I didn't find it! I walked almost past Dindin's front door, and then got to Baseline after another 5 minutes! There was a #95 bus waiting to leave, so I got on-board. The fare should be $3, but I could only find two $2 coins, so the bus driver (who, being a woman, obviously fancied me) let me on for $2 instead (because the machines don't give change).
The bus driver told me where to get off, and pointed me in the direction of the Parliament Buildings. I followed her directions, saw some pretty nice buildings, and then some pro-Tamil Tiger demonstrators outside the Parliament Buildings. They were fairly vocal, but also quite polite. They were almost saying "Well, now would be quite nice" in reply to "When do we want it?". Anyway, I walked up to the Parliament Buildings past a flame similar to the Indira Gandhi flame in Delhi. A beggar came up to me, and asked me for money. When I refused, he asked me whether I was a policeman. When I said that I wasn't, he asked me whether there's any money in the fountain, so I told him that there is. He then asked me how much - 1 hundred dollars or 1 thousand dollars. I ignored him, and carried on walking to the Parliament Buildings.
There was some nice totty explaining what was going on. There were quite a few French speakers behind me, but she still spoke in both French and English. She said that there's time to go up the Peace Tower before the English tour starts at 12:50, so I decided to do that. Although it was about the same height as The Monument, it was enclosed, and I wasn't scared at all. The fact that we had totty looking after us in the lift might have helped! The views were great, and I was interested to find out that it's the only lift in the the world that isn't vertical (it's at a 9° angle).
The tour was taken by a bloke who looked like Jim Carey, and behaved a bit like him. I learnt quite a few things, but the main thing that sticks in my mind is that I could answer him when he asked why Ottawa is the capital of Canada instead of Toronto or Montreal. Thanks to Sam for telling me the answer yesterday morning! As I walked back past the flame, three women asked me to take their picture, and one of them gave me her camera. I assumed that this meant that she wanted me to use her camera instead of mine. What a shame! [14/04/09 15:16 - to be continued, I need a quick bite to eat, and there's some totty in the check-in area to check out]
After taking their picture, I went to find somewhere to eat. I decided that I would try a Subway, just in case the Canadian Subways are any easier to understand than the ones in Australia, New Zealand, USA, Scotland and England. I was beginning to get the idea, but I still got asked questions that I didn't understand the answer to. Anyway, I drank my tea, and whatever sandwich I'd ordered, and then continued wondering around Ottawa. It's a pretty nice town, with really new buildings right next to really old buildings. Most cities have this, but it seems to be more obvious in Ottawa. After wondering around a bit more, I ended up in the same area that we'd gone for a curry in before.
There were quite a few shops, one of which sold ice cream. I popped in to get an ice cream, and was pleased to see that there were two women wearing tight-fitting tops and short shorts serving. I was less impressed when I got short-changed, but I soon rectified that! I then continued wondering around, and found a nice-looking Thai restaurant. I thought I'd suggest it to Dindin later. I then went into the Hard Rock Café, but there wasn't any totty or wi-fi, so I walked out again. Next door was a pub that served Stella, but I resisted the temptation to go inside. Next door to that, I saw a tea shop, so went inside for a cuppa. It had hundreds of different teas on the shelves, and top-drawer totty in a low-cut top serving. My life was complete! Within a few minutes of each other, I had:
It took a while for anybody to serve me, but I was even more impressed when I found out that I had five different Assam teas to choose from (including one organic one). I ordered a pot, and it was brought over to me. I was even given a little burner to keep the tea warm! I was a little disappointed in the Assam tea, but never mind!
After finishing my tea, I remembered that my only job for the day was to buy some tea mugs for Dindin (nice as his furnished flat is, the mugs are rather small). I saw some nice orange mugs, so bought them (giving me more opportunity to perve at the totty).
I then walked back to the High Street, and caught a bus back to Dindin's gaff. On the way back, I realised a major
floorflaw in the Mac Mail application - it doesn't have an Outbox (at least it doesn't on the iPod Touch). Once I'd written my e-mail to Sarah, it just ended up in the Sent Items folder, despite not being sent!
Back at the bus station, I was amused to see a shop called "Quickie". I had no hassle finding my way back to Dindin's gaff. I was surprised that he wasn't back already, but I kept myself entertained with tea and BBC News 24. He arrived back soon after I did. He appreciated my present, but did point out that they were pink and not orange. I'd obviously got carried away with the totty.
We gimmered around a bit before getting a bus into town. Getting a bus instead of going to his local steak restaurant had two advantages - showing Dindin what I'd discovered today and going to the Thai restaurant.
We didn't have to wait long for a bus, and we even got off a stop later, which was closer to the food area. This was actually by accident (because the bus driver didn't stop when we pressed the button), but it worked out OK for us because it was closer to town. I wasn't sure exactly which way to walk, but Dindin recognised the area, because it's where he and Sam had stayed in January (although he found it difficult to find his bearings initially, because the roads weren't covered in snow).
Before going to find the Thai restaurant, we had a sneaky pint in a Scottish pub. It was a nice pub, with nice beer (reminding us of Scapa. we couldn't resist the 80 Schilling), and a friendly barman. Not only that, but the barmaids wore short tartan skirts. I was so tempted not to go back home! Anyway, we dragged ourselves away from the short tartan skirts, and went to find the Thai restaurant. It didn't take us long to find it, the manager was very friendly, and the food was good. We then walked back past the Hard Rock Café, so that I could show Dindin the Tea Shop. He was as impressed as I was.
Before catching a bus back to Dindin's gaff, we had another sneaky pint in an Irish pub. No totty in short tartan skirts this time, but there was still some barmaid totty. If Dindin hadn't been working tomorrow, we'd probably have stayed out all night. Back at Dindin's gaff, it took me a while to decide what beer to drink, but I managed it eventually.
After a quick cuppa, Dindin left for work, leaving me to drink more tea and pack. We weren't sure when his cleaner would be turning up, but I had promised to be well behaved if she turned up while I was there. The last thing we wanted was her refusing to clean his flat, having run away shouting something about "toot toot"! She arrived before I left, but said that she'd come back tomorrow. I finished packing (let's face it, I didn't have much to pack), locked Dindin's front door, posted the key under the door, and then walked to the bus station. Having been prepared for it to be quite cold, I was pleased to experience two sunny days.
I got off at the correct stop, but, before continuing sightseeing, I made sure that I knew where to catch the bus from. Having looked at Google Maps (thanks to Dindin's neighbour for having an unsecured wireless network), I realised that crossing into Quebec seemed like a good idea. I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to walk across the bridge, but a bloke at a hotel assured me I'd be able to. Walking towards the bridge, I saw an excellent example of an old building next to a new building, so took a picture [with hindsight, it hardly shows it at all].
I was amused to see that the city in Quebec opposite Ottawa is called Hull (at least it used to be called Hull until the French renamed it). I'd been impressed to see that all signs in Ottawa are in French and English. However, I was less impressed to see that not all signs in Quebec are in English. Anyway, the main reason for going to Quebec was to go to a museum about Canadian history. Unfortunately, by the time I got there, there, there wasn't really enough time. I had time to go to the iMax cinema, or have a cuppa in the tea shop, but not both. Obviously the tea shop won, so I crossed back into Ottawa, and went to the tea shop.
I found the Hard Rock Café fairly quickly, but couldn't find the tea shop. I walked around for ages looking for the tea shop, and must have walked along each street two or three times. Just as I was giving up hope, I found it - almost next door to the Hard Rock Café. How could I have missed it? Anyway, despite my check-in time at the airport being imminent, I went in for a cuppa. I ordered a different Assam tea this time, and also had a sneaky slice of chocolate cake. This time, I had a cup instead of a pot. It was made with a tea bag, but they had stuck a stick through the tea bag, and put the stick on the top of the glass, making it easy to dunk and remove the bag. Excellent! While I was drinking my tea and updating my website, I got a text message from a bird in Slough. She wanted some Dickson Love Train action again tonight - sorry love, you'll have to wait!
I wasn't exactly close to the bus-stop, so I drank my tea fairly quickly. I considered buying some tea to take back with me, but decided I didn't want hassle with the customs at Heathrow, so didn't. Fortunately, the airport buses in Ottawa are better than the Heathrow 7 Series that we have to put up with in England. I suddenly felt really tired on the bus, so dropped off to sleep fairly easily. Fortunately, I woke up before we got to the airport. I found the Air Canada check-in desk, but there didn't seem to be a suitable counter. Not only that, but I couldn't see a flight to Heathrow. It was about 14:15 and my flight was due to leave at 16:30. I went to one of the counters, and he said that the Heathrow flights leaves at 18:00. It took me a few minutes to remember that I needed to change at Toronto! There weren't many people around, so it didn't take too long to get through security (although the totty did hold my plastic bag upside down, and dropped all my liquids). I found somewhere with a table to sit at, and started updating my website. I got pretty hungry, and realised that I was going to have to pay for something before I got on the plane. Apart from having to spend some money, I knew that I couldn't hold my pannier and my food at the same time. Fortunately, the totty who dropped my liquids had sat down on the table next to me, so I asked her to look after my bag. After reminding me that I shouldn't leave bags unattended (it wasn't going to be unattended, she'd be looking after it), she agreed to keep an eye on it.
After finishing my food, I went to the check-in gate to check out the totty waiting there. Unfortunately, she wasn't catching my flight, but never mind! There was a wi-fi network at the airport, and I wanted to check my work e-mail, but wasn't going to pay to use it! Anyway, the flight left on time, and I settled down to continue sleeping.
It wasn't long before we arrived at
OtawaToronto, but it was a very long walk from our arrival gate to the departure gate. If only I'd got onto the "Express Walkway" instead of walking myself. I didn't have long to wait at the departure gate, but I did manage to check my work e-mail. The airport had the same chargeable wi-fi that Ottawa airport had, but there was a free wi-fi at my departure gate. Excellent!
Unfortunately, I was unable to get an aisle seat, and couldn't even get a window seat. The in-flight entertainment console wasn't working. This didn't bother me because I could keep myself occupied. I set up my PDA and keyboard, but then realised that I'd be arriving at Heathrow in about 6 hours, and would be in the office in about 8 hours, so ought to get some sleep. After two reboots, the entertainment system was partially working. The bloke next to me was annoyed by this, but I swapped seats with him, because my screen was working. Excellent, it wasn't an aisle seat, but a window seat is better than one in the middle. I didn't have a brilliant night's sleep, but I've had worse.
The plane arrived at Heathrow on time, and it didn't take me long to get through immigration. After all the hassle I'd had getting my passport renewed, I was surprised how easy it was to get through immigration. Once I'd got through all the formalities, I realised that I didn't know what terminal I'd left my bike at. I was sure that I'd walked past the entrance to the Underground, so walked past it again, and towards T1. I tried looking at the "What Terminal" sign, but it didn't say "Billy's Bike" anywhere. I got to T1, and realised that this was where I normally park my bike, and I'd actually parked it in a different car park. I had absolutely no idea where I'd left it. I then had a flash of inspiration, and turned on my PDA to read the start of this trip report. Job done!
My bike was still there, and my helmet, hi-vis jacket, and bandanna were all still attached to it. I put all the lights on, and then cycled into work. I'd only actually taken one day off work, so it didn't take me too long to catch up with things.
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Created on: 11 Apr 2009. Modified on: 07 Jun 2009.
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