It was 3:30 a.m. – I was sound asleep, exhausted from the long, extended weekend getaway that my Hubs and I had decided to go on. Somewhere in my dream an alarm clock was going off. Loudly. An overly annoying, blaring noise – over and over again. Disturbing my sleep.
Finally realizing it was not a dream, I came out of my fog, rolled over and hit the button that turned off the rude invasion. My eyes opened slowly. Confusion clouded my brain. Where was I? Oh, in Canada. It was an unGodly hour and we had to get up to catch the first flight out – back to the U.S.
At 3:30 a.m.? Yes! It was Clark’s way. First flight out. Always. I had grown accustomed to it and actually kind of liked getting on the road early now.
The 4th of July fell on a Friday this year. That meant extra time to celebrate our country’s Independence. A long weekend – plus a few days tagged on to the beginning and the end. It was the American way!! Take a one day celebration and turn it into an extended, 5+ day mini vacation. U.S.A.! U.S.A.!
And so, we did. But all good things come to an end and our vaca was over and it was time to hit the road and head back to reality.
As we arrived to the airport, I noticed the huge crowds and quickly realized that everyone had the same idea. Get away for an extended holiday and catch the early flight home. YIKES.
The Montreal Airport was a mob scene! People pushing and shoving. Confusion. I would soon find out that it was the calm before the storm.
Fast forward 4 hours…….
Our flight was cancelled due to…well, who really knew why. It’s like a huge, top-secret dealio that the airport officials keep from you until the last moment. And even then, the cynic in me tells me that half the time, the story you get is BS.
Long lines at the re-ticketing booth formed quickly. We were, oh, about 200th in line. And, the line was moving at a snail’s pace. Seriously – How long does it take to re-issue a new ticket on a flight that is NOT cancelled??
Every now and then, while standing in the worlds slowest and longest line, I’d sneak a peek at Clark to see if the vein in his neck was popping out. The one that pops out when he is about ready to explode. It was. I would look away again and pretend I did not notice. It was like sitting on a time bomb. If we did not get service quickly, it was going to get ugly.
Somewhere in front of us, there was an irate woman dressed in some kind of tropical get-up with a matching festive hat, screaming about missing her connecting flight to Aruba. Sorry lady, you aren’t getting to Aruba today.
There was a small, determined, Japanese woman who came out of nowhere and had marched to the front of the mile long line, talking in her foreign tongue, waving her ticket in front of the agents face. The agent kindly told her to go to the back of the line. She continued to frantically wave her ticket. He continued to tell her to wait her turn. He finally won out. She turned around and headed back. Sort of. She went about halfway back and hid behind a large pole and made an attempt every once in a while to rush the desk again – only to get the same response. Wait your turn.
During all the chaos, and after about 2 hours of waiting in the line that never budged, Clark, with neck vein bulging, overheard an agent saying he was going to open another desk down the hallway. He turned to me frantically and told me to get a head start, head the agent off and be first in line.
A good plan of attack!! I hurried down the hall, dragging my heavy, overstuffed, carry on luggage in tow, and beat the agent to his post. Hurray!! First in line! I noticed others had followed me. The agent rounded the corner and was a bit surprised that we were all standing there waiting for him. Tickets in hand and hope in our eyes.
Clark joined me in line, did some fancy talking and before you knew it, we had two seats on a connecting flight home and a handful of food vouchers! Food always calmed Clark’s nerves. I peaked at his neck vein. Yup, calm again.
While waiting for our newly, rescheduled flight, Clark and I spent time in the Maple Leaf Club. This is the private club. (I use the term loosely – it’s really a glorified waiting room.) It’s for frequent travelers to sit in while waiting for their flights. I looked around the room. It was filled with other passengers whose flights were also cancelled or delayed.
One benefit of the Maple Leaf Club is that you get free food and beverages while you wait. Like any other venue where food is included, people were swarming around it. As the server would bring out more carts with some new offerings on it, the crowd would all get up at once and stampede over & pile their plates high with whatever it was. Then, they’d slowly saunter back over to where they had been sitting – waiting for the next wave of food items to pounce on. It was amusing and annoying all at once.
At 4 p.m, – 12 hours after our ordeal started – We were still sitting in the club. I started to get antsy. The food was now boring me. We had seen new faces come and go. The crowd had completely turned over.
There was an Amish man sitting a few seats from me. He was wearing a black hat that was flat on top with a big, wide brim around it. He had a full length black beard and long chin length ringlets hanging down on either side of his head. As I looked at him, I knew that I would never have made it in this life as an Amish person because, well, ringlets.
There was a very thin, very fashionable french (Canadian-french) lady, sitting a few seats opposite the Amish man, eating a carrot stick. I was tired and needed a shower and was getting annoyed. I wanted to scream at her…oh go out on a limb and eat a cheese cube why don’t you!!
My eyes traveled around the room and settled on Clark who was sitting across from me. His brow was furrowed. (what now?) He looked up at me, informing me that our original, non-stop 6a.m. flight home, which had been delayed & then cancelled & re-booked, was once again delayed. Ohhhh Canada! – Oh brother!! Would we ever get home?
We would. And eventually we did. Almost 18 hours later, three cities and two airports. We made it back home. What had originally started out as a 2 hour non-stop flight home, had turned into an 18 hour ordeal. But, we got home. Safely. It never felt better to walk in to our home than that night. Exhausted from the long weekend and the travel day home.
I must say, traveling with Clark is always one great big adventure. We travel often and on the fly. Never really knowing where we will end up. But we always have a great time. Canada was lovely and we had a blast! I’d take a day of nightmarish travel in exchange for a trip with Clark any-old-time!! Bring it on!
What we need now, is a vacation from our vacation!