So. Mr taxi man had no tip. He grunted when he removed my case and that was it. No have a nice flight. No where are you going. I don’t think I had a thank you when I handed over my cash. No talkee. No tippee.
A smooth check in. And the nice lady gave me a paper ticket to Wave as I got on. A wander around duty free. I don’t really get duty free. People buying things they don’t really need. Or have forgotten to pack- which is usually me. . Well at least I will smell nice as I leave the terminal. Everyone wants to get you to test their new and fabulous perfumes. Some smell fantastic. Others smell like well. They smell. Once again I think of my mother. Not that she smelt awful. Never. But she would have remarked it smelt like a tarts boudoir. Quite how my prim and proper mother would know how one would smell always surprised me.
I refrained from purchasing anything. Not even yet another moisturiser from Keilhs to add to the 46 we already have.Well nothing other than a big fat breakfast 3 flat whites and a Diet Coke. Somehow the Diet Coke made it feel ok for the breakfast. At 4pm. On a Friday. The one thing I miss in retirement. A big fat breakfast at the Docklands diner.
As usual my flight is delayed. Everyone’s fault. Baggage handlers. Air traffic control. It was delayed by 20 mins this morning even before I left home.
It’s A long walk to the gate. The gates go to number 42. Yes. My gate is the furthest away. The slow walk on the moving pavement. Are they really necessary? Then the queue to get on. Why? I don’t know. Unlike sleazy jet or rhino air we all have allocated seats. It’s not a free for all. A bun fight. We have seats. I’ve got to like budget airlines. Especially Ryan air who let you have two carry on bags.
Then why am I like a rat up a drain pipe at the off and first through the barriers like Eusian Bolt in a rush. But there is a bonus when I settle myself down in my seat. Parked ( is that the right word) next to my flight is the Olympic carrier with a gold nose. Unlike my nose which is red as its pressed right up against the window. In awe.
I know it’s just a plane. But it’s not any old plane. it’s the plane that carried all those athletes I stayed up half the night for.
what a joy. A painted gold nose. Right next to my flight. Most people were oblivious. Too busy stuffing oversized bags into overhead lockers. Arguing with their travel companions. Fiddling with the entertainment system. This is history though. Take a look. A picture. I did and sent it to as many people as I could. Who knows what haul Tokyo will bring. By then I’ll have my over 60 oyster travel pass. Free travel on London transport. Boy. I’m gonna make use of it.
But when your sat waiting to leave you need to look around. Especially to see who is sitting next to you. Hurrah! No one. I have a 9.5 HR flight with no one beside me. No one in front of me. Leg room for my short stumpy legs. And not that awful seat in rows 68 next to the toilet.
I have few phobias. Snakes is my biggest. Started when I nearly stepped on a sunbathing adder on the walk to the beach in Wales. And plane toilets. I try and avoid the toilet on a flight. Short haul is fine. Try doing that in a flight to New Zealand. Impossible. I have a fear. No. Not of getting sucked down into the depths of the plane when flushing.- an urban myth. Not leaving to a queue outside tapping their feet because you’ve been in there for an age. But a fear of toilet doors on planes . Decades ago as a young inexperienced traveller there was an incident. An embarrassing incident. Well embarrassing for me. Hilarious for others. I didn’t lock the door. Not properly. Sat with my trousers around my ankles when the plane hit bad turbulence. Door jolted open. I was the entertainment. So forgive me fellow travellers. I now take an age. Just locking. And checking. And locking again.
So. It takes an hour to taxi on the runway. There are 10’flights behind us . The M25 for planes. Except larger gaps between vehicles, no overtaking and no runway rage. Ooh I wish I had s secret camera. The cheeky couple trying to blag an upgrade. They don’t. The man shouting at his wife over his headphones to get him another wine as she sneaks into business class to go ” to the loo’. Yep. Same couple. I suspect I should nip in there. I’d get a better class of viewer should the loo door fail again.
I didn’t sleep. At all. 9.5 hrs. No sleep. For fear of snoring like a snorting pig and no Ian to nudge me in the way that only he can. In disgust. Because he never snores. Huh. Or dribbles and wakes with a creased face.
I get quizzed at immigration. How long am I staying. What do I want to see. I mumble and she asks again what my plans are. Why do I feel quilty. I’ll tell you why. It’s 3am uk time. 7 pm Canadian. I’ve been up since 6am. I haven’t slept. I’ve sprinted to get through passport control. I barely know where I’m headed now least of all what I have planned for the next two weeks. I mumble Gardens. Botanical. Museums. I mumble Vancouver island. Fishing she asks. I nod. I can’t be bothered to explain that I hadn’t travelled all this way to fish. I eat fish. Which I buy. Not catch. She scribbles on my immigration card and waves me through. I suspect the numbers she writes mean something. Like tosser. But let him in.
All that was worth it though. Met by a glorious sun getting lower in the sky welcoming me to Vancouver as I take a cab to the hotel. Tired. Knowing I’ll have to explain that yes the bookings in Ian’s name. And no he’s not with me. And no it’s not a pretty woman type of check in. Do I like a hooker. Don’t answer that. Because I’m tired. And I look like ….,
Tomorrow will be another day and the start of the holiday proper.