Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tahiti.... From the beginning.

October 27/08

It seems like the lead up to this trip was nothing but a foretelling of the disaster yet to come. For a week or so, prior to leaving, my bursitis had been acting up so I was happy I had decided to leave the backpack behind. However I was still having problems dealing with the new luggage. I had been carrying that backpack, and the same accessories for over ten years. Change isn't easy to someone who is in a constant search for the 'perfect' piece of luggage.

Two days before leaving, I set out with Zoe the Wonder Dog (ZTWD) for Saltspring Island, where she was to stay for the month I was gone. The Venerable VW Van had been taunting me with some strange burps and hiccups, but I ignored them.

When it was time to board the ferry, the van just wouldn't start. DEAD. Not even turning over. All the cars passed me, boarded. Realizing I was on a slope, I let it roll, and got it to turn over. But I feared that once I was on the ferry, it wouldn't start again, so I decided to head home, borrow a car to take the dog over. I got within blocks of home, when I had to stop at a red light. It died again. Called the Automobile club, got towed home, met friends on the way who loaned me a car to get ZTWD to the island, rushed like hell there and back, and left the van in the garage until I got back.

October 29/08
The next day, I made it out of Victoria without too much trouble. However it turns out the new roller luggage that I thought was carry on size, isn't, so I will have to trust it will arrive at LAX. It was an uneventful flight, the usual WestJet serving of mini bag of pretzels and a glass of tomato juice for 'dinner'. Tomato juice is my saviour on these foodless flights. On arrival, I called the hotel for the 'courtesy pickup', which turned out to be a taxi.

The motel (not hotel) is over ten minutes, and half of Calgary away from the airport, and has seen better days. They call it the Airport Best Western, but it is nowhere near the airport, nowhere near 'Best', but I guess it can be called 'Western' because it is in Calgary. The staff is all 'Eastern', I believe Thai. The restaurant is Thai, but all I really wanted was a normal meat and potatoes dinner. We were out in the middle of nowhere, so without a car, that really wasn't possible. So I ended up having a drippy hamburger, while struggling with an over fancy, totally non absorbent, synthetic, tacky Thai brocade napkin.

The desk clerks, were friendly and nice. The room was tiny and its decor reminded me of hotels I have stayed in in China and SEA. It is a totally non smoking hotel, but the room was overheated and stuffy. Thank god the it was old enough that the windows opened. Of course the bed was covered with the ubiquitous quilted, ugly, synthetic horror of a bed spread, full of god knows what kind of dirty germs and what not, and probably has not been cleaned in years. It is amazing what kind of accommodation we will put up with when we are travelling, but will not tolerate at home!! For my Best Western buck, I wanted a pristine, cold, sterile, antiseptic NA hotel experience!!!

The spread was immediately dumped on the floor, leaving clean, nice white sheets and a paper thin blanket. Thank god for the body sized pashmina shawl that I always travel with. I couldn't be bothered calling for another blanket - and so to bed...

I am struggling with my choices of luggage. At this point think that I have made all sorts of mistakes. This is the first time in many years that I have have abandoned the back pack and its 'partner' day pack, and small shoulder bag. Everything is 'new' and different and of course i am having trouble adjusting and finding things.

Breakfast was included, in one of those truly awful 'buffet' rooms. A long counter full of nasty, just about stale white sugar coated 'stuff''. There was even a 'do it yourself' waffle thinggy. The room was full of businessmen talking to themselves on their cellphones/blackberries/iphones.

I had a bad English muffin and rotten coffee.

Cab arrived to take me to the airport, wearing one of those phones on his ears, and talked non stop in Punjabi all the way.

Onward to LAX... pray for my luggage

No comments: