I should have had the Broccoli 

Well here we go again. Another couple of weeks of bad spelling mistakes, awful grammar and lost of apostrophes in the wrong places!

International travel isn’t sexy is it? Take this morning, we got up a time that I don’t reckon I’ve ever seen on the clock before, I know the first number was 4, the rest was just a blur. Claire rose first as is the custom in our house. If we had an alarm clock I could hit, I would have hit the snooze button. Instead I clicked the clock icon, put 15 more minutes on the alarm and drifted back to sleep. It’s funny how it seems the best sleep you get is between alarms. And off it went again, I dragged my body from bed, showered, got dressed and we headed out the door and on our way to the airport.

I hadn’t slept that well but do you ever when you know you have to get up at some ungodly hour of the morning? The drive to the airport was uneventful. We were a little anxious, upon checking our flight we noticed there was only an hour and twenty difference between landing at Brisbane domestic and transiting to Brisbane international, through Customs and onto our Canadian bound flight.

The heat as we entered the aerobridge at Brisbane was a relief compared to the cold Melbourne winter, it’s always a holiday thought but we spoke briefly about moving to a hotter climate but then quickly decided we liked Melbourne too much. Getting through the airport was quick and apart from a slight delay at immigration where of course my epassport failed once more, we made the gate just as the plane boarded.

We were lucky enough to have an extra legroom seat against the bulkhead. The last few trips have taught me to seek comfort on the longer legs and pay the extra for it. We learnt from our Berlin trip and didn’t book the outside seat, knowing the trolley constantly hits it on the way down. As usual the stewardesses gave me funny looks as I refused the meals, telling me how long it was till the next meal, I politely declined with “I don’t eat on planes”. Only afterwards did Claire let me know that they were probably making a comment about me ordering beers whilst not eating, but I wasn’t going for Boony’s record or anything. A couple of cans of Coors Lights and a Molson Canadian Lager aren’t gonna get anywhere close and hey, how do I make my money back for not eating.

The trip passed quickly for me. My idea was to try and do at least half my weeks study on the plane and I achieved this by completing all my reading for my course. I could see for poor Claire though the time dragged and a part of me felt guilty about that. I dislike seeing her sad and as soon as I finished my study we plugged in our little joint earphone connector and watched the same movies and shows.

We thought coming into Vancouver we’d have very little time to play with but in fact the opposite was true. Having initially been told by Qantas we would need to collect our bags and re-check them in we were told that they would go straight through to our final destination, Ottawa. We had some unintentional fun at the immigration gate where a machine takes a scan of your passport and then asks you to pose for a picture and prints it out and gives it you. Neither of us could get it right and I was quite embarrassed to take it up and show the officers there this wide eyed crazed grinning face I’d managed to pull.

Vancouver airport was empty and we sailed through and after wandering up and down the shops we decided our breakfast (it was now 8am in our new destination) would be taken at the first one we saw. Pretty sure they were much of a muchness but after not eating for 24 hours I’m not sure anything would have tasted bad. The bacon, egg and cheese croissant went down a treat as well as the regular coffee, which in Australia will be classified jumbo.

I’m finding Air Canada staff different, they don’t really fit the model of Australian air stewards and stewardesses. No blonde hair and tans, more just normal looking people who don’t lay on the pleasantries too much but seem to be very genuine. The descent into Vancouver was impressive over a series of islands, as we first descended through the clouds. Mountains were just poking their heads above the cloud cover, looking like peaks rising through the snow, of course though it is in the low mid twenties so no chance of snow where we are at the moment.

I’m a keen watcher of the flight path on planes, it certainly teaches you a few things. Today I learnt there was a place called Chilliwack! Strangely and luckily enough our only late arriving plane was the one into Ottawa on our final leg requiring no transfer apart from to our hotel. The flight was fairly uneventful. We’d checked ahead and uber was available from the airport so the nice Vladmir came up to pick us up. He wasn’t talkative, which after 27 hours travelling sort of suited us.

Arriving at hotels after long journeys is always a disappointment I find. You form in your mind this picture of a giant room with spas and dressing rooms and when you arrive it’s the size of a large broom cupboard. I think we both felt a little disappointed but that soon cleared and we headed out for a small supermarket shop at Sobey’s Urban Fresh (a bit like a Woolworths metro to us Aussies). It interestingly served a whole counter of hot foods, like a buffet, where you filled your tub with pasta, rice or other dinner treat and pay via the amount of grams you have. Cool idea eh? If we had this in Australia, when Claire was away, I’d never cook. The beer selection as you can imagine was wonderful to me. I hadn’t had 98.7% of it. And the rest were variations of Guiness.

After a quick pop back to the hotel to fill the fridge with our goodies we headed out to a restaurant of my choice. I fancied a burger and I noticed in our Lonely Planet a burger joint called ‘The Works’ closeby. We walked 20 minutes down a road filled with all sorts of restaurants and plastic pubs before reaching it. I’ve never been to an American diner but I imagine if you hipstered one up it would look like this. Lots of wood and industrial piping painted onto the walls. Our waitress came over, introduced herself, like you see on those American movies and asked if we’d been before. I told her not only had I never been before, it was my first night in Canada. She seemed excited. I ordered The Tragically Maple burger, thinking I might as well try a Canadian creation. I ordered their smallest beer, which turned out still to be 600ml, I supped away on a couple until my burger and Claire’s salad turned up. I’m not sure what the chef thought when the order for salad with chicken came through but I can imagine he was disgusted!

As I bit into the burger and stared lovingly at the bucket of fries they’d bought me, I realised why it was called the Tragically Maple burger, everything was sweet, the bacon, the potato bits, the few leaves, the bun and the burger. I think they dipped the whole thing in Maple Syrup before bringing it out to me. I quickly came to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to finish my first massive burger meal in Canada and for once in my life instead of ordering the fries as a side, I should have taken up the offer of the steamed broccoli.

We wandered back to the hotel in the humid 26c degree heat at 10pm at night, thinking about an ice cream but I reckon that would have knocked me out for a couple of days. I live to see another day and maybe another burger. We start the beginning of 4 full days in Ottawa from tomorrow.

IJS 15/7/2017

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