When I told people I was going to spend 5 months studying in Canada the standard response was “That’ll be an experience!” Well today certainly was. We woke up in our hostel at and had our shuttle to the airport arriving between 9.50 – 10.05am for a 1.25pm international flight. So 10.05 came and still no shuttle, but thankfully one of the very nice guys who worked at the hostel (his accent sounded just like the American guy on The Boat that Rocked) found them in a nearby car park and ushered them though. The driver was kind of annoyed, but I think he forgave us when we gave him a $10 tip (because we didn’t have money to tip him the first time).
We got dropped off at the United Airlines terminal with plenty of time to spare and were greeted with quite the line (as seems to be common with international travel). You would think this would be fine, except that out United Airlines flight left from the Air Canada terminal. Unlike in Sydney, this is not accessible by foot and rather a 20 minute bus ride.
We went outside looking for a bus and saw a taxi. How lucky! We didn’t understand why the guy looked confused when we opened the door until he explained that it nice illegal to pick up people from the departures terminal because we could be terrorists. One quick look at my purple and rose-coloured bags and our conspicuous Aussie accents made it pretty clear that we weren’t terrorists and he offered to do it for us for 10 bucks. So finally at the Air Canada terminal we lined up again and found that we weren’t seated together and were only allowed 1 piece of baggage each (and we had 4!). Thankfully, a Canadian lady lived up to her nationalities friendly reputation and put my ski boots through without saying I had extra baggage and moved us to different seats where we could be together (thank you nice lady).
Once we dropped our bags (at a sus looking conveyor that I thought without a properly checked bag and a man deep in conversation with someone I might never see them again) we finally made it past another identity check before facing the obstacle course that was security.
I have been through a few airport securities in my time, but none quite like this. While Mark seemed elated at the idea of stripping of your shoes and then rotating through an x-ray machine… I was a little concerned. Of course all laptops, liquids, metals and shoes had to be sent through the x-ray machine, but this time so did the people! If you weren’t keen on the extra radiation (which apparently was the equivalent of spending minutes in an aeroplane) you could opt for a thorough pat down. The American security guards looked a little rough so I went for the rays.
After all the action of getting to the airport it turned out that our plane was delayed and we had an hour to spare. This as quite a relief as we had a chance to get something to eat (it’s funny how you forget to eat when so much else has your attention… actually it’s 11.45 at night and all I’ve had today is a muesli bar and a small sandwich… pancake breakfast tomorrow though!). We also got talking to a really cool couple from California who had been to Australia and were going on a trip around Europe stopping over at Toronto.
Plane ride as great with some Canadian tv and movies available from the screen (I can’t say I’d heard of much of it aside from the Just for Laughs comedy festival but I am sure I will become more acquainted).
After a good plane ride over the Grand Canyon and Wisconsin, where they flew extra fast to make up for lost time, we made it to Toronto. I realised that we hadn’t organised to check in to our Canadiana Hostel and we wouldn’t be arriving until about 10.30pm. Thankfully a quick and easy call to Canada thanks to some Canadian money I found in my coin collection (man it is easier to call Canada from Canada!) we found the had a 24 hour check in.
So a relatively short and slight rip-off of a $55 taxi ride brought us to our hostel which has really good showers and windows that open. Our room happens to open right out into the Toronto street, but hey, can’t see/hear that when you’re not in Toronto.
Tomorrow is a day exploring Toronto after a much-anticipated pancake breakfast. Until then!