Saturday, July 11, 2009

Sometimes the journey is - oh F**k that. The journey sucked.

We've made cutbacks - and it shows.

Boy, does it.

So we were ready to make that trip to Grenada. All we had to do was get on the plane - Air Canada - from Winnipeg to Toronto. Easy enough, because at two thirty in the morning all that's in the airport here is security and that fucking annoying notice that plays in English AND French every 90 seconds. Not so bad when you're inside having a cup of Tim Horton's coffee (yeah, I name drop like hell - they should pay me,) but when you're already tired and just want to have a peaceful smoke, it's like having a nail driven into your fucking head. Repeatedly.

We load our bags and check in. Got the itineraries via E-ticketing - it works. Thank God. Processed quickly and cheerfully by the person behind the counter. Wow, we thought. This is going to be easy! Well... it was. At first.

I carried my trusty laptop with me, fully charged, ready to turn on for security at any point. My girlfriend and her daughter had purses. They flew through security, I had to dump my pockets, take out the laptop (I expected that) and stepped through. They had to wait. This would become a theme. First step - easy. We got on the plane and saw this -

Sometimes it pays to be overcharged...

- and we knew life might be good. Each seat had its own multimedia system and a lot of room. At one point I remember playing with the system - mind you, it even has XM radio, and complaining to myself that there weren't enough channels. Boy, was I fucking stupid. "Kim, think this is nice? Wait till we get on an American plane." (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA)

The plane we flew till we hit Montreal. Inside it, above.

Okay, I have to admit, I hadn't flown since May of 2001. I had no idea of what I was getting into. To Air Canada's credit, their planes were spotless and their staff very pleasant. We had to buy food, but it was Quizno's and not much more than if I'd have bought it at -well, Quizno's. AND they take cash. So going to Toronto was easy. Run for a smoke. Security again at Toronto. The girls wait. I check for the fiftieth time to make sure I didn't drop my passport. OCD is creeping in. Still no one asks me to turn on my laptop, and no one gives a shit about the digital camera I left in the case. We buy sleep pillows - get them they're worth it! Fly to Montreal. I play with the entertainment center again, find a movie, and fall asleep. Shit. But at least everything's on time.

At Montreal we dash out for another smoke and by now I'm really tired, and have REALLY had enough of hearing everything in English and French. We go through customs and find out that we have to take our bags and deposit them to be scanned and sent over to the crew at American Airlines. On our trip to Grenada, this was the last ime we saw all of them alive.

AA baggage prison. Don't worry, they only take stuff they can pawn.

The U.S. Customs guys were helpful in getting us through. Helps to travel with good looking women. Security must check my laptop here - I had to take off my belt, shoes, everything. Nope. The girls wait, I think I see eyes roll at one point. We got a drink, sat down, and prepared ourselves. I was thrilled to be on an American airline - I'd show them how it's done. Holy shit - did you ever say something you know you'd never live down?

Holy 1980's, Batman... did I bring my glasses?

737 - former cargo plane, out of production.. for a reason.

This is what greeted us when we got on American Airlines. No in seat screens - we ALL had to watch the same movie - made for 12 year olds (Hotel for Dogs) even though there were only about three kids on the whole fucking flight. And one was a baby. Then we found out - oh, no - this flight doesn't go straight to Grenada like the itinerary says - it stops in Miami. Fuck. Well, maybe they have food. Nope, same as Air Canada - except they wanted 4.00 for a fucking cookie, or bag of nuts (the same size they used to GIVE away) or trail mix or bag of chips that normally costs 89 cents. Want a sandwich? 9.00. US. And they don't take cash. Guess you don't want my money that bad... and to top it, the sandwich was half the size!

AA flight attendant doing what she does best - nothing.

And the American Airlines flight attendants, stewardesses, whatever... I prefer skybitch. Seemed more appropriate. I never saw a more surly bunch, and I've flown Southwest, United, and Luftansa. And apparently cleaning the plane between flights doesn't include bathrooms - Kim was in first, because we were in back, and well, she'd rather use it before takeoff. I knew when I saw her gagging coming out... this is not good. Thank God Miami had A. a smoking lounge, and B. a great mojito bar outside the smoking lounge. So we suffer through the flight and the dumbass movie, get to Miami (where we find out English and French is replaced by English and Spanish,) down a smoke and mojito, race back to the gate. Board the flight to Grenada - same type of plane. So much so that the movie was - you guessed it - Hotel for Dogs. Fuuuuck... why, God?

We get to Grenada and find out that American has lost my bag. This is unfortunate for two reasons - I don't know what's actually in it and I realize I have no grasp of the English/Patois way of speaking. And my claim guy stared at his computer as if he were a Mayan seeing a Bic lighter for the first time. It did get delivered the next day, though.

The return trip... we made our customs, paid to leave the country (you have to do that - like a ransom) and we put the bags on the belt. They made it to Puerto Rico. Miami. Skybitches are supposed to sell food - they sit in the back row and eat while everyone starves. We were in the back row SO WE SAW YOU!! And the SAME FUCKING BAG gets taken hostage again. And guess what? When I hit the mainland, we have to separate, because they're Canadian and I'm American. Surely I won't get randomly selected. WRONG. I was the only one. They had to put their bags through too, because we were under the same declaration. Well, what else could happen, right? We get to Toronto. Customs asks me for my PR card.
"My what?" Exact words.
Apparently, five years ago they replaced the landed immigrant form with something called a PR card. Greaaaat. Now I can't get back into Canada. But They let me back in, as long as I promised to get one. Nice people. We tell them we're missing the bag and they ask us what's in it. We had six bags. "Ummm.. the Hope diamond?" How the fuck are we supposed to know? And still - NO ONE HAS ASKED ME TO TURN ON MY LAPTOP. So it's an urban legend, I guess. Through this all - the girls had to wait. Roll their eyes and laugh because I lost weight and my pants didn't fit without a belt anymore. The bag got home two days after us... I think it escaped.

So I learned something important....

Grand Anse Bay from the balcony of the restaurant at the Grand View.

...sometimes to get to paradise, you need to go through hell. And American Airlines is the perfect airline for hell.

And next time, I'm flying Air Canada all the way.

1 comment:

  1. Well written. Great pics. Before this flight, you noted you had last flown in May of 2001. I am glad you didn't fly on September 11 of that year around New York area. Great blog you have, my friend. I now have your site bookmarked. :)