William Matheson (nova_one) wrote,
William Matheson

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last leg

The flight from O'Hare to Pearson was supposedly barely an hour but it felt more like two hours of non-stop torture. I'm not a big fan of short flights anyway because for some reason they're really brutal on my sinuses. I have to be swallowing nonstop to stave off incredible pain that makes it feel like my head is going to explode.

It also always happens that you have the greatest urge to go when the plane is taking forever to get from touchdown to gate. Much ballyhoo was made about our being early, but all it meant was extra time waiting on the tarmac at Pearson since the gate we needed was still occupied. So really, what was the point?

We flew in an Airbus A319, which is much like the 320 but with about seven fewer rows, or seventeen fewer on United. You also get standard United hospitality including a PA system turned up all the way so that you spend the entire safety video with your fingers plugging your ears in a futile effort to save them and attendants who would my gosh never indignantly say to the guy in front of you "You should have turned that off ten minutes ago." They also didn't have any customs forms, but they apologized for that and said they'd asked for more but didn't know when they'd get more.

We had a torturous landing too, with a descent of about one millimetre per petametre. All the while I was thinking if I decide to go to Arthur's wedding next year, how I can get there with a minimum of discomfort - take the bus perhaps, and bathe myself a square inch at a time in bus terminal bathrooms? Buy orthotics and walk the whole way?

Customs, condescension on '11': "What's a Bedford boy doing in Portland?"
Me: None of your effing business? ... "My cousin got married."

Like really, why do we put up with this crap? I could understand if this kind of thing were usual procedure when coming from far-away countries with wildly different standards - here you get to go through it when doing the travel equivalent of popping out to the drug store for some milk. I'm going to spend the rest of my political career pushing for some kind of common frontier and/or customs integration. The ease of intra-EU mobility makes our arrangements with the United States laughably primitive.

* * *

You don't have to wait around long for the TTC's "Airport Rocket", but it's in no danger of usurping the taxi/limo mega-industry built around Pearson. Worry not about the seas of black Town Cars you will see - they will continue to smoothly roll with their body-on-frame construction and chain-driven V8s until kingdom come - both in revenue service and with happy second-owners. Anyway, the "Airport Rocket" is just a standard low-floor city bus (probably a New Flyer D40LF) and hard to even get carry-on sized things on board. Then you rattle and shake your way to Kipling station, fortunately with only a few stops. From there it gets a little easier - on the subway, you can slide small carry-on-size suitcases under your bench.

If you're going to rely on TTC or your own two feet, fly out of Billy Bishop instead. It's far more convenient and even if the fare ends up slightly greater, it's totally worth it, unless it's more than $100, in which case you could argue that a taxi to and from Pearson would be equivalent. But then you've got the extra time that takes, right?

* * *

I made it to my cousin Ruth-Ann's neighbourhood. I went up to the house and searched for the key in its specified hiding spot. Nothing there. Hmm... oh yes, wrong house. Good thing nobody was watching that.

I had a nap and now I'm doing some laundry. It's been a long day and it's not over yet.
Tags: air travel, toronto, travel

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