Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday September 11, 2013

Wednesday September 11, 2013

Although I had set my alarm for 5:00 a.m., I was awake at 4:30.  I rose, took my shower, and began to run through my list of last-minute “to do” items -- check email one last time, unplug computers, unplug phone so that all calls would automatically be routed into voice mail, adjust thermostat, water indoor plants one last time.  Close and lock luggage.  I had arranged for the taxi to arrive at 6:00. 

The trip to the airport was uneventful, with no delays, and airport security was quick with no long lines.  As usual, my camera bag required hand checking by security, but that process was not long.  The woman who hand screened my bag never once made eye contact with me.  Boarding was strange, as usual; the attendant called for rows 20-34, but after a few moments, I realized that everyone on the plane had formed a line and was being boarded; so I got in line, too.  No questions were asked, and I boarded with no problem.  The flight to Los Angeles was uneventful, and I tried to take a brief nap; however, as usual, I was not able to sleep on the plane.  During the flight, I worked crossword puzzles -- five New York Times Sunday puzzles with sports themes from a book I had.  It’s always interesting to pass over the great plains, with vast areas of neat farms, and the desolation of Death Valley was striking.  The arid landscape and brown air of the great basin of Los Angeles were also striking, leading me to wonder again about the vast population that continues to pour into this area.  People clearly come for the opportunity and not the geography. 

During the three hour layover, I got lunch and read a bit, and then boarded the small plane to Vancouver.  Again the flight was uneventful, and I leafed through the airline magazine.  Just before landing in Vancouver, the plane made a sharp turn to the East, and out my window I got a fabulous view of Vancouver with the snow-covered mountains to the North.  I wished for my camera, which was stowed; however, I realized that I would not have been able to take a photo because of the water and age stains on the airplane window.  Still, I enjoyed the view very much.  I was struck by the farmland so near and even within the city of Vancouver, much of which was standing in water.  Later I learned that the previous week had brought heavy rains to the area. 

The passport control process at the Vancouver airport was odd.  Passengers entered the airport at the far eastern end and then proceeded to walk through a very long hallway all the way to the far western end of the airport, where passport control was located.  The hallway was glass enclosed and on the second floor, giving passengers a view of the entire airport, which was very beautiful, and later I was told that this airport had won awards as being the most beautiful city airport in North America.  The airport predated the 2010 Olympics, having been constructed in 2001.  After I got my luggage and went through passport control, the Princess Cruise Line representative, George, was waiting for me by name, and escorted me to a waiting Lincoln SUV to take me to the hotel, the Fairmont Waterfront.  When the young man brought my baggage to my room, he informed me that if I were a member of the Fairmont Presidential Club, Internet use would be free of charge.  I immediately went to the front desk and inquired about joining, and I was told that I would enroll online.  After enrolling, I was given a FPC number, which I phoned to the front desk, who deleted the charge for Internet use. 

When I first got to my room, I noticed that the time was 7:20 p.m. Pacific time, or 10:20 p.m. Eastern time; my total trip had been 13 hours 20 minutes.  I was exhausted.  After freshening up a bit, I went out to eat; the concierge recommended a restaurant nearby, so I went there -- Rogue.  I sat outside in the beautiful evening weather and had macadamia crusted halibut; it was not great, but it was okay.  Afterwards, I fell asleep immediately. 

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