It's 5 a.m. on Christmas Day, and I can hear the surf pounding the beach...the palm trees whispering to each other as they're gently ruffled by the morning breeze. Yep, we’re actually in our cute Hawaiian cottage by the sea, and I’m waiting happily for the arrival of daylight!
Dearly Beloved and I saved enough cash during 2016 to finally pay for a couple of weeks in Hawaii. As a matter of fact, we left on Decenber 23, and just spent Christmas Eve basking in the tropical warmth and beauty of Wainmanalo beach. More
Yes, this is beautiful, but getting here was a story in itself.
The kind lady in my GPS (come to think of it, I've never actually asked her name, even though I place our whereabouts entirely in her capable voice) guided us to a swank hotel in Richmond. In our case it was the best option; as the room was not too expensive, we could shuttle to and from Vancouver Airport, leave our car at the hotel, and have free parking there until our return.
Overnight we recuperated from the shock of leaving the quiet back roads of our Sunshine Coast and plunging into the fast and furious traffic of the city. It was fun to see how the city folks congregate to the sports bars. There were TVs everywhere, except possibly the washrooms. The food was expensively delicious, The decor was amazing.
They say travel broadens the mind. It certainly doesn't broaden the space inside an aircraft now, but of course millions of travelers have griped about this, so I'll just say it is definitely true. But, and this is good, the actual seating configuration has changed for the better on the jumbos. It is two seats on each side, with three in the middle, so you no longer have to crawl miserably over umpteen other passengers to go and join the lineup for the washroom.
Nevertheless you still feel like you're skillfully and neatly packed in like those Millionaire brisling sardines. Once buckled into your seat, you become just another blob among the other 300 or so passengers strapped into a very fast moving metal tube with wings. Needless to say, the seats are ergonomically designed to allow you about an inch of reclined space, and the edge of the seat ensures your blood supply to your lower extremities is compressed and cut off just above the knees.
Want an aisle seat, or even a choice of seat? Thank you ma’am. That'll be an extra $60. And don't think you’ll get away by not checking a bag...remember you can't have any sharp objects on carry on? Another $25 out of your wallet for each checked bag.
Things you should know
When you're jammed into a five hour strapped in flight, there’s not much else to do except notice those cleaner folks certainly don't have something in common with you. They look down, and all you can do is look up.
On my Air Canada flight number AC1831 I sat in the middle of row 25. My eyes were inevitably drawn to the ceiling panels, and in silent horror I realized how filthy they were. Seriously, there were black STUFF globules suspended, ready to drop on me. There were little apparent water/sweat condensation pools interspersed in the mix. Here are actual photos.
You're between a rock and a hard place. You can't tell one of the serving crew who come by with their trolleys, because another dozen or so fellow passengers might start thinking the same way you do and cause a stampede to the exits while you're in flight. But you know you’re breathing in this disgusting air.