You know you’re in The Netherlands when the yellow field you pass is tulips, not canola. Or maybe you’re in Ottawa. Except next to it is a row of bikes to rent, so it must be The Netherlands.
Like all good middle-classers, I decided to spend my extra income on someone else’s economy. Not that it matters anymore. (Free trade rocks!)
Actually, I’m following this cute guy on a sort of musician’s tour, working along the way so I don’t have too much middle-class guilt about actually taking time off. Why don’t you join me on my very thrilling adventure? It will be full of selfies and original documentation of fascinating tourist sites – I imagine my words will be far more compelling than any account of [The Berlin Wall – Amsterdam coffee houses – the Glasgow Necropolis – effing Copenhagen and Stockholm and BERGEN] that came before.
So here we go.
First on the list is dropping baby at “Grandma and Grandpa’s”. She quite likes the new Pearson UP express train to the airport.
I have boycotted this train in the past, but now that it’s affordable for those of us who still have to pay taxes and don’t have an expense account, I’ll ride it any time. Maybe even just to the airport to hang out when I don’t have a flight booked, so I can soak up the feeling of getting away from it all.
“You’re overweight,” scolds the short lady at Air Canada check in. I’m offended. I’ve been exercising quite a bit over the last few months, and tried to eat less cheese.
She tips my carefully packed carryon onto the scale. See? She nods smugly. Six pounds over.
My laptop weighs six pounds, I argue, and I was going to take it out to work.
Too bad. The cat is your carryon.
$80 later, for the cat and one bag, neither of which are subject to the “handling” my fee supposedly covers (I am composing angry letter in my head!), I line up like all good travellers for some refined carbs and caffeine at the only place to eat in terminal 1. Line up, wait patiently, be pleasant. Rage gets you on don’t fly lists. Perhaps sugar will placate you. Full of false energy, I carry my cat onto the plane, where the dude next to me takes pictures of her for his daughter.
Calgary is a whirlwind of brotherly lunches and dinners, exchanging most convenient travel goods with the parents, who also just returned from Europe, and loading up the computer with a very important to do list. Which I promptly erase by accidentally touching the screen in the wrong place.
Pumpkin seems okay. Off I go.
First stop: collect boyfriend. We meet in Toronto and we board. More carbs presented to us with a flourish on the plane. A mere six hours later, we trudge through customs in Glasgow where a cardboard cutout of a woman somehow plays a video telling us what to do. We are creeped out.
As with most transatlantic flights, the aftermath is foggy, as is Glasgow. The upshot of that first day is multiple naps, a drift through the University of Glasgow campus, discovering where I truly belong,
And dinner that ends as it naturally should: a shot of whiskey at the bar with the locals regaling us on the ills of Vancouver.
Highlights: a vending machine full of Irn Bru.
Submitting my grades while waiting at the airport.