How do you like sitting on a plane for 45 minutes knowing you have just about 90 minutes to get off and get onto your connection? That’s what happened. The Air Canada flight was delayed due to poor weather in Philly for the take-off. We were to catch our connection at Toronto. The short flight, when it finally did take off, was over 90 minutes delayed. When we landed at Toronto, all of us stood standing in the flight for 20 minutes for the customs officer to come in and receive us. The gate agent had been delayed. I was thinking I will surely miss the flight. Luckily the connection was delayed by an hour. That was a sigh of relief as we had to go through immigration. Immigration itself was a breeze with many automated kiosks available that read our passports and we were out though we had to go through security again. Our boarding passes were scanned four times before we got to our gate. Security checks at airports are now a necessary evil. So much time is wasted everyday post-911. Do you remember the days when you could walk to the gate with your family and show your boarding passes to the gate agent and get onto the plane? This is something that will never be back again.
The flight to Calgary was on this huge jumbo jet with 50% of the seats empty. It was 9:30 pm when we started local time. When we landed in Calgary it was just about midnight. I had heard the rental agencies in Canada were very fussy about scratches and dints on cars. So I made sure the car was okay. As we were driving out of the garage, somebody just made a sharp right turn and hit one of the stone blocks – that should have surely caused quite a bit of damage, but he drove on. It isn’t very easy late at night to navigate unknown territory, least of all keep track of a low lying huge block of concrete when all you are looking at is for the exit signs and get to the hotel. The 10 or mile ride to downtown Calgary was surprisingly well lit all along the way for that time of the night. The sky was cloudy; however there was a persistent streak of lightning that reminds us of a possible Aurora Borealis – the northern lights. We very well knew Calgary was far too south to catch sight of the lights.
Canada had finished celebrating their Independence day as many of the people were heading back home from downtown. There was fireworks far off in the sky once in a while with some of the younger crowd still hanging around. Driving in a new city after a long flight can put one’s awareness off. I made a left turn into the hotel not seeing the one-way sign and managed to bump the wheel. The run flat tires withstood the hard bump luckily as once I had gone over a divider while making a U-turn – the seat was pretty low to sight added to the traffic – and had to pay over two hundred dollars to get it fixed before returning the rental. It was my lucky day for sure. The room was nice overlooking downtown Calgary which is full of tall buildings – most of them looked like hotels making me wonder where the businesses were.