22.12.2011 - 22.12.2011 0 °C
Thursday 22 Dec 2011
No time really this morning to do anything other than pack up and make sure everything was in order for the next leg of our journey by plane to Toronto. We were on time for breakfast and the excellent staff at the Alberta Place Suite Hotel had booked our shuttle bus to the airport. We were on time for that too, and waiting in the lobby for a while, so the reception desk attendant came to check our pick-up time and was about to call on our behalf to see where the bus was when it arrived.
There were several other pick-ups and we were sitting at the front so we could hear the conversations between the driver and his base. The driver had reported a no-show and the dispatcher asked him to go by the place again as the passenger was there and had insisted he was there when the bus came. The driver insisted that the passenger had not been there when he checked the lobby, but went back. When the passenger was boarding the driver called him a liar to his face, and there were a few tense moments.
In spite of that we were at the airport in plenty of time, more time than we needed as it turned out – our Air Canada flight was delayed, and didn’t leave until an hour after the scheduled departure. As had happened in Sydney, the flight was heavily overbooked. There must have been at least a dozen people waiting on standby, and there was an announcement asking for a volunteer to give up their seat on the flight – in return the volunteer would be guaranteed a seat on the next flight to Toronto and would receive a $200 travel voucher. Fortunately Robyn and I had our seat allocations this time.
The pilot made up some time, about half an hour, however, by the time we disembarked in Toronto, we were still an hour late because we had to wait for all the passengers with connections to other flights to leave the plane first. We losing faith in Air Canada, especially since we had no access in our row (and the row behind) to the in-flight entertainment system for the 3 ½ hour flight, and it couldn’t be fixed.
Our next challenge was to get ourselves to somewhere that Jeremy or Phoebe, our hosts for the night, could collect us. Hurried SMSs back and forth had us taking a shuttle bus into the city to be dropped at the Royal York Hotel about 40 minutes later. I told Phoebe what colour coats we had on and she told me what vehicle to look out for, and in no time at all Jeremy was there and we were on our way past beautiful old buildings (city hall) and Christmassy shop windows to the house in Gough Ave.
Dinner was mostly over, but the people, family and friends of Phoebe and Jeremy, were still there so we just sat down and joined the party. It was wonderful to be welcomed so warmly and made so welcome. We were still on Alberta time (2 hours earlier than EST) so it didn’t feel late for us so we probably kept people up far too late, especially since Jeremy and daughter Robyn had to go to work next day.