06.01.2012 - 07.01.2012
Saturday 7 Jan 2012
(What happened to Friday?)
In spite of what we had been told at check-in, our Air Canada flight left Montreal on time. In Vancouver we had no time for anything except finding the departure lounge for our next flight. It was a full flight with lots of babies and children among the passengers. Our seats were in the last row, 44. Air Canada’s seating allocation again left something to be desired – I was asked to swap seats so a woman could be next to her daughter.
We spent the 15 hours between Vancouver and Sydney sleeping, chatting and watching movies, including a couple of art house movies (the Station Agent and the Australian Griff the Invisible) and a Korean tear-jerker The Champ. Thankfully, the babies were on the whole well-behaved and fairly quiet.
No problems coming through customs and quarantine, and a smooth transfer to the domestic terminal, where our paths diverged, Robyn going on to Brisbane, and me, to Melbourne.
It’s been a wonderful experience to travel with a friend, and to visit friends; to see so much snow and ice; and to experience the cultural differences between Canada and Australia.
Highlights were a white Christmas in the country with Colleen and Zoli, and New Year’s Eve in Quebec City. Best tour was Edible BC on Granville Island in Vancouver.
Biggest frustration – taxes and tipping. Taxes vary from province to province, and prices are quoted without tax, which can make budgeting a little uncertain unless you’re very good at mental maths (which I am not). Tipping is a hidden cost, and although not mandatory, it is customary, and we found the strategically placed jars and boxes for everyone from the coat check girl to the breakfast waitress and service staff in the hotels had a way of eating up our coins. Also found the assumption of 15% tip on restaurant bills slightly offensive, as if we would be unable to figure out what tip we wanted to pay for ourselves.
Robyn and I travelled very well together – my dependence on maps complemented her ability to ask for information when required.. No fights (though we were, occasionally, mildly irritated with each other - wouldn’t he human otherwise), and lots of laughs. The times we were each right and wrong about things worked out about 50/50.
Couldn’t have asked for a better travelling companion – thanks for asking me to accompany you on this trip, Robyn.