Thursday, 4 October 2007

01/10/07 - 04/10/07 - Our adventure begins

Well we finally got to the airport on Monday and said our teary goodbyes to some of our beloved family members.

The flight to LA didn't start off the best - we needed to be reassigned our seats as there was a problem with the in flight entertainment centre. After many delays with passengers trying to check in, the plane finally took off over 1 1/2 hours late - Dave and I decided there and then that we would miss our connecting flight and would just catch the next flight.

We arrived in LA airport over 1 hour late - the flight attendants were being optimistic and thought that we might still make our connecting flight (Dave and I didn't hold out much hope, but decided to give it a go). The flight attendants made sure that we were one of the first passengers off the plane and that's were the problem first started. Dave and I headed off the plane and followed the baggage claim signs - unfortunately the first set of doors we needed to go through were locked so we asked an employee which way to go. So to cut a long story short and after following directions (also asked about another 3 or 4 airport staff) we actually ended up on the other side of customs, immigration and baggage claim (yes - I am talking about LA airport). Needless to say we tried to let many more airport staff know what had happened to us and they just wouldn't believe us that we had ended up outside without going through customs etc. Well eventually there was about 150 people (who we had led outside) that turned up in the same spot - so they had to listen to our story and soon found out that we were telling the truth. It was a lot easier getting out of the airport than getting back in to follow the correct process of going through customs and immigration. The Mexicans in the group were most excited as they had discovered a new way to cross the border without having to stow away in the back of a semi trailer. They were last seen high tailing down Hollywood Blvd. Those of us who had the right papers were trying not to look like we had entered the States illegally.

After about 1 hour we finally found ourselves back on the other side of customs etc. so now we needed to line up and follow the correct process. We eventually caught a connecting flight 4 1/2 hours later than our planned flight to Vancouver. After our arrival we tried to get through Customs and Immigration - well they weren't concerned if we could support ourselves etc. just on the amount of time we would be spending in Canada - so they issued us with a 6 month Visa - So we have some more work to do here as well.

So after hiring our car we headed off to our hotel that's when we discovered how tired we really were and slept until noon the next day (so much for our free breakfast). So we got ourselves out of bed and went and purchased a navigation system, two mobile phones (I really did miss not having a mobile), and opened up a bank account (we realised it was easier to get through customs etc in Canada and USA than trying to open a bank account. It was very difficult to explain that we were both retired. David should have stuck to the Astronaut story.)

We have discovered a restaurant close to our hotel called Earls - which we have been to every night since we have arrived. The first night I lashed out and paid over $8.00 for a glass of Banrock Chardonnay. The second night I decided that I just wasn't going to be able to drink wine whilst travelling around Canada - so I tried the local brew (Kokanee). Well I ordered my first pint and I haven't looked back since (much to Dave's amazement - he's never even seen me drink beer before - maybe a Shandy on a very hot day). I realised after our second visit why Dave love's this restaurant so much (I thought it was the really cold beer and the great tasting and great variety of food) well how wrong I was. I think every waiter and more importantly (to Dave) waitress is under 25 has absolutely no body fat, large lungs and is very attractive - I just keep telling him to keep drinking and soon even I might look like that.

The mobile phone service here in Canada is interesting to say the very least (I will never complain about our systems back home) - for any call made outside your local area i.e. something equivalent to South Brisbane - you are charged a Canadian International Rate and then there is the real International Rate.

Driving has been a real treat. There have been a few changes to the rules since our last visit. We stil can't get use to going though red lights after you do a "Taxi Stop". You tend to get confused as to which ones you really have to stop at. The guy behind usually lets you know if it is ok to run the red.


darian said...

way to go guys! love the story about ending up on the outside of customs. Lisa... you don't need to drink ANY beers to look good to Dave. have fun!

Anonymous said...

Well done Elfie, a whole story and not one reference to "Business Class". Good to hear you got there safely though. We miss you!!